BJA: Project 2001
June 1, 2000
Project 2001 Meeting Minutes WestCoast Hotel at SeaTac
Members present: Paul Steere, co-chair; Wayne Blair; Tricia Crozier, Judge Sara Derr; Judge Michael Donohue; Chief Justice Richard P. Guy; Mayor Ed Hansen; Senator Adam Kline; Dean Logan; Judge James Murphy; Michael Planet; and Judge Michael Roewe
Guests present: Judge James Cayce; Kathy Gerke; John Gower; Judge Faye Kennedy; Representative Kathy Lambert; and Paul Parker
Staff present: Jude Cryderman; Doug Haake; Janet McLane; Mary McQueen; and Yvonne Pettus
Mr. Steere asked that the members, guests and staff introduce themselves.
Mr. Steere reviewed the goals of the Committee. He advised the Committee of the adoption of the BJA rule amendments by the Supreme Court. Changes to the rule included expanded membership, decisions made by majority vote, and clearly setting out the Boards goal to speak with one voice. He continued, the BJA is the board of directors for the court system.
Mr. Steere stated the purpose of the Project 2001 Committee is to study and make recommendations for the overall improvement of the court system. The study and recommendations will be accomplished through the work of the five work groups. Those work groups will establish an aggressive meeting schedule over the summer. The work groups recommendations will be presented to the Committee the latter part of August.
Chief Justice Guy said the evaluation of the court system actually began while Chief Justice Durham was in office. This effort was conducted through the Commission on Justice, Efficiency and Accountability, chaired by Doug Beighle. It was the JEA's recommendations that precipitated the changes to the Board for Judicial Administration Rules.
Chief Justice Guy continued, possible issues to be studied are:
The five work groups established to study the overall court system are:
Chief Justice Guy emphasized this is an opportunity to recommend changes that would allow for a more responsive court system, change how work is accomplished, work more effectively and propose changes for improvement to the legislature.
The Committee discussed issues facing the judiciary, such as courts without chambers; King County without adequate copy machines; inadequate staff; the enormous number of pro ses coming before the court; only 20-27% response on jury summons; and the public expecting more from the judicial system.
Ms. McQueen reviewed the timeline created for Project 2001. The Committee agreed to the aggressive schedule.
Jurisdiction/Portability Work Group
Mr. Blair stated the work group has two meetings scheduled, June 8 and June 29.
The work group will be looking at:
Mr. Blair said the work group would complete a couple years of work over the next three months.
Case Management Work Group
Judge Donohue reported the work group is meeting immediately following the Project 2001 meeting.
The work group will be studying:
Trial Court Administration
Judge Cayce said this was an opportunity to study:
The Committee briefly discussed whether it's feasible to consolidate some of the services provided by the courts. The group also discussed and agreed that courts should not be in the collection business.
Mr. Steere pointed out it is becoming apparent that there will be some overlap in the work of the groups. He requested that the work group chairs keep in contact.
The Committee continued discussions relating to judicial system efficiencies. Senator Kline advised the Committee that reasonable efficiencies made by the courts may go a long way with the Ways and Means Committee. Mayor Hansen pointed out this is not a "one size fits all" approach, but instead should be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine what works best. Mayor Hansen continued, tax payers don't want to pay additional taxes, but expect more services from government.
Unified Family Court Work Group
Judge Kennedy advised the Committee the work group had been renamed the Domestic Relations Work Group.
Judge Kennedy noted the original Commission, established in 1996, was chaired by Chief Justice Guy. The current Committee has 24 members with three additional members added as a result of the Project 2001 charge. Membership consists of judge, attorney, legislators, law school professors, bar representatives, and a member of the University of Washington's Child Advocacy program.
Judge Kennedy stated the work group will use Dr. Lye's study as a tool for considering legislation and/or court rules relating to the Parenting Act.
Judge Kennedy advised the Committee has been broken down into three task groups:
Judge Derr pointed out the Committee does not have district court representation, although domestic violence issues are also handled at the district court level. Mr. Parker also pointed out the counties had not been asked to provide a representative to the subcommittee.
Judge Kennedy advised meetings are scheduled for June 9 and August 28. Meetings for the task groups are yet to be set.
Mr. Haake reported this group is actually the oversight group for a pilot project established by HB 2799. This group will look at warrant sunset, local jurisdiction only warrants, DWLs 3rd issue-failure to appear, prisoner transportation. Other suggested areas to study include: statewide jurisdiction, greater use of technology, use of visiting judges with state assuming the costs, changing definition of visiting judge to any elected judge.
Meetings have been set for June 8 and July 6.
General discussion continued regarding the work of the work groups.
It was moved by Judge Roewe and seconded by Judge Donohue to approve the minutes of the March 10, 2000 meeting as published. The motion passed.
The next meeting of the Committee will be Friday, August 18 beginning at 9:30 a.m. A meeting was also set for Monday, September 25.
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