Best Practices Committee

August 17, 2010

Board for Judicial Administration
Best Practices Committee
August 17, 2010
Meeting Minutes
Members Present:
Judge Julie Spector
Mr. Jeff Amram (via conference call)
Ms. Pat Austin (via conference call)
Ms. Linda Bell
Judge Steven Buzzard
Ms. Susan Carlson
Ms. Ruth Gordon (via conference call)
Mr. Steve Kinn
Judge Linda Krese (via conference call)
Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Mr. David Ponzoha
Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall
Judge Gerald Roach
Ms. Holli Spanski
Staff Present:
Ms. Julia Appel
Ms. Jenni Christopher
Ms. Colleen Clark
Welcome and Call to Order
Judge Spector called the meeting to order at 9:35.
Approval of Minutes
Judge Spector asked if there were any changes to the July 27, 2010 minutes. There were none.
Ms. Gordon moved to approve the minutes as written, and Ms. Bell seconded the motion; it passed unanimously.
eCCL – Online Meeting Practice
Ms. Jesse Walker (AOC) demonstrated the eCCL online meeting tool that will be used for the Committee’s future teleconference meetings. Committee members can choose to use this online tool in conjunction with the conference call, or can simply participate by phone as usual.
Overview Packet
An overview packet was distributed to the Committee in order to provide background information regarding the Committee’s charge, the performance audit policy, and the current measure development timeline. This packet is distributed to new members and will be updated periodically.
Draft Caseflow Measure Review
At the July meeting, the Committee decided to include two standards in the measure:
A. Clearance Rate: The rate of outgoing cases to incoming cases should be at least ninety-nine percent.
B. Time to Resolution: Ninety percent of cases should be resolved within the maximum time standards recommended by the Board for Judicial Administration.
The Committee continued discussion on whether the “active pending to resolved case ratio” should be included in the measure, but ultimately agreed that as no standard currently exists, this could not be measured objectively and should be excluded.
The Committee also continued discussion on the wording of the clearance rate standard and how best to describe the rolling five-year average. It was decided to amend the motion made in the prior meeting and to clarify that the wording should refer to the average of the prior five calendar years.
The Committee voted unanimously to accept the amended motion.
It is probably fair to say that the Committee agonized about whether the standards, set at 99% and 90% respectively, are appropriate. Discussion focused on whether those standards could be met by small or rural courts, whether the time standards are reasonable, what happens when a court does not meet the standards, current statewide caseload data, and the risk and protective factors that will explain in the audit report why a court is successful or unsuccessful at meeting the standards. Judge Spector commented that a number must be set as a starting point. Once the measure has been tested, it should become clearer whether the number is reasonable and fair. If we determine after those tests that the standards are not achievable, we have the option of changing them.
A definition/cutoff point was requested to clarify when a court’s caseload results would be marked Not Applicable (N/A) because their caseload is too small to provide a statistically significant result. Staff will follow-up on this issue.
Domestic Relations Case Type
The committee discussed whether to include the domestic relations case type in the audit measure. SCOMIS has an inadequacy related to caseload statistics pertaining to modifications to resolved cases. In addition, domestic case tracking and data entry procedures vary significantly from county to county. There is a long-standing request for an enhancement to the system for managing these cases, but until there is an enhancement the current data is not
useful for this purpose. The committee decided unanimously, therefore, to exclude the domestic relations case type from the measure (both clearance rate and time-to-resolution standards) and that language should be included in the measure explaining why certain case types and not others were included.
COSCA Time Standards
A subcommittee of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) is currently revising delay reduction time standards, and a preliminary copy was provided to the Committee. It is still very early in their drafting phase, but they welcome any comments about the proposed standards including how feasible it might be for Washington courts to attain them. Please funnel any comments to Ms. Appel and she will pass them on.
Interim Staff Work
Staff will identify three courts for testing (a mix of rural and urban). As each test is completed, results will be compiled and provided to the Committee for review. Judge Roach offered to discuss the opportunity to act as a test court with Franklin County Superior Court.1 
Ms. Appel has also been working on a Caseflow Management Information Sheet that will be administered during the audit in order to obtain background information which will be used to provide a narrative for the audit report. She will email it to the committee for their input.
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be in the fall using the eCCL online meeting tool.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:15.
1 Currently, Thurston County Superior Court has volunteered, and we are waiting for confirmation that Franklin County Superior Court will participate.


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