Office of the Circuit Executive

Judicial Council - Judicial Conference

· Roles and Functions

The Office of the Circuit Executive was created by statute to provide professional administrative staffing to circuit councils, which are composed primarily of judges engaged full-time in deciding cases.


The Office of the Circuit Executive (OCE) provides administrative support to the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit and its various committees. It also provides direct services to all the judicial court units in the circuit. All OCE responsibilities flow from directives of the Judicial Council or the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit. The OCE is organized around the council's core functions.


· Mission Statement

The Office of the Circuit Executive is committed to providing professional support to the judicial council and courts of the Ninth Circuit, and to ensuring the highest level of public trust in the administration of justice. This support includes identifying needs; conducting studies; proactively developing and implementing innovative policies; providing training, public information and human resources support; coordinating building and automation projects; and advising the judicial council on procedural and ethical matters.


· Circuit Executive: Role and Responsibility Set by Statute

28 U.S.C. ยง 332 Judicial councils of circuits

(e) The judicial council of each circuit may appoint a circuit executive. In appointing a circuit executive, the judicial council shall take into account experience in administrative and executive positions, familiarity with court procedures and special training. The circuit executive shall exercise such administrative powers and perform such duties as may be delegated to him by the circuit council. The duties delegated to the circuit executive of each circuit may include but may not be limited to:


(1) Exercising administrative control of all nonjudicial activities of the court of appeals of the circuit in which he is appointed.


(2) Administering the personnel system of the court of appeals of the circuit.


(3) Administering the budget of the court of appeals of the circuit.


(4) Maintaining a modern accounting system.


(5) Establishing and maintaining property control records and undertaking a space management program.


(6) Conducting studies relating to the business and administration of the court within the circuit and preparing appropriate recommendations and reports to the chief judge, the circuit council and the Judicial Conference.

(7) Collecting, compiling and analyzing statistical data with a view to the preparation and presentation of reports based on such data as may be directed by the chief judge, the circuit council, and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.


(8) Representing the circuit as its liaison to the courts of the various States in which the circuit is located, the marshal's office, State and local bar associations, civic groups, news media, and other private and public groups having a reasonable interest in the administration of the circuit.


(9) Arranging and attending meetings of the judges of the circuit and of the circuit council, including preparing the agenda and serving as secretary in all such meetings.

(10) Preparing an annual report to the circuit and to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts for the preceding calendar year, including recommendations for more expeditious disposition of the business of the circuit.


All duties delegated to the circuit executive shall be subject to the general supervision of the chief judge of the circuit.


(f)(1) Each circuit executive shall be paid at a salary to be established by the Judicial Conference of the United States not to exceed the annual rate of level IV of the Executive Schedule pay rates under section 5315 of Title 5.


(2) The circuit executive shall serve at the pleasure of the judicial council of the circuit.


(3) The circuit executive may appoint, with the approval of the council, necessary employees in such number as may be approved by the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.


(4) The circuit executive and his staff shall be deemed to be officers and employees of the judicial branch of the United States Government within the meaning of subchapter III of chapter 83 (relating to civil service retirement), chapter 87 (relating to Federal employees' life insurance program), and chapter 89 (relating to Federal employees' health benefits program) of title 5, United States Code.


· OCE Staffing


Executive Unit

Provides staff support to Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit. Implements the policies of the Judicial Council and other policy-making bodies in the Ninth Circuit. Serves as liaison to the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and the Federal Judicial Center. Works with chief judges and court unit executives throughout the Ninth Circuit on critical issues. Oversees the financial and operational functions of the Office of the Circuit Executive.


Office of Workplace Relations

Implements all aspects of the Employment Dispute Resolution (EDR) Policy and related policies throughout the circuit. Serves as contact for employees who experience or witness workplace misconduct and wish to discuss or report such misconduct. Conducts investigations. Works with local EDR coordinators throughout the circuit. Consults with judges and court unit executives on workplace environment issues and concerns. Provides guidance on workplace environment policies and procedures. Coordinates training for judges and employees. Collects and analyzes data and compiles periodic reports regarding implementation of the EDR Policy. Provides guidance and support on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.


Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Unit

Reviews excess CJA payment and funding requests from attorneys and service providers in the Ninth Circuit. Develops and reviews budgets of high-cost criminal and death penalty cases. Provides guidance on CJA policy and procedures. Assists the courts with implementation of recommendations from the 2017 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act (Cardone Report) on CJA Policy and Procedures, including training and recruiting initiatives for CJA Panels throughout the circuit. Works with the Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders on the recruitment, appointment, and reappointment of and coordinates the appointment process for federal public defenders.


Human Resources Unit

Manages the full range of human resources services provided for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the OCE, and library staff. Serves as resource for all of the judges and human resources staff throughout the circuit. Conducts circuit-wide training. Provides information and counseling on employee benefits. Develops circuit responses to judiciary policies and AO guidelines.


Court Operations, Policy, and Legal Affairs (COPLA) Unit

Provides guidance on court operations, case processing and management to effectively evaluate and make recommendations related to judgeships, judge positions, and court unit staffing. Manages projects related to legal procedures and administrative processes as applied to the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit and court units in the circuit. Collects and analyzes data on court workloads. Recommends caseload management solutions. Coordinates the assignment of visiting judges. Coordinates annual staffing requests and pay certifications for senior judges. Makes recommendations on requests for temporary emergency personnel. The COPLA Unit leader serves as a senior policy advisor to the chief circuit judge, circuit judges, circuit executive, and other judges and leaders within the Ninth Circuit.


Space and Facilities Unit

Provides project management and assistance on all phases of building projects from planning to construction completion, including programming, planning, budgeting, and coordination with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, U.S. Marshals Service, and the General Services Administration. Provides advice and clarification of space policies and guidelines. Disburses funding for tenant alterations. Provides support for emergency planning and security matters.


Public Information, Conference and Education Unit

Oversees media relations, community outreach, and print and electronic publications, including the Ninth Circuit Annual Report, various committee newsletters, and OCE-sponsored intranet and internet websites. Plans and conducts the annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and lawyer representative activities. Provides circuit-wide educational programs, and meeting management and support services to the courts, committees, and other OCE units.


Information Technology Unit

Provides national and circuit technology leadership services to court units. Collaborates with court units in local, circuit, and national technology needs and priorities. Assists in the development of the circuit IT Plan. Supports the court units of the circuit with operational and strategic cybersecurity expertise, training, and program management. Researches and correlates cyber threats and vulnerabilities and the risk they pose. Aligns and collaborates the national, circuit, and court unit cyber defense efforts to maximize the capabilities of court units and the effectiveness of court unit resources.


· OCE Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Office of the Circuit Executive
P.O. Box 193939
San Francisco, CA 94119-3939

Physical Address:
James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse
95 7th Street
Suite 429
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone:(415) 355-8800

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