To accommodate expected furloughs in federal law enforcement and defender services agencies, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will stop scheduling most criminal matters on alternating Fridays from April 26 through September 30, court officials said.
Unlike those agencies and some federal courts, however, the D.C. court isn't planning to furlough or fire staff before the end of the fiscal year in September as part of mandated federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Under sequestration, which took effect March 1, non-defense agencies faced five percent in budget cuts.
New arrests will still be processed on the alternating Fridays, U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth said, while ongoing criminal trials will be recessed. He said the decision was made in consultation with the local U.S. attorney, U.S. Marshal, and Federal Public Defender's offices. Civil cases won't be affected; Lamberth said the U.S. attorney's office indicated that they expect to have lawyers available.