Best Practices Committee
September 22, 2005
1. WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Judge Sperline called the meeting to order and asked that committee members introduce themselves to the group.
A brief discussion regarding the meeting date schedule occurred. It was noted that November 17th meeting may be moved to accommodate a possible change to the November BJA meeting date. Staff will keep the committee informed of any meeting date adjustments.
2. I-900: Performance Audit Initiative
Jeff Hall reported on I-900, briefly reviewing the content of the initiative. Discussion ensued regarding the potential impact on the work of the best practices committee relative to performance audits.
3. Attorney Surveys
Jeff Hall reviewed the changes made to the attorney surveys at the June meeting.
Mr. Hall reported that there were three proposed changes to the Court of Appeals survey received subsequent to the June meeting. The proposed amendments were to:
Following discussion there was a consensus not to replicate statements 8, 9, 16, and 20 and to accept the recommended amendments in the second and third bullets above.
4. Review of Measures Approved
Yvonne Pettus reported on the general basis for the draft Structured Interview of the Presiding Judge as contained in the materials. There was a consensus that inclusion of this measure in the base audit would be beneficial. Specific edits to the draft were:
Question 4: "How involved is the presiding judge
Question 4: replicate, asking "How involved are the other judges of the court…."
Question 5: replicate, asking "How often does the presiding judge meet informally with the court manager?"
"Does the court have a strategic or long range plan?"
"Is there a trial court coordinating council in place?"
"In what ways do courts of different levels communicate with each other?"
Question 8: rephrase as "Do the judges and/or administrator formally meet…"
Strike the phrase "How often" at the beginning of questions 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, and 22.
Question 14: "Does the court seek advice of "user"
Question 15: Add a row for Civil Legal Aid Attorneys under the "Agency" column.
Add several open ended questions such as:
"What are the biggest issues your court is facing?"
"What at the strengths and weaknesses of your court?"
"What is your top funding priority?"
Jeff Hall reported that at the last meeting the Committee had approved inclusion of TCPS measure 2.2.4 and that the measure will apply to no contact orders. Mr. Hall asked for clarification regarding the time frame that is to be measured. Committee members indicated that the time frame to measure was 24 hours from entry of order to receipt of order by law enforcement. It was noted that this measure should apply to all "no-contact" orders including anti-harassment and domestic violence protection orders.
The committee reviewed the current list of approved measures:
Pam Daniels asked whether a "user" survey, in addition to the attorney survey would be considered. Ms. Daniels noted that she uses a much shorter, five question, survey in her office approximately four times a year. Ms. Pettus indicated that the ACS project utilized a user survey as part of that project, which staff handed out to court users in the hallways. The question of including a user survey as a base measure was deferred to the next meeting.
On the measure of case processing time and age of pending caseload it was noted that the measure should indicate that it does apply to court of appeal cases.
On the trial date certainty measure it was suggested that the length of continuances, in addition to the number of continuances, should be measured. Judge Sperline suggested that the time from the first continuance to actual resolution should be measured. Discussion ensued on the pros and cons and importance of the length of continuances. There was a consensus that during the pilot testing of this measure sufficient data on continuance length should be collected to allow the committee to determine the utility of measuring the length of continuances.
On the evaluation of the court's response to financial audits Pam Daniels indicated that she did not believe the Clerks would find it acceptable to include a review of the Clerk's Office financial audits in this measure. Ms. Daniels indicated she would discuss this with the Clerks Association Executive Committee prior to the next meeting.
5. Final Review of Measures for Consideration
The Independence and Comity Survey used for TCPS measure 4.1.1 was discussed. There was a consensus that a survey of other local government officials should be considered for inclusion as a base measurement. Following discussion, the committee concluded however, that only the questions under 1 of Part IV of the survey were appropriate and useful. These questions should also be included in the presiding judge survey.
Judge Schindler indicated that there was a need to include some measure of access to the courts, following along the lines of the civil legal needs study. Discussion of TCPS measure 1.5.1, Alternatives Inventory for Financially Disadvantaged ensued. A sub-committee of comprised of Judge Schindler, Judge Tolman, and County Clerk Pam Daniels was formed to review this issue further prior to the next meeting.
Judge Sperline indicated that TCPS measure 2.1.2 warranted consideration for inclusion. Following discussion, there was a consensus to include this measure as a base measure.
Judge Sperline indicated that TCPS measure 4.4.3 on community outreach efforts warranted consideration for inclusion. The committee discussed the possibility of using this measure within the structured interview of the presiding judge, and unanimously agreed.
Judge Sperline indicated that committee members should continue to review the list of measures provided in the materials, but absent any suggestions at the next meeting, it appeared that the initial set of base measures to be pilot tested was complete.
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