JIS Data Dissemination Committee
June 30, 2006
AOC SeaTac Office
Judge Ken Grosse, Chair, Washington State Court of Appeals
Pat Crandall, Clerk/Administrator, Division III Court of Appeals
Judge James Heller, Pierce County District Court
Judge Kip Stilz, Thurston County District Court
Siri Woods, Chelan County Superior Court Clerk – via speakerphone
Judge Thomas Wynne, Snohomish County Superior Court
Rena Hollis, Skamania County Superior Court Clerk
Barb Miner, King County Superior Court
Rowland Thompson, Allied Daily Newspapers
Judge Grosse opened the meeting and introductions were made.
The minutes from the 4/28/2006 meeting were approved.
County Clerks Association
Rena Hollis began the discussion with a summary of her memorandum on behalf of the County Clerks’ Association regarding the confidentiality of certain records in the courts and how these records are to be displayed in JIS. These records include adoption records and confidential name changes and the apparent conflict between the need for these names to remain confidential and the courts and prosecutors’ need to know a person's entire criminal history, including history that is prior to the adoption or name change. Judge Grosse stated this is a policy conflict that needs to be addressed by the legislature, instead of the DD Committee. The rest of the DD Committee agreed. Ms. Hollis stated she would contact the Superior Court Judges’ Association and ask them to join the Clerks’ Association in drafting and presenting legislation.
Recent Federal Amendments to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Recent federal legislation concerning online access to protection orders was discussed. John Bell summarized his memorandum and concluded that the current federal legislation only pertained to foreign protection orders. Judge Stilz stated court records that contained victims’ names and addresses are not accessible online via JIS records. Whether this information was available through county websites should be a local decision and not a DD/JIS decision. Everyone agreed that JIS is in compliance with VAWA. Judge Grosse further stated that he believed that the counties are, at least, in compliance with the spirit of the law.
Sealed Juvenile Court Records
John Bell presented his memorandum on sealed and vacated convictions. He expressed concerns over the use and misinterpretation of the word “expunge” in trial courts and appellate courts. Expunge means destroy and should not be equated with seal or vacate. Currently, there is no statutory authorization to destroy any court record. Judge Stilz suggested contacting AOC’s education department and request that this topic be addressed at a future judicial education conference. Ms. Hollis was also concerned that the current system may automatically unseal a case without a judicial order. Mr. Bell indicated he had advised AOC that the system should never automatically unseal a case: an order allowing unsealing needs to be filed prior to a court record being unsealed. Everyone agreed that this was correct.
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