Best Practices Committee
February 28, 2003D R A F T
Board for Judicial Administration
Best Practices Committee February 28, 2003
Call to Order
Judge Evan Sperline called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m. Those present introduced themselves. The minutes of October 25, 2002 were entered into the record as written.
Review of Collection Information
Summary of Statues
Staff had been asked to summarize the statutes and laws pertaining to criminal revenue collection and distribution. Selected RCW statutes were pulled together and distributed at the meeting in handout form, discussion of these statutes was led by Ms. Pettus. One of the difficulties in the superior court system is that a person pays money to the Department of Corrections thinking that this money was for payment of court fines when it really was applied to a supervision fee obligation.
Accounts Receivable Write-Off Policy
A handout was provided showing the scope of the guidelines for courts to follow when writing off accounts receivable.
Bills of Interest Before the Legislature
HB 1031: “Revising rules for payment of traffic infraction and misdemeanor penalties.” This bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and is now in Appropriations.
HB 1514: “Suspending accrual of interest for financial obligations during total confinement.”
HB 1836: “Revising the interest rate applied to legal financial obligations.”
HB 2078: “Providing commencement dates for interest on restitution payments.”
SB 5168: “Authorizing reduction of interest on legal financial obligations.”
Tables of Collection Information
Staff collected information for both Superior Courts and Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (CLJ) regarding collection of criminal files and costs, the tables handed out included:
Collection Rates over Time – by Case Type and Fine Amount
Frequency of Cases with and without Payment Histories
Average Duration to First Receipt of Payment
Collection Rates over time for Cases with a Positive Payment Stream
Collection Rates at (various times) from AR Open Date
Dr. Glenn explained the data that had been collected and answered questions from the committee members. There is a difficulty in comparing CLJ and Superior Courts; each has their own set of problems. It was noted that aggressive court collection may not be the answer.
Should there be a Best Practice adopted recommending an approach judges should take at sentencing when assessing fines to ensure offenders understand interest accrual?
Court Performance Audits
The Board for Judicial Administration would like the Best Practices committee to discuss how a Performance Audit might be conducted. HB 1503 is currently in Appropriations, it is a bill that encourages the courts to perform audits.
The committee agreed that focusing on the “Framework for doing a Performance Audit” might be a good place to begin.
The meeting adjourned at 11:10 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Friday, April 11 at 9:00 a.m. (note earlier start time); it will again be held in Tacoma at the Court of Appeals.
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