Minority and Justice Commission
Washington State Minority and Justice Commission
Minutes of Commission Meeting
Law Offices of Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland
1201 Third Avenue
April 24, 1998 at 1:30 PM
Justice James M. Dolliver and Justice Charles Z. Smith, Co-Chairmen, Presiding
Call To Order
Report of Co-chairmen
National Consortium Meeting
Reports from Sub-committees
The meeting was called to order by Justice Charles Z. Smith at 1:35 o'clock in the afternoon in the conference room of Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland, Suite 3400, 1201 Third Avenue, Seattle.
Justice Smith introduced Jerry H. Kindinger, Managing Partner, Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland, who invited us to hold our meeting in their offices, and Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, an associate in the firm and a member of our Technical Support Group.
Justice Smith also introduced a visitor, Bernard C. Dean, Research Investigator, Sentencing Guidelines Commission.
Justice Smith acknowledged coverage of our meeting by TVW and introduced its technicians, Baraka Brown and Rob Demko.
Present at the meeting were: Justice James M. Dolliver, Justice Charles Z. Smith, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Judge Elaine Houghton, Judge C. C. Bridgewater, Judge David H. Armstrong, Judge Ron A. Mamiya, Ms. Lorraine Lee, Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen, Ms. Mary Alice Theiler, Ms. Kazzie Katayama, Robert C. Burochowitz, Judge Vicki J. Toyohara, Manuel Romero, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Brian A. Tsuchida and David J. Della.
Persons not attending (with excused absences) were: Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge James M. Murphy, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, Judge Richard A. Jones, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Monica J. Benton, Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Dean Donna Claxton Deming, Charles E. Siljeg, Judge Albert M. Raines, Ms. Madelyn Botta, Charles A. Jardine, Ms. Ada Ko, Judge William W. Baker, Judge Philip J. Thompson, Lonnie Davis, Ms. Barbara J. Selberg, Ms. Debora G. Juarez, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Judge James D. Cayce, Ms. Esther L. Patrick, Ms. Mary E. McKnew, Richard F. McDermott, Jr., Tony Orange, Ms. Terry Mark, and Judge Clifford L. "Kip" Stilz.
The minutes of the November 14, 1997 Commission meeting were presented and recommended by the Executive Committee for approval. A motion was made and carried to approve the minutes subject to any necessary editorial revision.
The minutes of the March 13, 1998 meeting of the Executive Committee were presented. A motion was made and carried to approve the minutes subject to any necessary editorial revision.
Justice James M. Dolliver made brief remarks and deferred further reporting to Justice Smith.
Justice Smith announced appointment of new members to the Technical Support Group: Judge C. C. Bridgewater, Court of Appeals, Division II; Judge David H. Armstrong, Court of Appeals, Division II; and Judge Clifford L. "Kip" Stilz, Jr., Thurston County District Court. Judge Bridgewater and Judge Armstrong are present and were welcomed to the meeting. Judge Stilz was unable to attend the meeting today because of a calendar conflict.
Justice Smith announced that one of our Commission members, King County Superior Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, has recently been appointed as Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, and will leave the Superior Court shortly. Judge Martinez has indicated an interest in continuing as a member of this Commission if his new responsibilities permit it.
Justice Smith acknowledged a letter of resignation from Judge Elaine Houghton, a member of the executive committee and chairperson of the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee. Her responsibilities as Chief Judge of Court of Appeals Division II do not allow the time necessary for active Commission participation. Her resignation is effective May 15, 1998, although she will continue as a member of the executive director search committee until a selection is made. Justice Smith expressed special appreciation to Judge Houghton for her dedication to the work of the Commission with her "many hats" of willing responsibility.
The executive committee will recommend to the Supreme Court that Judge Deborah D. Fleck, co-chairperson of the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee, be appointed to the Commission as a replacement for Judge Houghton. Judge Fleck would then transfer from the Technical Support Group, would assume responsibility as chairperson of the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee and become a member of the executive committee. Judge Fleck is in Ocean Shores attending the Superior Court Judges Association Spring Conference. She has indicated her willingness to assume these new responsibilities.
Judge Elaine Houghton, who is also chairperson of the "budget committee" of the Commission, reported on the current status of our budget which was allocated $155,375.00 for Fiscal Year 98 and, as of March 11, 1998, had an uncommitted balance of $120,983.00. A copy of the budget report is attached to the minutes of the executive committee.
Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen reported on additional information provided by her office at the request of the executive committee. That information clarifies expenditures made between August 1997 and February 28, 1998. The questions raised have been answered. A system is being developed to assure that fiscal reports will provide more detailed information than a mere summary.
The Washington State Supreme Court and its Minority and Justice Commission is hosting the Tenth Annual/Anniversary Meeting of the National Consortium of Task Forces and Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts at the Westin Hotel in Seattle on May 7, 8 and 9, 1998.
Our Commission designated a planning committee, chaired by Richard F. McDermott, Jr. and Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, to principally plan extracurricular activities for the meeting. Ms. Brenda A. Williams, Director of Associations, National Center for State Courts, has assumed primary responsibility for contracts and facilities at the Westin Hotel. José E. Gaitán is serving as "finance chairperson" to obtain funding from outside sources. The National Consortium operates without budget and without staff. Our Commission is spending no funds for the Consortium activity. Most participants in the Consortium attend at their own expense, although expenses for some are covered by their task forces or commissions.
Neither Mr. McDermott nor Ms. Contreras were able to attend the meeting today, but they report a successful planned activity. Other members of the planning committee are Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge William W. Baker, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Judge Elaine Houghton, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge Vicki J. Toyohara, Dean Donna Claxton Deming, Ms. Kazzie Katayama, Ms. Ada Ko and José E. Gaitán. A copy of the April 1998 issue of the National Consortium Monitor which provides fairly detailed information concerning the Consortium meeting is in the information packet provided our members for this meeting.
Justice Smith announced that, because of uncertainty of funding for the Consortium, we will be charging a nominal sum for meal functions--$10.00 per person for luncheons and $40.00 per person for the anniversary dinner. There is no registration fee for the Consortium meeting. Notebooks, prepared by the National Center for State Courts, will be presented to each person attending.
In addition to the speakers and the panels (see National Consortium Monitor), we expect to have greetings from Governor Gary Locke, King County Executive Ron Sims, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell and Seattle City Council President Sue Donaldson.
At the Anniversary Dinner on Saturday evening, May 9, the speaker will be the Honorable Takayo Rose M. Ochi, Director of the Community Relations Service, United States Department of Justice. "Founders Awards of Merit" will be presented to the eight founders of the Consortium (from New Jersey, Michigan, New York and Washington). A special award , "Moderator's Award El Cielo," will be presented posthumously to Judge Benjamin Aranda, III, who died on January 28, 1998. Judge Aranda was chairperson of the California Standing Committee on Access and Fairness.
Members of this Commission are encouraged to register for and attend the Consortium meeting at the Westin Hotel. They are particularly invited to attend the welcoming reception on Thursday evening, May 7.
Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, chairperson, was unable to attend this meeting because she is sitting as a judge pro tempore in the Yakima County Superior Court. Justice Smith reported that this sub-committee had some responsibility in obtaining sponsors for the welcoming reception for the Consortium. Joining the Supreme Court and the Commission are the Washington Court of Appeals, the Superior Court Judges Association, the District and Municipal Judges Association, and the Northwest Tribal Court Judges Association; Gonzaga University Law School, Seattle University Law School, and the University of Washington Law School; the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Washington Hispanic Bar Association, the Asian Bar Association, the Korean-American Bar Association, the Northwest Indian Bar Association, the Minority Bar Association of Tacoma, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and the Filipino-American Legal Association; Washington Women Lawyers, Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, and Washington State Defense Lawyers Association.
Judge Ronald E. Cox reported that the Education Sub-committee participated with the Education Department of the Administrator for the Courts in presenting a cultural awareness program at the Judicial College at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel on January 29, 1998. One of the deans for the college was Judge Richard A. Jones, a member of this Commission. Judge Cox indicated the sub-committee is exploring a process for evaluating past programs and future programs.
In the absence of Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Justice Smith reported that the principal activity of the Research Sub-committee has been publication of the study by Dr. George S. Bridges and his team, A Study on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Superior Court Bail and Pre-Trial Detention Practices in Washington, which was formally announced at the press conference on November 14, 1997 and presented at our Commission meeting on that date. Justice Smith stated the report has generated considerable critical attention. Dr. Bridges has met with King County Superior Court judges and recently provided a written response to a critical analysis of the report by Judge Deborah D. Fleck, a member of this Commission.
Work Force Diversity Sub-committee
Judge Houghton reported on the successful panel presentation at the Superior Court Judges Spring Conference in Ocean Shores on April 22, 1998. The program was sponsored by the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee, in cooperation with the Education Department of the Administrator for the Courts. Referred to as a "nuts and bolts of employment law" seminar, it was presented by three employment law attorneys: Ms. Sheryl J. Willert, a partner in Williams, Kastner and Gibbs; and Ms. Mary I. Yu and Ms. Karen A. Pool Norby, both from the Office of the King County Prosecuting Attorney. Judge Houghton, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen and Justice Smith attended the program. It was the consensus of judges, court administrators and juvenile court administrators in attendance that this was "the best" program of its kind in their experience. Many expressed the hope there will be a follow-up with another program in the same subject area. Judge Houghton also indicated the Work Force Diversity Sub-committee is covering the contract cost of $1,400.00 for reproduction of the seminar on videotape and CD-ROM. These materials will be made available through the Administrator for the Courts.
Executive Director Search Committee
In the absence of Judge Kenneth H. Kato, chairperson of the executive director search committee, Judge Houghton and Ms. McQueen indicated the committee is moving ahead with its objective to have all applications completed by April 24, 1998. They are being assembled by Ms. Mary Carol LaPalm, Human Resources Director, for submission to the committee chairperson. The committee will then follow through on a process for interviews, evaluation and recommendation of the top three candidates to the executive committee of the Commission. Justice Smith indicated that he would not be involved in the search process until the committee makes its recommendations to the executive committee.
Evaluation and Implementation Committee
At the November 14, 1997 Commission meeting when the Bridges bail-release study was presented, Judge James M. Murphy suggested the Commission should establish a committee to review and evaluate research and make recommendations for implementation. The consensus was that this was a good idea.
Justice Dolliver and Justice Smith have established a committee to be known as the Evaluation and Implementation Committee, and appointing Judge James M. Murphy as chairperson. Appointed as members of the committee are Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Richard A. Jones, Judge C. C. Bridgewater and Robert C. Boruchowitz. With the exception of Judge Murphy, all have indicated a willingness to serve. It is reasonably expected that Judge Murphy will express a willingness to serve as chairperson.
Justice Dolliver suggested a time line for the committee's first report. It was agreed that ninety days would be a fair period. Justice Smith indicated he would send to the chairperson and members of the committee a copy of Judge Fleck's critique of the Bridges report and a copy of Dr. Bridges' response. The committee will be asked to make a full presentation for the next quarterly meeting of the Commission (the date for which has not yet been determined).
The meeting of the Commission was adjourned at 3:00 o'clock and our members assembled for the reception.
A reception was hosted by Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland. We had an opportunity to meet with our hosts, Jerry H. Kindinger and Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, and other members of their firm. The firm provided a food buffet for the Commission.