District of Columbia Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield won't face any competition in his bid for another term, according to the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission.
On Friday, the commission announced that Satterfield was the only applicant for the chief judge position, which reopens every four years. Satterfield was first appointed to the job in 2008, replacing now-Senior Judge Rufus King III.
Satterfield, in a statement of interest (PDF) made public by the commission, said one of his top goals for the next four years is to make the court more "user-friendly," including speeding up the time it takes for judges to resolve motions and reducing the amount of time court attendees have to wait to have their case heard on the day they're scheduled for a hearing.
The probate division, which Satterfield noted is the fastest growing division at the court, may require additional resources, he wrote, as well as an expansion of the Probate Resource Center. The filing of adult guardianship cases more than doubled from 1992 to 2011, he wrote, and those are cases that require ongoing court supervision until the ward dies, recovers or transfers.
According to court statistics for 2011, the total number of new probate cases dropped by half a percent and new filings for adult guardianship cases went up by about two percent last year, but the total number of pending adult guardianship cases rose by nearly eight percent.
Satterfield’s other goals included adding more resources to the domestic violence unit, an area where new filings dropped in 2011 by about 3 percent but the number of pending cases rose by about 15 percent.
Overseeing the court’s physical expansion could also be on Satterfield’s to-do list in his second term. Assuming the court’s budget is fully funded, he wrote, the court could move into the construction phase of the expansion of the main courthouse. That project would “alleviate the significant space needs” of Superior Court, he wrote.
Satterfield’s tenure has been marked by the court’s expansion of services for pro se litigants in the busy civil division, notably with the creation of the Housing Conditions Calendar – a venue for tenants to bring their landlords to court – and by the changing of judicial guidelines to allow judges to offer more assistance to self-represented litigants.
Although Satterfield is unopposed, the commission is moving forward with plans for a public forum on July 10, executive director Kim Whatley confirmed today.
The commission will accept public comments about Satterfield through July 18. Information on how to submit comments is available here (PDF).