28 U.S.C. § 636 : US Code - Section 636: Jurisdiction, powers, and temporary assignment

Search 28 U.S.C. § 636 : US Code - Section 636: Jurisdiction, powers, and temporary assignment

      (a) Each United States magistrate judge serving under this
    chapter shall have within the district in which sessions are held
    by the court that appointed the magistrate judge, at other places
    where that court may function, and elsewhere as authorized by law -
    
        (1) all powers and duties conferred or imposed upon United
      States commissioners by law or by the Rules of Criminal Procedure
      for the United States District Courts;
        (2) the power to administer oaths and affirmations, issue
      orders pursuant to section 3142 of title 18 concerning release or
      detention of persons pending trial, and take acknowledgements,
      affidavits, and depositions;
        (3) the power to conduct trials under section 3401, title 18,
      United States Code, in conformity with and subject to the
      limitations of that section;
        (4) the power to enter a sentence for a petty offense; and
        (5) the power to enter a sentence for a class A misdemeanor in
      a case in which the parties have consented.

      (b)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary - 
        (A) a judge may designate a magistrate judge to hear and
      determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, except a
      motion for injunctive relief, for judgment on the pleadings, for
      summary judgment, to dismiss or quash an indictment or
      information made by the defendant, to suppress evidence in a
      criminal case, to dismiss or to permit maintenance of a class
      action, to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief
      can be granted, and to involuntarily dismiss an action. A judge
      of the court may reconsider any pretrial matter under this
      subparagraph (A) where it has been shown that the magistrate
      judge's order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.
        (B) a judge may also designate a magistrate judge to conduct
      hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a
      judge of the court proposed findings of fact and recommendations
      for the disposition, by a judge of the court, of any motion
      excepted in subparagraph (A), of applications for posttrial (!1)
      relief made by individuals convicted of criminal offenses and of
      prisoner petitions challenging conditions of confinement.

        (C) the magistrate judge shall file his proposed findings and
      recommendations under subparagraph (B) with the court and a copy
      shall forthwith be mailed to all parties.

    Within fourteen days after being served with a copy, any party may
    serve and file written objections to such proposed findings and
    recommendations as provided by rules of court. A judge of the court
    shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report
    or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
    objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or
    modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made
    by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further
    evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with
    instructions.
      (2) A judge may designate a magistrate judge to serve as a
    special master pursuant to the applicable provisions of this title
    and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the United States
    district courts. A judge may designate a magistrate judge to serve
    as a special master in any civil case, upon consent of the parties,
    without regard to the provisions of rule 53(b) of the Federal Rules
    of Civil Procedure for the United States district courts.
      (3) A magistrate judge may be assigned such additional duties as
    are not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United
    States.
      (4) Each district court shall establish rules pursuant to which
    the magistrate judges shall discharge their duties.
      (c) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary - 
        (1) Upon the consent of the parties, a full-time United States
      magistrate judge or a part-time United States magistrate judge
      who serves as a full-time judicial officer may conduct any or all
      proceedings in a jury or nonjury civil matter and order the entry
      of judgment in the case, when specially designated to exercise
      such jurisdiction by the district court or courts he serves. Upon
      the consent of the parties, pursuant to their specific written
      request, any other part-time magistrate judge may exercise such
      jurisdiction, if such magistrate judge meets the bar membership
      requirements set forth in section 631(b)(1) and the chief judge
      of the district court certifies that a full-time magistrate judge
      is not reasonably available in accordance with guidelines
      established by the judicial council of the circuit. When there is
      more than one judge of a district court, designation under this
      paragraph shall be by the concurrence of a majority of all the
      judges of such district court, and when there is no such
      concurrence, then by the chief judge.
        (2) If a magistrate judge is designated to exercise civil
      jurisdiction under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the clerk of
      court shall, at the time the action is filed, notify the parties
      of the availability of a magistrate judge to exercise such
      jurisdiction. The decision of the parties shall be communicated
      to the clerk of court. Thereafter, either the district court
      judge or the magistrate judge may again advise the parties of the
      availability of the magistrate judge, but in so doing, shall also
      advise the parties that they are free to withhold consent without
      adverse substantive consequences. Rules of court for the
      reference of civil matters to magistrate judges shall include
      procedures to protect the voluntariness of the parties' consent.
        (3) Upon entry of judgment in any case referred under paragraph
      (1) of this subsection, an aggrieved party may appeal directly to
      the appropriate United States court of appeals from the judgment
      of the magistrate judge in the same manner as an appeal from any
      other judgment of a district court. The consent of the parties
      allows a magistrate judge designated to exercise civil
      jurisdiction under paragraph (1) of this subsection to direct the
      entry of a judgment of the district court in accordance with the
      Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Nothing in this paragraph shall
      be construed as a limitation of any party's right to seek review
      by the Supreme Court of the United States.
        (4) The court may, for good cause shown on its own motion, or
      under extraordinary circumstances shown by any party, vacate a
      reference of a civil matter to a magistrate judge under this
      subsection.
        (5) The magistrate judge shall, subject to guidelines of the
      Judicial Conference, determine whether the record taken pursuant
      to this section shall be taken by electronic sound recording, by
      a court reporter, or by other means.

      (d) The practice and procedure for the trial of cases before
    officers serving under this chapter shall conform to rules
    promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to section 2072 of this
    title.
      (e) Contempt Authority. - 
        (1) In general. - A United States magistrate judge serving
      under this chapter shall have within the territorial jurisdiction
      prescribed by the appointment of such magistrate judge the power
      to exercise contempt authority as set forth in this subsection.
        (2) Summary criminal contempt authority. - A magistrate judge
      shall have the power to punish summarily by fine or imprisonment,
      or both, such contempt of the authority of such magistrate judge
      constituting misbehavior of any person in the magistrate judge's
      presence so as to obstruct the administration of justice. The
      order of contempt shall be issued under the Federal Rules of
      Criminal Procedure.
        (3) Additional criminal contempt authority in civil consent and
      misdemeanor cases. - In any case in which a United States
      magistrate judge presides with the consent of the parties under
      subsection (c) of this section, and in any misdemeanor case
      proceeding before a magistrate judge under section 3401 of title
      18, the magistrate judge shall have the power to punish, by fine
      or imprisonment, or both, criminal contempt constituting
      disobedience or resistance to the magistrate judge's lawful writ,
      process, order, rule, decree, or command. Disposition of such
      contempt shall be conducted upon notice and hearing under the
      Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
        (4) Civil contempt authority in civil consent and misdemeanor
      cases. - In any case in which a United States magistrate judge
      presides with the consent of the parties under subsection (c) of
      this section, and in any misdemeanor case proceeding before a
      magistrate judge under section 3401 of title 18, the magistrate
      judge may exercise the civil contempt authority of the district
      court. This paragraph shall not be construed to limit the
      authority of a magistrate judge to order sanctions under any
      other statute, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or the
      Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
        (5) Criminal contempt penalties. - The sentence imposed by a
      magistrate judge for any criminal contempt provided for in
      paragraphs (2) and (3) shall not exceed the penalties for a Class
      C misdemeanor as set forth in sections 3581(b)(8) and 3571(b)(6)
      of title 18.
        (6) Certification of other contempts to the district court. -
      Upon the commission of any such act - 
          (A) in any case in which a United States magistrate judge
        presides with the consent of the parties under subsection (c)
        of this section, or in any misdemeanor case proceeding before a
        magistrate judge under section 3401 of title 18, that may, in
        the opinion of the magistrate judge, constitute a serious
        criminal contempt punishable by penalties exceeding those set
        forth in paragraph (5) of this subsection, or
          (B) in any other case or proceeding under subsection (a) or
        (b) of this section, or any other statute, where - 
            (i) the act committed in the magistrate judge's presence
          may, in the opinion of the magistrate judge, constitute a
          serious criminal contempt punishable by penalties exceeding
          those set forth in paragraph (5) of this subsection,
            (ii) the act that constitutes a criminal contempt occurs
          outside the presence of the magistrate judge, or
            (iii) the act constitutes a civil contempt,

      the magistrate judge shall forthwith certify the facts to a
      district judge and may serve or cause to be served, upon any
      person whose behavior is brought into question under this
      paragraph, an order requiring such person to appear before a
      district judge upon a day certain to show cause why that person
      should not be adjudged in contempt by reason of the facts so
      certified. The district judge shall thereupon hear the evidence
      as to the act or conduct complained of and, if it is such as to
      warrant punishment, punish such person in the same manner and to
      the same extent as for a contempt committed before a district
      judge.
        (7) Appeals of magistrate judge contempt orders. - The appeal
      of an order of contempt under this subsection shall be made to
      the court of appeals in cases proceeding under subsection (c) of
      this section. The appeal of any other order of contempt issued
      under this section shall be made to the district court.

      (f) In an emergency and upon the concurrence of the chief judges
    of the districts involved, a United States magistrate judge may be
    temporarily assigned to perform any of the duties specified in
    subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section in a judicial district
    other than the judicial district for which he has been appointed.
    No magistrate judge shall perform any of such duties in a district
    to which he has been temporarily assigned until an order has been
    issued by the chief judge of such district specifying (1) the
    emergency by reason of which he has been transferred, (2) the
    duration of his assignment, and (3) the duties which he is
    authorized to perform. A magistrate judge so assigned shall not be
    entitled to additional compensation but shall be reimbursed for
    actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of his
    duties in accordance with section 635.
      (g) A United States magistrate judge may perform the verification
    function required by section 4107 of title 18, United States Code.
    A magistrate judge may be assigned by a judge of any United States
    district court to perform the verification required by section 4108
    and the appointment of counsel authorized by section 4109 of title
    18, United States Code, and may perform such functions beyond the
    territorial limits of the United States. A magistrate judge
    assigned such functions shall have no authority to perform any
    other function within the territory of a foreign country.
      (h) A United States magistrate judge who has retired may, upon
    the consent of the chief judge of the district involved, be
    recalled to serve as a magistrate judge in any judicial district by
    the judicial council of the circuit within which such district is
    located. Upon recall, a magistrate judge may receive a salary for
    such service in accordance with regulations promulgated by the
    Judicial Conference, subject to the restrictions on the payment of
    an annuity set forth in section 377 of this title or in subchapter
    III of chapter 83, and chapter 84, of title 5 which are applicable
    to such magistrate judge. The requirements set forth in subsections
    (a), (b)(3), and (d) of section 631, and paragraph (1) of
    subsection (b) of such section to the extent such paragraph
    requires membership of the bar of the location in which an
    individual is to serve as a magistrate judge, shall not apply to
    the recall of a retired magistrate judge under this subsection or
    section 375 of this title. Any other requirement set forth in
    section 631(b) shall apply to the recall of a retired magistrate
    judge under this subsection or section 375 of this title unless
    such retired magistrate judge met such requirement upon appointment
    or reappointment as a magistrate judge under section 631.