Best Practices Committee
July 29, 2008
Board for Judicial Administration
Best Practices Committee
July 29, 2008
Members Present: Judge Julie Spector, Chair
Ms. Linda Bell
Ms. Roni Booth
Ms. Susan Carlson
Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall
Mr. Steve Kinn (via conference call)
Judge Michael Lambo
Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Ms. Holli Spanski
Staff Present: Ms. Julia Appel
Ms. Jenni Christopher
Ms. Colleen Clark
1. WelCome and Introductions
Judge Julie Spector called the meeting to order and provided a brief overview of the committee’s current activity for the new committee members present.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A motion was made by Ms. Pettus to approve the minutes, Judge Lambo seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
3. MEASURE 12 (Self-Represented Litigants and the Financially Disadvantaged)
Ms. Appel reported that there will be three tests of each measure. An informal review of Measure 12 has been conducted at the Tacoma Municipal court. Judge Warning volunteered Cowlitz County Superior Court to be a test site, and that field test was completed in May.
Ms. Appel noted that, due to separation of powers, it is important to be sensitive during audits regarding the role of the county clerk’s office relative to the court. As executive-branch offices, county clerks are not the subject of the audit. However, some functions which are ultimately the courts responsibility (such as access to justice) are carried out through the clerk’s office, so key court-audit information must be obtained from the clerks. It was also noted that measures do not address how a measure is being done, just whether it is being done.
Cowlitz County enjoys a very good relationship between the court and the county clerk’s office. The field test went well. Judge Spector expressed appreciation of Cowlitz County’s participation in this process. Ms. Appel indicated that Cowlitz Superior Court has also volunteered to be the test site for Measures 15 and 16.
The committee reviewed and approved staff’s suggested changes for Measure 12. The next step for finalization of Measure 12 is to conduct a second field test. As Measures 12, 15 and 16 are all related to access, staff intends to second test all three measures at one time. Staff is currently looking for a volunteer district court.
4. MEASURE 16 (Limited English Proficiency)
The committee discussed this measure and suggested the following.
Add Hearing Impaired (American Sign Language) to the description. Note: This topic is already included in Measure 15 (Access for Court Users with Disabilities).
A county might not necessarily have a need for translations in five foreign languages (Standard B). This requirement has been removed.
When the LAP was last updated. Check statute for requirement. (Note: There is no requirement in the statute related to updating the plan.)
For Standard C (Training), questions should be separate for judges and court administration. Are there ongoing training opportunities for new judges and new court staff?
The Committee also suggested the following areas of focus for the auditor:
Have the translation needs been prioritized and identified?
Is there a [known] procedure in place to update forms, in English and in the predominant other language(s) in the area? (AOC updates mandatory forms when new legislation is passed, and provides them in different languages. Local forms generally are looked at frequently and updated as needed.)
Are translated forms easily accessible to the population that needs them? How are they accessed, maintained, and updated?
5. MEASURE 15 (Compliance with ADA Requirements)
Ms. Appel will be meeting with AOC’s new ADA Coordinator in the next week or two to ask for her input on this measure.
The committee discussed this measure and suggested the following:
It was decided to switch questions 1 and 2, add an inventory for assistive aids, and add a question as to whether staff has been trained on the written policy.
It is understood that some courts may not have the funds for hearing devices that are needed. If this were the case, they would be asked if there is a procedure to obtain devices when required (possibly from neighboring courts/counties).
There was discussion as to whether a court’s lack of an expensive device constitutes failure. It was generally agreed that the court meets the standard if they have a plan of action for when the need arises.
Hearing and site impairment questions are asked, but it was generally agreed that other areas should not be added unless resources can be offered.
If access issues are out of the court’s control, the court nonetheless meets the standard if it has raised the issues with the appropriate governing body (e.g. county commissioners).
Does the court have a plan to meet the need if their courthouse is not compliant? For example, active litigants could be moved to another venue.
Is the courthouse reasonably accessible, and does the court, to the greatest extent possible, identify means of getting around any obstructions? Is there an effort? What steps have been taken? Does the court have a cooperative plan?
6. NEXT MEETING
Staff will send an email to poll members regarding the next meeting, which will probably be in October. It was noted that the 9:30 – Noon timeframe seemed to work well.
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|