United States District Court - Northern District of Illinois

General Rules

Rules 1.70 To 1.79 Duties And Powers Of Magistrates


Rule 1.70 Duties And Powers Of Magistrates

A. General Duties and Powers of Magistrates

United States Magistrates for the Northern District of Illinois are authorized to exercise all powers and perform all duties now or hereafter authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States, applicable Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure, local rule, order or regulation.

B. Duties and Powers in Criminal Proceedings

Without limiting the general grant of authority set forth in Part A of this rule, United States Magistrates in this District are authorized to perform the following duties in criminal cases and related matters:

(1) Cases assigned directly to magistrates

In cases assigned directly to magistrates, they may perform the following duties:

(a) Administer oaths and affirmations, impose conditions of release under 18 U.S.C. 3142, and take acknowledgments, affidavits, and depositions. (28 U.S.C. 636(a)(2)).

(b) Accept complaints, find probable cause or the lack thereof, and issue an appropriate arrest warrant or summons for the named defendant. (Rule 4, F.R.Cr.P.)

(c) Dismiss complaints in criminal proceedings prior to indictment or information on motion of the United States Attorney.

(d) Issue a search warrant upon a determination that probable cause for the warrant exists. (Rule 41, F.R.Cr.P.)

(e) Conduct initial appearance proceedings for a defendant, informing the defendant of his/her rights, admitting the defendant to bail and imposing conditions of release. (Rule 5, F.R.Cr.P.)

(f) Appoint counsel for an indigent defendant, and approve attorneys' expense vouchers in appropriate cases. (18 U.S.C. 3006A.)

(g) Conduct full preliminary examinations. (Rule 5.1, F.R.Cr.P. and 18 U.S.C. 3060).

(h) Appoint counsel, set bail and conduct removal hearings in proceedings involving a person arrested pursuant to Rule 40, F.R.Cr.P., and issue a warrant of removal as provided in Rule 40. Any order or warrant of removal ordered by the magistrate may be by minute order. A defendant not in custody shall be given a copy of the order of removal specifying the date and place the defendant is required to appear in the prosecuting jurisdiction.

(i) Set bail for material witnesses. (18 U.S.C. 3149.)

(j) Issue a warrant for the arrest of a fugitive from a foreign country and conduct all necessary hearings under the provisions of the proper treaty or convention. (18 U.S.C. 3184.)

(k) Conduct hearings on applications and issue orders and processes as may be necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the Internal Revenue laws. (26 U.S.C. 7402.)

(l) Issue an attachment or order to enforce obedience to an Internal Revenue Service summons to produce records to give testimony. (26 U.S.C. 7604.)

(m) Issue administrative inspection warrants.

(n) Try either jury or nonjury cases of persons accused of misdemeanors committed within this district, order a presentence investigation report on any such person who is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere, and sentence such person; and, when directed by a district judge, conduct hearings to determine mental competency in such cases. (18 U.S.C. 3401, as amended.)

(2) In cases referred to a magistrate by a district judge

In cases referred to a magistrate by a district judge, the magistrate may perform the following duties:

(a) Hear and enter orders on discovery motions.

(b) Issue subpoenas, writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum or ad prosequendum or other orders necessary to obtain the presence of parties or witnesses or evidence needed for court proceedings.

(c) Conduct pretrial conferences and related proceedings.

(d) Conduct postindictment arraignments (including initial appearances and any necessary bail or detention hearings), acceptance of notguilty pleas, and, with the consent of the defendant, order the presentence investigation report for any defendant who states that he/she intends to enter a plea of guilty before the district judge to whom the case is assigned.

(e) Perform the functions specified in 18 U.S.C. 4107, 4108, and 4109, regarding proceedings for verification of consent by offenders to transfer to or from the United States and the appointment of counsel therein (each such referral to be made by the Chief Judge upon notification of the pendency of a proceeding under the sections cited).

(3) In cases referred to a magistrate by a district judge

In cases referred to a magistrate by a district judge, the magistrate may review, conduct the necessary evidentiary and other hearings or oral argument and file with the court a written report and recommendations on any of the following:

(a) Motions to dismiss or quash an indictment or information made by the defendant;

(b) Conduct proceedings leading to the potential revocation of probation;

(c) Motions to suppress evidence.

(4) Unavailability of Designated Magistrate for Emergency Matters

Where an emergency matter is to be heard by a magistrate and the magistrate designated to hear the matter in accordance with these Rules is unavailable, the matter may be heard by the magistrate designated as duty magistrate pursuant to Rule 2.40A of these Rules. For the purpose of this subsection the term "emergency matter" shall mean any emergency matter which is of such a nature that the delay in hearing it would cause serious or irreparable harm to one or more of the parties.

(5) Duties Relating to Supervision of Pending Magistrate Complaints

Each magistrate has the authority to supervise every magistrate complaint assigned to him/her pursuant to Rule 2.40A of these Rules until such time as the complaint is dismissed, or an indictment is returned, or an information is filed, terminating the proceedings relating to the complaint.

(a) The duty magistrate shall file with the Clerk by the third working day following the end of the duty term a list of all defendants and the United States Attorney is to indicate on the list what action is anticipated by that office.

(b) The Clerk shall provide the Executive Committee with copies of the reports at its regular meetings.

C. Duties and Powers in Civil Proceedings

Without limiting the general grant of authority set forth in Part A of this Rule, United States Magistrates in this District are authorized to perform the following duties in civil cases upon reference by a judge of this Court:

(1) Dispositive Pretrial Matters: Review, conduct the necessary evidentiary and other hearings or oral argument, and file a written report and recommendations containing proposed findings of fact on such as the following:

(a) Motions for injunctive relief such as temporary restraining orders and preliminary and permanent injunctions;

(b) Motions to dismiss under Rule 12, F.R.C.P.

(c) Motions for discovery sanctions pursuant to Rule 37, F.R.C.P.;

(d) Motions to dismiss or permit the maintenance of a class action, including the recommendation of a class to be certified;

(e) Motions for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment;

(f) Motions to set aside default judgments;

(g) Motions to set aside involuntary judgments of dismissal.

(2) Non-dispositive Pretrial Matters: In accordance with 28 U.S.C. 636 (b)(1)(A), a magistrate may hear and enter orders on any nondispositive pretrial motion or other pretrial matters, including settlement conferences.

D. Duties and Powers as a Special Master

(1) A magistrate may serve as a Special Master in the following types of proceedings, subject to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(2) and Rule 53, F.R.C.P.

(a) Serve as a Special Master in accordance with the provisions of Rule 53, which duty may include hearing testimony and submitting a written report and findings (1) on complicated issues in jury cases, or (2) in matters of account, difficult computations or damages and exceptional conditions in nonjury cases;

(b) Conduct evidentiary hearings and prepare findings in employment discrimination cases as a Master under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended;

(c) Conduct hearings and resolve specific issues in patent, antitrust and other complex cases or in multiple disaster and class action cases.

(d) Serve as a commissioner to determine compensation and assess damages in land condemnation cases. (Rule 71A(h) F.R.C.P.)

(e) Conduct examinations of judgment debtors (Rule 69, F.R.C.P.)

(2) Upon the consent of the parties, a magistrate may be designated by a judge to serve as a Special Master in any civil case, notwithstanding the limitations of Rule 53(b) F.R.C.P.

E. Court Reporters

Proceedings before a magistrate will usually be recorded by electronic means. Where, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636 (c)(7), the magistrate directs or a party requests that the proceedings be taken down by a court reporter, an official or a contract court reporter will be assigned pursuant to the provisions of the Court's Plan for the Coordination of Activities of Official Court Reporters.

Where a reporter is required, the magistrate will notify the clerk not less than 24 hours in advance of the time for which the hearing to be recorded is set.

F. Procedures Before the Magistrate

In performing duties for the Court, a magistrate shall conform to all applicable provisions of federal statutes and rules, and to the requirements specified in any order of reference from a judge. All practice before a magistrate shall be in accordance with the Local Rules of the Northern District of Illinois.