Trial Court Coordination Councils
Coordination Council Grants will Improve Court Operations
Five projects in seven jurisdictions have been awarded grants from the Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) for Trial Court Coordination Council plans that will improve coordination and operations in their courts. The BJA approved $75,000 in TCCC grants for the coming fiscal year. The grants are designed to help jurisdictions form new Trial Court Coordination Councils, and to help existing TCCCs develop projects.
Trial Court Coordination Councils are a recommendation of the Project 2001 Task Force, which encouraged judges and court officials of different court levels in a jurisdiction to work together with other community representatives on a TCCC. The goal is to develop greater coordination of services, reduce redundancies and maximize the use of judges’ and court time.
The BJA greatly appreciates the help of Trial Court Coordination committee chair Judge Stephen Holman and committee members Judges Richard Fitterer, Linda Krese, Jack Nevin, and Jeffrey Ramsdell, who once again took time to review proposals for TCCC grants, as well as the participation of jurisdictions who have formed Trial Court Coordination Councils. “It’s always enjoyable to see the creativity and cooperation of councils as they work together to solve problems,” said Judge Holman.
The projects funded through BJA grants for the 2009 fiscal year include:
- Black Diamond-Bonney Lake-Buckley Municipal Courts — Pool resources to ensure inmates have preliminary hearings on the next court day, per CrRLJ 3.2.1. The courts will set up internet-based video conferencing between each court and the Buckley jail (which they all use); will sign an interlocal agreement allowing each to hold preliminary hearings for any member court; will work with law enforcement to allow next-day hearings for those charged with domestic violence or DUI offenses but not held in custody; and hope to open the interlocal agreements to other similarly situated courts.
- King County — Reduce juror non-response rates throughout King County courts through a marketing campaign that includes “larger than life” messages on Metro buses for eight weeks; and will modify the appearance and text of the juror summons and mailing notifications, which are managed for all King County courts by the King County Superior Court, to improve the initial point of contact with potential jurors.
- Pierce County — Increase volunteer coordination by installation of an information booth at a key location in the County City Building, similar to the hospital model. TCCC funding will be used for consulting services to develop volunteer services and for the cost of the booth and computer tools.
- Skagit County — Provide regional training for all line staff from Skagit, Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties (about 107 people). Line staff members do not get the same training opportunities that managers receive in annual conferences. Professional training will focus on communication skills.
- Columbia County — Implement a video-conferencing system in order to solve a problem with insecure transport of in-custody defendants. System will allow judges, defendants and court personnel to interact from remote locations, improving security and reducing transport costs, particularly for defendants housed in adjacent jurisdictions.
For information on forming a Trial Court Coordination Council in your jurisdiction, contact Julia Appel at the Administrative Office of the Courts, (360) 705-5229, or by email at Julia.Appel@court.wa.gov.