JIS Data Dissemination Committee
February 22, 2008
DATA DISSEMINATION COMMITTEE
February 22, 2008 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
SeaTac Facility, SeaTac, WA
Motion: A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously carried to approve the December 7, 2007 meeting minutes as written.
RETENTION POLICY WORK GROUP UPDATE
Judge Kip Stilz commented that the letter of recommendation regarding the retention schedule explained the proposal and was a good starting point for discussion and decision.
Judge Heller said that he see’s 50 to 80 criminal histories a week and he thought that it delayed his ability to deal with defendants. He said it was hard to decide what a dismissed case was, as he had to go back and look at dockets. He said bringing up the docket was a resource problem and there was difficulty finding out what and when something occurred.
Judge Heller said that he hoped that a proposal could be drafted to present to the JISC and ultimately to the Supreme Court Rules. He referred to it as "Low Lying Fruit," things that did not have much argument until the deferred sentencing stage.
Doug Klunder from ACLU said they were concerned that the Committee was not going far enough, even 10 years was a long time to have something following what turns out to be an innocent person. He said they would much rather look at moving towards following the same policy as the Criminal Records Privacy Act, chapter 10.97 RCW for non-judicial records.
Judge Heller said that the 10 years due to what was currently being done, globally. John Bell said that the argument for 10 years is accountability. For example, if a court dismissed numerous cases, the public still could monitor the decisions of a particular court and the public and the media have a right to monitor the judiciary.
Mr. Klunder said that this was trickier from a technical standpoint by two aspects; one monitoring the court and the other is monitoring the individual. He said that it was not clear if 10 years of information on a person was necessary, the court yes, but not a particular person.
Motion: Judge Heller moved to approve the Retention Policy. Judge Grosse seconded the motion. Motion included purging the Supreme Court concerns with respect to the overall issues.
Mr. Bell distributed an internal memo written to AOC about a year ago recommending that SSNs not be used in JIS. He said the memo was in response to DOL asking AOC to justify its need for SSNs. DOL has been instructed by the Social Security administration not to distribute SSNs unless the requestor could justify the need for the SSN.
Judge Grosse said that the courts should not retain SSNs. There is a long-standing policy that the courts not ask for or keep SSN information.
Ms. Barbara Miner said that SSNs were recorded because they were good identifiers. She stated that King County Superior Court no longer keeps them.
Action Item: Judge Grosse asked that members of the committee do an Ad Hoc outline to see where SSN’s were being used in the courts and how they were being obtained, in order to draft a good policy.
Action Item: John Bell to draft a summary for the committee based on SSN to present at the next meeting.
Judge Stilz said that he would like to see that a rule authorize the clerk to do an ex parte redaction of everything but the last four digits of the SSN.
INFORMATION ON CONTRACTORS WITH OPMJohn Bell informed the Committee that current JIS-Link contracts with the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) contractors are signed by the private contractors and not OPM. John Bell suggested that OPM also be required to sign the contracts thereby certifying: (1) the contractor is operating under the federal statutes that allow for private contracting with OPM, and (2) the contractor is working under OPM’s authority. Mr. Bell stated he would amend the current contract with USIS and have an OPM representative also sign the contract. This would be the policy with all future contracts with OPM contractors. The Data Dissemination Committee agreed.
INFORMATION LETTER FROM WESTLAW AND LEXIS
Lexis sent the Data Dissemination Committee a letter that questions how Westlaw is getting their appellate data from the courts. Lexis alleges that Westlaw may be screen scraping the data, which Lexis believes is against JIS policy. Division I COA Clerk, Richard Johnson, said that he was not sure how to respond to Lexis’ allegations because he is not familiar with Westlaw’s appellate website. Mr. Johnson stated they would have to reproduce JIS data to have such a website. Mr. Johnson said the question is if Westlaw is prohibited from creating an online docket using JIS data and format.
Judge Grosse said that copying JIS databases was prohibited and that the citation to the policy is accurate. However, Judge Grosse questioned such a prohibition in light of GR 31 and new technology and said Lexis may want to ask the DD Committee to revisit the policy. He said Lexis and Westlaw could argue the docket is public information and they should be able to do what they want with it. It is Lexis’ responsibility to raise this issue with the DD Committee.
Mr. Johnson also stated Westlaw has been requesting copies of COA briefs for more than a year. Mr. Johnson said that he has been telling Westlaw that they could come to the court and make the copies themselves, but he was not going to make copies for them. He said that the policies of the different divisions might be different, so he had brought the issue to the Appellate Bar Section meeting last week. He said half of the members of the Appellate Bar said, no. They believe that the briefs are not there to be sold to someone else for a profit. He said one of the lawyers said there are rights associated with those documents and that the public is only granted access to it, not use of it.
Mr. Johnson said that he was not debating the issue; he just wanted to let the committee know what was going on behind the scenes. He went on to say the issue was going to be discussed at the Division I meeting in March.
Judge Grosse said that briefs are not Division I, II, or III’s; it is the court's information and by making a decision about them would be “putting on the hat of the Data Dissemination Committee.” Judge Grosse said that is the Supreme Court's policy, expressed in a number of rules, that data is data and should be available to the public. It was suggested sending Westlaw a copy of the Lexis letter and addressing this issue at the next meeting with both Lexis and Westlaw representatives present.
Siri Woods added that it was the same problem with access to data from superior courts. She said there were vendors who want access to the data, but the clerks cannot be handling 20 different vendors, screens, and access programs. She said most clerks think it is not right to saying that there is one vendor and business would not be conducted with the others. She believes it would be good to have a portal built at AOC, through which anyone could get access to the systems.
Mr. Johnson said that ultimately the solution might be to facilitate it through AOC and let them (vendors) have the briefs. He said he did not care, but he did not want the vendors to expect him to spend staff time copying files for them.
Mr. Bell asked if GR 31 repealed the Data Dissemination Policy.
Ms. Woods said that she thought the Chief Justice wanted GR 31 to replace the Data Dissemination Policy.
Judge Grosse said the policy had been repealed because it was backwards. He said when the Supreme Court passed the policy that was the preamble to GR 31.
Ms. Miner said that she was hesitant to agree with that because there are still Data Dissemination requests and that is all part of the Data Dissemination policy. When there are requests for reports from King County Superior Court, her office uses the DD policy as a reference. There are matters in the 31.
Judge Grosse said the policy became a procedure manual and not a policy.
Ms. Woods said the committee should review the manual and decide if the policy/manual needs to be revised.
Mr. Bell said that he would work on that and Ms. Miner said she would assist.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
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