JIS Data Dissemination Committee
June 29, 2007
Judge Thomas Wynne, Snohomish County Superior Court, Substitute Chair
Cathy Grindle, King County District Court
Judge Wynne opened the meeting and introductions were made.
The minutes from the 04/27/07 meeting were approved.
Retention and Accessibility to Court Records in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Annette Plese of Spokane County District Court discussed examples of cases in her court where defendants were mistakenly charged with criminal offenses. She stated she was attempting to find creative ways of preventing accessibility to this information, but the case management system would not allow her to delete the information. Judge Grosse indicated that something needs to be done to remedy this situation as the law does not allow expungement of these cases. John Bell indicated he has had recent discussions with Judge James Heller and Judge Heller is willing to chair a work group that addresses these issues along with drafting a retention policy for court records in courts of limited jurisdiction. Judge Grosse agreed, but would also like the issue expanded to superior courts. He stated an appellate representative and superior court representative should also participate in the work group.
ACTION ITEM: John Bell will contact Justice Bridge and get her approval for the work group. He will draft a letter to potential members and forward to Judge Grosse and Justice Bridge for their signatures. Once appointed, the work group will draft retention policies and return to the DD Committee for review approval. Besides Judge Heller, suggested members were Judge Plese and Cathy Grindle.
King County – Execution Docket
At the last meeting, AOC staff indicated that it would take approximately 500 hours work to remedy an issue that has arisen in superior court regarding the sealing of execution dockets. These dockets are recognized by the case management system as case type 9 and the system does not allow sealing of these cases. Barb Miner and Siri Woods proposed a possible work around at the last meeting. The work around has been criticized by several Superior Court Clerks. Joel McAllister, Finance Manager, King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, indicated that it may be more difficult to use this work around in juvenile cases. Judge Grosse stated that AOC should be able to fix the access problem and Tim Bates stated he would look into it further and report to this committee. Tim stated the new case management system would not have this problem.
ACTION ITEMS: Tim Bates will look into this issue and report to the Committee on other possible solutions.
Siri Woods stated she and Barb Miner looked at the possibility of having all protection orders confidential. Siri stated if that occurred then law enforcement agencies, employers, schools, etc. may not have access to protection orders and that would defeat the purpose behind the issuance of protection orders. Judge Grosse agreed and asked if the representatives of victims of domestic violence wanted the consequences of sealing this information from the public. Molly Lawrence stated she did not believe that is what the federal law required and she believed that the federal law only required that the protection orders not be placed on the internet. The Committee agreed that is a two tiered system and that the Supreme Court has indicated that it would not endorse a two-tiered system. Judge Stilz indicated he would like to see a flow chart that includes all protection orders covered under VAWA. Judge Wynne stated protection orders are issued in many different types of cases and that would make two-tiered sealing even more difficult. Judge Grosse agreed to meet with Molly Lawrence and discuss the history behind the two-tiered and one-tiered philosophy. Jennifer Creighton will prepare a flow chart and send it to the Committee.
ACTION BY COMMITTEE: Judge Wynne asked if any member of the committee wanted to make a motion to have a two-tiered system for protection orders. Judge Hall made the motion. The motion failed for lack of a second.
The Functions and Responsibilities of the Data Dissemination Committee and Data Management Committee
This issue was tabled from the last meeting. Judge Grosse and Stilz wanted to discuss the responsibilities of the two different committees. Tim Bates indicated that his view was that the Data Management Committee focuses the management of data from a technical standpoint. The Data Management Committee determines how data is exchanged and the technical requirements necessary to make those exchanges. It does not make policy decisions. Policy decisions are made by the Data Dissemination Committee and any issues regarding policy are referred to the DD Committee. Tim stated that the VAWA issue had been raised at a Data Management Committee. The issue was not discussed, but referred to this committee. It was pointed out that the chair of Data Management Committee, Rich Johnson, will also be a member of this committee starting next meeting.
Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) Request for Accessibility to Respondent Names in Active Vulnerable Adult Cases
At the last meeting, this committee agreed to make available to the WSHA respondent names in active permanent adult protection orders because this had been mandated by the legislature in an effort to protect the safety of vulnerable adult victims. Jennifer Creighton indicated that a public site would be made available where all respondent names and cause numbers would be listed with the explicit instruction that that further investigation would be necessary if a similar name was found. The exact language reads:
Terms and Conditions
This information is provided for use as reference material and is not the official court record. The official court record is maintained by the court of record. Copies of case file documents are not available at this website and will need to be obtained from the court of record.
By checking the box below, you agree to view the official case record to positively identify the person under consideration before acting on this information.
The Administrative Office of the Courts, the Washington State Courts, and the Washington State County Clerks: 1) Do not warrant that the information is accurate or complete; 2) Make no representations regarding the identity of any person whose names appear in this court case and name search; and 3) Do not assume any liability resulting from the release or use of the data or information. To verify the information, the user should personally consult the official case records.
Judge Grosse voiced concerns. He stated the WSHA has the money and ability to search this information and that the Committee was setting bad precedent. Judges Stilz and Wynne stated that this concern had already been discussed at the last meeting and it was decided to move forward with implementation because of the legislative mandate. Judge Grosse said he was also concerned about potential liability.
ACTION: The Committee voted that the website should be activated. Judge Grosse was the only dissenting vote.
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