Minority and Justice Commission
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
MINUTES OF MEETING
Doubletree Spokane Hotel
September 13, 2000
Justice Charles Z. Smith and Justice Charles W. Johnson, Co-Chairpersons, Presiding
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Justice Charles Z. Smith at 10:10 a.m.
Present at the meeting were Justice Charles Z. Smith, Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge Dennis D. Yule, Judge Richard A. Jones, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Judge M. Karlynn Haberly, Judge Mary I. Yu, Judge Douglas W. Luna, Ms. Pam L. Daniels, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Ms. Mary Alice Theiler, Manual Romero, Ms. Lorraine Lee, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Robert C. Boruchowitz, Ms. Madelyn Botta and Tony Orange.
Guests in attendance included Selwyn S. Walters, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; and Walter Atkinson, Conciliation Specialist, Community Relations Service, United States Department of Justice.
The minutes of the June 23, 2000 Commission meeting were approved subject to necessary editorial revision.
Report of Co-chairpersons
Justice Smith reported that the Commission has had no Executive Director since August 5, 2000, because of the resignation of Ms. Donna V. McConnell. A search committee, with the assistance of human resources, is in the process of finding a new Executive Director. The interim director is Ms. Mary Carol LaPalm. Justice Johnson noted that the cut-off date for applications for the Executive Director position is September 15, 2000.
As to budget status, Justice Charles W. Johnson, Finance Chairperson of the Commission, reported a projected shortfall even with the suspension of the Executive Director's salary taken into consideration. Through July 1, 2000, one-half of the allocated funds had been spent. After approval by the Executive Committee, a total of $20,000 has been reallocated to the Education sub-committee ($10,000 each from the Research and Workforce Diversity sub-committees.)
1999-2001 Biennium Budget Status Report
This agenda item was passed on because Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen had a prior commitment to attend the BJA meeting being held at the same time.
"When Bias Compounds: Insuring Equal Justice for Women of Color in the Courts"
Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, liaison to the Gender and Justice Commission, reminded everyone of the seminar, "When Bias Compounds: Insuring Equal Justice for Women of Color in the Courts" that was being held Friday, September 15, 2000, at the Spokane Doubletree.
Ms. Lorraine Lee, a Technical Support member of this Commission and a member of the Gender and Justice Commission, reported that Gender and Justice is involved in these projects: updating the 1997 domestic violence manual and working on a model state-wide anti-harassment policy.
Public Trust and Confidence Committee
Judge Deborah D. Fleck, liaison to the Public Trust and Confidence Committee, reported that its task was to increase public trust and confidence through public education with a focus on the judicial branch as well as volunteers from the public. Judge Fleck also mentioned using newspaper presentations, such as those in connection with juror appreciation week.
Reports from Sub-committees
Workforce Diversity Sub-committee
Judge Deborah D. Fleck, chairperson of the sub-committee, noted that the sub-committee was sponsoring the appearance of the Honorable Robert Benham, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, as keynote speaker at the judicial conference lunch on Thursday, September 14, 2000.
Judge Fleck reported that the workforce resource directory is now online at the Commission's web page. It was suggested that the directory be distributed to other agencies. The sub-committee is also working on a manual that gives information to judges regarding the importance of diversity in the workforce. On hold because of budget constraints is a project to be authored by Ms. Sheryl J. Willert, an attorney with Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, that will serve as a road map for taking necessary steps to improve diversity in the courts' work force. Judge Fleck is working with Seattle law schools to establish an externship program similar to Gonzaga University School of Law's program in Spokane County Superior Court. She is hoping for a target date of the first of the year 2001.
Judges Richard A. Jones and LeRoy McCullough reported on a future law and justice presentation in Yakima that would advise young persons of employment opportunities in the overall justice system. To be held around November 13, 2000, 100-150 junior high and high school kids are expected to attend. This presentation is similar to the aspiring youth project and involves talking and working with kids. It is not a job fair. Rather, the goal is to get kids thinking about the legal field, including being a lawyer, corrections officer, court reporter, or interpreter. Topics such as racial profiling and domestic violence also will be discussed since they may face them.
Judge Kenneth H. Kato, chairperson of the sub-committee, reported that there are presently no ongoing research projects.
In the absence of Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, chairperson of the sub-committee, no report was given.
Judge Ronald E. Cox, chairperson of the sub-committee, reported that it was planning its annual presentation at the judicial college, with perhaps additional time allocated for training on application of CrR 3.2. Judge Cox noted that a survey regarding attendance at past programs would be helpful in revision future programs.
Evaluation and Implementation Sub-committee
In the absence of Judge James M. Murphy, sub-committee chairperson, who had to attend the BJA meeting, Judge Fleck reported on the final draft of the proposed changes to CrR 3.2. The changes focus on the criteria in the rule for pretrial release determinations. A memorandum was distributed to members of the Commission that contained the proposed amendments in a final draft. Robert C. Boruchowitz, chairperson of the CrR 3.2 committee, stated that clarity in the rule was needed and changes should address Dr. Bridges' concerns and inadvertent consequences. Mr. Boruchowitz recommended endorsement of the proposed amendments. Judge Fleck advised that Judge Murphy strongly recommended approval of the amendments. After discussion and comment, the Commission approved the amendments in principle subject to review by the Executive Committee.
Judge Fleck reported nine (9) different projects, including the CrR 3.2 revision, on which the committee was working. Among those projects are a program at the judicial college on the application of CrR 3.2, other judicial programs, and court guidelines for setting bail.
Judge LeRoy McCullough reported that the jury commission was presently disbanded, but there was a recommendation to have courts do what they could to increase diversity in jury service with outreach efforts. Another issue is the statue prohibiting persons who cannot communicate in the English language from serving as jurors. The language barrier problem implicates cost and practical considerations, such as the use of interpreters. This may be a future project for the Research sub-committee.
Permission was given to use the logo of the Minority and Justice Commission showing women of color on the poster showcasing the seminar "When Bias Compounds: Insuring Equal Justice for Women of Color in the Courts".
The meeting was adjourned at 12 p.m.