Minority and Justice Commission
Commission Members Present
|Justice Charles Z. Smith||Justice James M. Dolliver|
|Judge Ronald E. Cox||Justice Charles W. Johnson|
|Judge Elaine Houghton||Judge James M. Murphy|
|Judge LeRoy McCullough||Judge Ricardo S. Martinez|
|Judge Richard A. Jones||Judge Monica J. Benton|
|Judge Ron A. Mamiya||Ms. Myrna Contreras|
|Larry M. Fehr||Ms. Donna Claxton Deming|
|Ms. Kazzie Katayama||Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen|
|Ms. Vicki J. Toyohara||Charles E. Siljeg|
||Jeffrey C. Sullivan|
||Ms. Mary Alice Theiler|
||David C. Ward|
|Technical Support Members Present||Excused Absences|
|Judge Deborah D. Fleck||Judge William W. Baker|
|Ms. Madelyn Botta||Judge Philip J. Thompson|
|David J. Della||Judge Kenneth H. Kato|
|Charles A. Jardine||Judge Robert E. McBeth|
|Ms. Ada Ko||Judge James D. Cayce|
|Ms. Lorraine Lee||Robert C. Boruchowitz|
|Richard F. McDermott, Jr.||Lonnie Davis|
|Ms. Mary Elizabeth McKnew||Ms. Kim M. Eaton|
||Ms. Debora G. Juarez|
||Ms. Terry Mark|
||Ms. P. Diane Schneider|
||Ms. Barbara J. Selberg|
||Dr. Charles H. Sheldon, Ph. D.|
||Mr. Brian A. Tsuchida|
Call to Order
Report of Co-Chairmen
Compensation of the Executive Director
Justice and Women of Color Poster and Note Card
1995-1997 Biennium Budget
1997-1999 Biennium Budget
Ethnic Support Council Diversity Forum
Preparing for a Judicial Career: A Practical Approach (CLE)
Ninth Annual Meeting of the Nation Consortium of Task Forces and Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts, Las Vegas, Nevada
Tenth Annual Anniversary Meeting of the National Consortium in Seattle on May 7, 8 and 9, 1998
Reports from Sub-Committees
Ms. Patricia H. Char
The meeting was called to order by Justice Charles Z. Smith at 1:35 o'clock in the afternoon in Room 5537, Two Union Square, Seattle. Justice Smith introduced Ms. Patricia H. Char, partner at the Bogle and Gates law firm, who secured our meeting room and arranged a reception hosted by Bogle and Gates. The Commission meeting will recess at 3:00 o'clock so that members can attend the reception. Justice Smith also introduced Donald Strayhorn, Court Coordinator for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago. Mr. Strayhorn attended the meeting at his own expense. The Cook County Court is one of the largest in the country. Commission members were asked to introduce themselves to Mr. Strayhorn.
The January 24, 1997 Executive Committee meeting minutes were reviewed. Motion to approve the minutes subject to necessary editorial revisions was made. Motion seconded and carried.
The February 7, 1997 Commission meeting minutes were reviewed. Motion to approve the minutes subject to necessary editorial revisions was made and seconded. Motion carried.
Justice Dolliver was unable to attend.
Co-Chairman Justice Charles Z. Smith reports that Ms. Vicki J. Toyohara has been working unreasonably long hours. Her office has been moved to the ground floor of the Temple of Justice. Ms. Toyohara's telephone number remains the same. Justice Smith indicated his delight with this move.
Ms. Sandra Fancher Garcia has relocated to California and has submitted her resignation which leaves a vacancy on the Commission. Justice Smith will propose to the Supreme Court the position be filled by Judge William W. Baker who be reappointed to the Commission after his chief judge term ends in January 1998.
Dr. Charles H. Sheldon, Ph. D., Washington State University, has submitted his resignation from the Technical Support group for health reasons. Dr. Sheldon has been a significant part of our activities since our task force days. Even though he will not be listed as a Technical Support member or a Commission member, Justice Smith knows we can continue to depend on his support.
Justice Smith reported that at the April 25 Executive Committee meeting he raised the issue that Ms. Toyohara has not had a salary increase for the four years and nine months she has been with the Commission. Ms. Toyohara has had only COLA increases. Justice Smith was embarrassed when he found out what her salary actually is. He requested that the Finance Committee, chaired by Judge Elaine Houghton, enter into discussion on this issue and take a look at the salary of the Executive Director and make recommendations to the Executive Committee on the Executive Director's salary. Apparently Ms. Toyohara's salary is at the ceiling of her classification. Justice Smith noted that Ms. Toyohara is deserving of a reclassification of her position upward. He stated that Commission members who have worked with Ms. Toyohara know that she is not just an ordinary state employee who comes to work and puts in forty hours a week and draws a salary and does nothing else. Ms. Toyohara has devoted a significant portion of her existence to the Commission and she deserves to be adequately compensated.
We are currently in the sixth year of our existence as a Commission. We have published a 1994 report. A report was not published for 1995. We are saving money by combining our 1995 and 1996 activities into one report. A copy was provided to all of the Commission members present. This report is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, especially the chairpersons of the sub-committees. On the cover of the 1995-1996 Report is the art work by Ms. Nubia W. Owens, "Justice and Women of Color," which is disseminated throughout the world. This art work was used for the notebook cover for the National Consortium meeting in New Orleans in 1995 and in Atlanta in 1996.
The Commission previously published two art posters, "Equal Justice" by Sekio Matsumoto, and "The Jury" by Ms. Catherine Conoley. The Commission recently published posters and note cards of Ms. Owen's art work, "Justice and Women of Color." These note cards and posters are promoted on a national level. Samples of the note cards and order forms were provided to Commission members present. The poster fund balance is $715.00. We established the charge for the art work to avoid its waste.
Justice Smith introduced Charles A. Jardine, a retired Certified Public Accountant, and newest member of the Technical Support group.
Justice Smith expressed his concern over the response of OAC Fiscal to the Commission's requests for financial information. Justice Smith indicated that because of the format of OAC Fiscal reports, it is difficult for the Commission to know the status of its own budget.
Justice Smith asked Mr. Jardine to assist the Commission by "negotiating" with Fiscal and devising a simplified accounting process and financial report for the Commission.
Mr. Jardine reported on his work in developing a budget accounting system for the Commission and an understandable budget report. Mr. Jardine has met with Mr. Butch Stussy, Ms. Thuy Hua-Ly and Ms. Toyohara on several occasions. Mr. Jardine indicated that the OAC Fiscal accounting system is an encumbering system designed to serve Fiscal's needs. It does not serve the Commission's needs. Mr. Jardine also examined Fiscal and Commission budget reports for the 1995-1997 biennium. He was unable to resolve the discrepancies between the two sets of reports.
Justice Smith commended Mr. Jardine for his fine work. Mr. Jardine has spent countless hours on this project.
When the Minority and Justice Commission receives its 1997-1999 budget allocation of $308,000.00, there must be an accurate tracking of these funds. The focus of the Commission's budget process and reports will be on what was spent and not on what was encumbered. The Minority and Justice Commission budget reports will be on a monthly basis, with months numbered one through twenty-four. This will be broken down into four columns. The first column is for the entire twenty-four month period. The second column is monthly expenditures, the third column is accumulated expenditures and the fourth column is the remaining balance.
Mr. Jardine has written a six-page guideline on accounting and budgeting concepts for the justices so that non-accountants can understand this new budget process. Eventually a manual will be developed. A chart of accounts was established as well. Primary and secondary break-downs were explained by Mr. Jardine. Mr. Jardine has worked with Mr. Stussy and Ms. Hua-Ly. He has not received a response yet from Ms. Hua-Ly to his request for a meeting with her. Justice Smith assigned Mr. Jardine to the Finance Committee.
Judge Houghton reported that the Legislature approved our level of funding at $308,000.00 for the 1997-1999 biennium. Our request for an increase in our funding level was not approved.
Justice Smith indicated that the Minority and Justice Commission should be a line item in the Supreme Court budget. The order renewing the Minority and Justice Commission directs this. Judge Houghton stated that this issue was discussed with Ms. Mary McQueen and that our budget currently is not subject to the 601 spending limits. There is better flexibility without the 601 restrictions. If we were to move our budget to the Supreme Court we would be subject to 601.
Justice Smith presented the proposed 1997-1999 Biennium Budget to the Commission. Motion to approve the proposed 1997-1999 Biennium Budget by Judge LeRoy McCullough. Seconded by Judge Richard A. Jones. Motion carried.
Mr. Richard F. McDermott, Jr. asked how an increase in salary will be handled. Justice Smith explained that we have the flexibility to move funds internally.
Justice Smith stated that the Minority and Justice Commission was invited by the Lewis county and Cowlitz county bar associations to participate in a community forum on cultural diversity in the city of Longview. The principal person behind the invitation was Judge C. C. Bridgewater, Court of Appeals, Division II. Justice Smith, Judge Deborah D. Fleck and Judge Sergio Armijo participated. Judge Fleck drove from Seattle to Longview (110 miles each way) in order to attend the evening forum. She drove back to Seattle after the evening program because she had court the next morning in Seattle. Judge Fleck then drove to Spokane the following day to participate in our education program. Justice Smith commended Judge Fleck for her dedicated service to the Commission. Judge Fleck and Judge Armijo well represented the Commission. They shared with the community their impressions concerning the need for cultural awareness.
In the Longview Community their principle communities of color are Laotian, Vietnamese and Latino/Hispanic groups. Representatives from those groups were there to share their experiences in the courts. This was a very positive experience. Judge Houghton shared her experience as a panelist last year.
Justice Smith indicated that becoming a judge is not a matter of color. There are persons not of color who call themselves national experts who are telling persons of color how to become judges. One of the best programs was presented by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York initially in 1991. The structure of this program has been a good example for the rest of the country.
Ms. Ada Ko was interested in such a program in the past. Technical Support member Ms. Lorraine Lee also was interested in developing a program and asked Justice Smith about the subject. Ms. Lee developed the program for the Washington State Bar Association and asked Justice Smith if the Minority and Justice Commission would join as a sponsor. Justice Smith and Ms. Toyohara were unable to attend the program because they were attending the National Consortium meeting in Las Vegas.
The program, held in Seattle on May 9, 1997, was highly successful. Ms. Lee gave an overview of the program. Race is not a factor to becoming a judge. Race and ethnicity are incidental to becoming a judge. Ms. Lee captured the essence of this. Justice Smith commended Ms. Lee for her work on the program. Participants gave the program high marks. Ms. Lee stated that a most frequently asked question was whether a person not of color could attend the program. The program was open to all persons.
May 8, 9 and 10, 1997
Justice Smith reported that the 1997 National Consortium meeting in Las Vegas on May 8, 9 and 10, was a success. Justice Smith has served as a moderator of the National Consortium for the past seven years. He was elected to serve another two-year term at the Las Vegas meeting. Judge Veronica Simmons McBeth was elected as the moderator-elect. Judge McBeth is the keynote speaker at the Loren Miller Bar Association dinner this evening.
A panel of chief justices was part of the Las Vegas meeting agenda. The panel moderator was Chief Justice Miriam Shearing, Supreme Court of Nevada. Panelists included Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey, Supreme Court of Delaware; Chief Judge Annice M. Wagner, Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia; Chief Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., Supreme Court of Tennessee; and Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Maryland Court of Appeals.
The program also included a panel on "Law Schools in an Inclusive Society: Admission of Students of Color and Retention of Law Faculty of Color." This panel was moderated by Dr. Sandra E. Madrid, Ph. D., Assistant Dean at the University of Washington School of Law.
"Justice and Women of Color Revisited, III: Reflections Upon the La Placita Manifesto" was again on our agenda. Ms. Arline S. Tyler, a lawyer and program manager with the Judicial Council of California, served as moderator of the panel. Ms. Tyler is principally responsible for the "La Placita Manifesto." On the panel were Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson, Cornell Law School; Ms. Krystal Wilson, an attorney with the National Judicial Education Program; Ms. L. Dew Kaneshiro, Project Director, Hawai'i Supreme Court Committee on Equality and Access to the Courts; and Ms. Vicki J. Toyohara, our Executive Director. Each of the panels was outstanding, but the panel on women of color was better than the one in Georgia which was better than the one in New Orleans. The moderator has decided that this topic will be on the agenda for the 1998 meeting.
We had an outstanding luncheon panel on Saturday which discussed the need for commissions and task forces on racial and ethnic bias. The panel included Justice Charles W. Johnson, Washington Supreme Court; Justice Gregory Kellam Scott, Colorado Supreme Court; and Judge Tommy Day Wilcox, Superior Court of Georgia.
Each event was significantly worthwhile. The National Consortium was established in 1988 with the four original groups, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Washington. Now we have at least thirty state commissions plus Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia and Washington, D. C.
Ontario has completed its work after spending five million American dollars. The commission completed its report of 850 pages. They went out of existence. Parliament no longer funded it. However, Judge David Cole, one of its co-chairpersons, continues to participate in the National Consortium.
The keynote speaker in Las Vegas was Dr. Esther Cole, Ph. D., a psychologist for the Board of Education for the Province of Ontario, and the wife of Judge Cole. Dr. Cole is principally responsible for the phrase "Courts in an Inclusive Society." Staff support from the National Center for State Courts was highly efficient and professional.
Justice Smith commended the efforts of Kevin M. Kelly, Las Vegas attorney and chairperson of the Nevada Task Force on Racial and Economic Bias in the Courts, for a successful National Consortium meeting. He also commended the Nevada Executive Director, Danny A. Gonzales.
Justice Smith indicated that the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously approved extending an invitation to the National Consortium to hold its tenth anniversary meeting in Seattle on May 7, 8 and 9, 1998. The Consortium accepted the invitation.
We received an invitation from Hawai'i for 1998, but 1998 was preempted by Washington. Hawai'i then extended its invitation for 1999. Puerto Rico does not yet have a commission, but expects to have one. They have informally asked the National Consortium to come to Puerto Rico in the year 2000. Ontario also would like us to come in the year 2000. Justice Smith stated that the meeting in the year 2000 will more likely be held in Ontario and he will urge Puerto Rico to extend an invitation for a future date.
Chief Justice José A. Andréu-García of Puerto Rico is interested in establishing a commission. Judge Jeannette Ramos Buonomo was appointed by Chief Justice Andréu-García to attend the Las Vegas National Consortium meeting. Judge Ramos made a firm statement that Puerto Rico expects to establish a minority and justice commission.
Justice Smith has established a Planning Committee for the 1998 meeting in Seattle. The time to begin arrangements for the meeting is now. The dates are May 7, 8 and 9, 1998. The dates are fixed for Mother's Day weekend.
The Planning Committee Chairperson is Richard F. McDermott, Jr. Ms. Myrna Contreras will serve as Vice Chairperson. Committee members are Judge William W. Baker, Washington Court of Appeals, Division I; Judge James M. Murphy, Spokane County Superior Court; Ms. Kazzie Katayama; Ms. Vicki J. Toyohara, Executive Director; John G. Richardson, National Center for State Courts; Judge Ronald E. Cox, Washington Court of Appeals, Division I; Ms. Donna Claxton Demming, Seattle University Law School; Ms. Ada Ko; José E. Gaitán; and Ms. Brenda A. Williams, National Center for State Courts. Ms. Williams was highly commended for her work at the Las Vegas meeting. She brought her secretary and a computer for preparation of additional name tags and name tents.
The National Center for State Courts has agreed that Mr. Richardson and Ms. Williams will provide further support to the National Consortium. The Nevada Commission obtained $10,000.00 from Wells Fargo Bank to cover the costs of the reception, luncheon and meeting expenses for the Consortium. Wells Fargo representatives were so impressed by their experience at the meeting that they recommend we seek support from their Seattle office for the 1998 meeting.
Mr. Kelly convinced Wells Fargo to contribute the $10,000.00 under the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law which requires banking institutions to return some of its profits to minority communities. This applies to all banking institutions. We need to look into this Act to see to what extent it could be used to pursue banking institutions in the state of Washington to similarly contribute to the costs of our 1998 Consortium meeting. Two years ago the Louisiana Bar appropriated $3,500.00 for the reception at the New Orleans meeting.
Justice Smith indicated that the Finance Committee and the Planning Committee will decide what the financial goal will be for the 1998 National Consortium meeting. Justice Smith and Ms. Toyohara will work with the committees on this. Judge Jones recommended that the Planning Committee contact the local bar associations and the alumni associations for contributions towards our meeting as soon as possible. These would include Washington Women Lawyers, the University of Washington Alumni Association and the Washington State Bar Association. Judge Fleck asked whether any of the large law firms would be interested in helping to underwrite the meeting and whether we could target corporations such as Boeing and Microsoft.
Work Force Diversity Sub-Committee
Judge Elaine Houghton informed us that the next presentation of the Work Force Diversity Education Program will be on June 26, 1997 in the Arctic Dome Room in Seattle. Ms. Madelyn Botta will introduce the program on behalf of the sub-committee.
The update of the Work Force Diversity Resource Directory is still going through the editing process. We expect to print 3,000 copies.
Bar Liaison Sub-committee
No report from the Bar Liaison Sub-committee. Sub-committee chairperson Ms. Myrna Contreras was unable to attend.
Education Sub-committee chairperson, Judge Ronald E. Cox, reported that Achievement Architects North has developed a new cultural diversity curriculum entitled Courts in an Inclusive Society. This curriculum will be presented for the first time at the Superior Court Judges' Spring Conference on Wednesday, April 30, 1997, at the Ridpath Hotel in Spokane. Co-host judges for the program are Judge Paul A. Bastine and Judge Greg D. Sypolt, both on the Spokane County Superior Court. The co-host judges will assist us in increasing registration and with media coverage. Our Co-Chairman, Justice Charles Z. Smith will welcome program participants. Because this is a new curriculum, we also will have an Evaluation Team present. Evaluation Team members include Justice Charles Z. Smith, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Ms. P. Diane Schneider and Ms. Vicki J. Toyohara. A dinner meeting following the program will take place with the Evaluation Team members, co-host judges and the consultants. They will discuss and evaluate the program.
Judge Cox indicated that the Courts in an Inclusive Society program will next be presented by Ms. Benita R. Horn and her consultant team at the District and Municipal Court Spring Conference on Wednesday, May 7, 1997, at the Red Lion Inn in Pasco. This is a joint conference of judges and court administrators. Our host judge is Judge H. W. Felsted, Franklin County District Court. Our host court administrator is Ms. Terrie Yonts, Franklin County District Court. Judge Monica J. Benton will represent the Commission and welcome program participants. Evaluation Team members include Judge Monica J. Benton, Judge James D. Cayce, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, Mr. Lonnie Davis, Ms. Irene Gutierrez and Ms. Toyohara.
Judge Cox next discussed the educational video project. He indicated that the first set of draft concepts for the vignettes was rejected by the Commission. We are extending the contract with the consultant, Bristol Productions, to May 1, 1997 and then to June 30, 1997, depending upon performance of the consultant. At this point eight concepts for scripts have been approved. Justice Smith is personally reviewing the concepts and scripts. Karl Schmidt is submitting his products direct to Justice Smith. Judge Cox indicated that the initial goal of the Education Sub-committee was to incorporate a video module into the Cultural Diversity Education Program in time for the spring conferences. This will not happen. The goal of the sub-committee is the production of a quality video before the end of the biennium. We will call upon Commission members as actors in our video.
Justice Smith indicated that only one consultant submitted a bid for this project. The contract was granted to this person. The first scripts submitted by the consultant were wrong, off course and not related to their intended purpose. The consultant is a filmmaker. He is leaning on Justice Smith and Ms. Toyohara to assist him with writing the concepts and scripts. He has never been in a court room and does not understand what judging is all about. The consultant recently wrote us a letter in an attempt to insulate himself from any breach of contract allegations by saying he did not realize that judges thought they were perfect. Justice Smith indicated that the Commission is paying this person $15,000.00 to produce ten video scenes. We cannot simply get a person off the street to write a script and produce a video to be used by judges. After reading the letter from the consultant Justice Smith indicated he was ready to terminate our contract. Any product with the name of the Minority and Justice Commission on it must be totally acceptable to each of us. Ms. Toyohara, who rarely does this, had to tell the consultant he is getting paid by us to perform work for us and that she does not work for him. Justice Smith indicated he would rather have no production than a bad production.
Ms. Toyohara stated that the project work with this consultant has been a frustrating process. When we contract with a professional it is that person's responsibility to find out what is needed in order to do the job which is to write scripts for use with judges and court personnel. Ms. Toyohara indicates that the scripts presented so far have been based upon the consultant's knowledge of the courts from television. The results have been disappointing. During the past few days the consultant has been leaning on Ms. Toyohara to get her to do his job for him. Ms. Toyohara indicated she told the consultant that he needs to contact lawyers, judges and others and find out what he does not know so that he can develop intelligible and accurate scripts. The response of the consultant is that he understands from Justice Smith that judges are perfect. Ms. Toyohara indicated that of the 10 scripts submitted so far only one script involves a court room scene involving a judge. Ms. Toyohara explained to the consultant that the reason for the rejection of his first set of script concepts was because the content was unacceptable. The rejection had nothing to do with any notion that judges are perfect. We are far from where we need to be on this project which is to do the filming during the first two weeks in June.
Justice Smith indicated the American Bar Association has a video entitled Bias in the Courtroom. Perhaps the consultant can review this video to assist him in understanding what it is we want. Judge Fleck also indicated there is another film which has been used by Washington Women Lawyers. She was unsure whether they developed the video or whether someone else did. Judge Fleck indicated that this film on bias is very good.
Research Sub - Committee
Research Sub-committee chairperson Larry M. Fehr discussed the sub-committee projects. First is the publication of an article on Commission research studies in the Gonzaga Law Review. This issue will be published sometime soon. Mr. Fehr indicated that the prosecutorial discretion and exceptional sentencing studies were summarized in this article. Mr. Fehr hopes to be able to provide copies of the article to Commission members.
Mr. Fehr next discussed the status of the Research Study Number 4, Bail and Pre-trial Detention Practices in Washington State, which is being done by Dr. George S. Bridges, Ph. D., University of Washington. It is ground-breaking research on the issue of bail and pre-trial detention practices and racial disparities because it has not been done before in this state and perhaps in the country. The study will be in two phases. Phase I will be completed June 30, 1997. Phase I will examine bail and pre-trial issues in King County only. Dr. Bridges and his team will need to merge data from four different data sets in order to have a complete set of data for his analyses. This task has been very problematic and time-intensive for our research team. A written report will be submitted to Ms. Toyohara by June 30. Phase II will examine bail and pre-trial detention practices in Eastern Washington counties.
Mr. Fehr also shared with members of the Commission that Dr. Bridges received a lucrative offer from another university. Fortunately, we recently learned that Dr. Bridges has decided to remain at the University of Washington. Dr. Bridges is one of the top researchers in the country on criminal justice issues.
It was announced that our Co-Chairman Justice Charles Z. Smith has been selected 1997 Outstanding Judge of the Year by the King County Bar Association. Justice Smith will be honored at the King County Bar Association Annual Awards Dinner on Wednesday, June 25, 1997, 6:30 PM, Westin Hotel, Seattle. Everyone present at the meeting agreed that the award was a well deserved accolade to Justice Smith and his distinguished, selfless service to the Washington state judiciary, legal community and community at large. Commission members were urged to attend the awards dinner.
Tony Orange, Executive Director, Commission on African American Affairs, was introduced. Justice Smith invited Mr. Orange to become a Technical Support member. Mr. Orange accepted. Justice Smith assigned him to the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee.
Justice Smith adjourned the meeting at 4:30 PM.
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