JIS Data Dissemination Committee
February 28, 2003
JIS Data Dissemination Subcommittee Members:
Judge Grosse opened the meeting by explaining the background and development of the Access to Case Records court rule. He emphasized that the rule does not address the sealing of records or vacation of judgments. Sealing is specifically addressed in GR 15. GR 15 needs to be amended and the committee plans to begin working on amending this rule soon by setting up workgroups. Vacation of judgments needs to be addressed in that workgroup. GR 22 also needs to be tweaked and will be dealt with in the same process. There needs to be consistent interplay between these rules and the new “access” rule.
Judge Grosse also stated that the committee has received some direction from the Supreme Court as to how the access to case records rule should be drafted. Specifically, representatives of the higher court have expressed their preference for a “one tier” approach to access. They believe there should be no distinction between paper and electronic documents. If a document is public, then it should be available electronically as well as in paper.
After this introduction, the committee and guests were invited to begin discussing the proposed draft of the rule.
It was agreed that “court record” should be changed to “case record” in the title and throughout the rule.
Section (a) – The committee agreed to delete “open” and “ongoing.” Also, some other grammatical changes were made that were mistakenly removed from the previous version of (a).
Section (b) – The committee agreed to add the following sentence: “Administrative records are not within the scope of this rule.”
Section (c) – Definitions
(1) “Access” was redefined as “the ability to view or copy case records.” The committee believed this definition was simpler and appropriate for the definition section of the rule.
• “Administrative record” definition was added because of the added sentence in Section (b).
• The definition of “court facility” was deleted because the term is not used in the rule.
(5) “Court Record” was changed to “case record.” Don Horowitz suggested that the committee adopt the definition set forth in the COSCA national guidelines. The committee agreed to (1) and (2) of the guidelines and adding “including, but not limited to” to the introduction of the definition.
(7) “Data” was deleted from the “data dissemination.” The following sentence was added at the end of the definition: “The terms of the dissemination contract will be approved by the JIS committee.” Siri Woods objected to the addition of this sentence. She was assured by the other members that this added sentence did not mean JIS would be regulating court clerks’ contracts. She believes that it could be interpreted this way. Ms. Woods, Barb Miner, and Tom Clarke agreed to work on modification of this language.
(1) Ms. Woods asked that “except confidential case types” be added to the beginning of this section and that a definition of “confidential case types” be added to the Definition section (c). This section would read: “Except for confidential case types, the public shall have access to case records except as restricted by this rule.” It was agreed that this may be advisable, but it was left open for further debate and/or modification.
(1) Judge Grosse suggested that “court order” be added to this section and it was agreed.
Section (U) was deleted because the committee believes that this court rule should only address “case records” and not “administrative records.”
(V) There was concern that this section did not take into consideration email and other correspondence. Pat Sainsbury suggested adding “personal notes and communications” and the committee agreed.
It was further agreed that additional statutes, laws, or court rules could be added and that the guests and members would provide John Bell with their suggestions.
(3) (B) and (C)
It was pointed out that in (B) that the names of minor children are required in some pleadings, such as criminal cases in juvenile court. The committee agreed to add “unless otherwise necessary” to the end of this section to address those situations where a minor’s name is required in the pleadings.
The Committee agreed to delete (C) “Dates of Birth” because birthdates are used as personal identifiers by almost everyone and every agency. Several pleadings, records, etc. contain dates of birth and it would be an almost impossible task to eliminate this information from case records.
(1) (A) and (B) were switched per suggestion of Mark Weiss and agreement of the committee. Mr. Weiss also suggested that section (B) read: “Determine that only the minimum restricted information necessary for the purpose be provided to the requestor.” Mr. Weiss argued that the addition of “be provided” assures that the court is making the decision and not the requestor. The committee also agreed with this suggestion.
(2) Brian Backus suggested and the committee agreed that this section refer to (f)(1) only. Don Horowitz and Doug Klunder requested and the committee agreed to add “dissemination” to the list in sub 3). It was also suggested and agreed that an “audit provision” be added as sub 4).
Doug Klunder suggested that an education section be added to the rule. It was agreed that an education section be drafted and reviewed by the committee.
The meeting closed with an agreement that a new draft with the above revisions would be sent to Judge Grosse for review and then circulated among the members of the committee and those in attendance at this meeting. The goal is to have the rule to JISC for approval and forwarding to the Court Rules committee on March 28th.
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