Minority and Justice Commission
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
MINUTES OF MEETING
One Union Square Boardroom
December 8, 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 1:35 p.m.
Present at the meeting were Justice Charles Z. Smith, Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Philip J. Thompson, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Ms. Mary Alice Theiler, Ms. Madelyn Botta, Brian A. Tsuchida, José E. Gaitán, Kenneth E. Payson, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, José J. Quintana, Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Manuel Romero, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, and Ms. Lorraine Lee.
Justice Charles Z. Smith announced the minutes of the September 13, 2000 Commission had been approved at the Minority and Justice Commission Executive Committee meeting held on Friday, December 1, 2000. Ms. Myrna I. Contreras made a motion to approve the minutes on behalf of the Commission. Jeffrey C. Sullivan seconded the motion. The vote of acceptance was unanimous.
Report of Co-chairpersons
Justice Smith reported that notice of the December 8, 2000 Commission meeting had been delayed due to a problem with accessing suitable meeting space in the Union Square facility. Justice Smith apologized for the lateness of the notice and indicated the meeting notice for the next Commission meeting would be timely. Justice Smith also requested that perhaps one of the Commission members could provide meeting space for the next meeting. Kenneth E. Payson from the Law Offices of Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe volunteered a meeting space for the March 2001 Commission meeting.
Justice Johnson stated that Court Rule 3.2 was complete and that the Supreme Court Rules Committee decided to send it out for further comment. José Gaitán asked if the rules committee had adopted rules regarding the elimination of racial or sexual remarks. Justice Johnson said there were no suggestions to further what is already included within the American Bar Association (ABA) rules.
Yakima Youth Law Conference
The newspaper article from the November 14, 2000 Yakima Herald-Republic was distributed and discussed. The article featured the Yakima Youth Conference sponsored by the Minority and Justice Commission, the Washington Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, the University of Washington Law School and the Yakima and Seattle police departments. Commission members Judge Richard A. Jones and Judge LeRoy McCullough participated in the one-day seminar which drew 112 participants from area middle and high schools.
Justice Smith stated he would make a request to Judge Jones and Judge McCullough to work in the future with Ms. Myrna Contreras who is chairperson of the Outreach Sub-committee.
Workforce Diversity Sub-committee
Sub-committee chair, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, acknowledged Judge Richard A. Jones and Judge LeRoy McCullough for their joint participation in the Yakima Youth Law Conference. Judge Fleck reported the presentations were wonderful and the conference was very successful. She also mentioned discussion of future plans to take the program forward on a regional level.
Judge Fleck shared with the Commission that she had also received excellent feedback regarding Chief Justice Robert Benham's presentation at Celebration 2000 in Spokane, Washington held on September 13-15, 2000.
Judge Fleck referenced an Externship Program involving King County Superior Court Judges accepting externs. In reality there may be only six students available for the program. Judge Dean S. Lum would be following up with Seattle University next quarter regarding the program as another form of recruitment for students.
Judge Fleck also gave an update on the Sub-committee project regarding the institutionalization of processes for recruitment and retention. The project work will result in a roadmap for recruitment and retention and would establish a procedure manual for each court to follow to meet that end. When the sole source contract issues are resolved the sub-committee can begin work on this project.
Justice Smith reported that at the December 1, 2000 Executive Committee meeting he asked Justice Johnson to oversee implementation of the sole source contract recommended by Judge Fleck.
Sub-committee chair, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, was unable to attend the Commission meeting. Therefore no report was given for the Research Sub-committee.
Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, sub-committee chair, reported on the concerns and issues regarding race profiling. She informed the Commission that the City of Yakima had hired Mr. Joe Falk to study the potential for disparate acts by the Yakima police department. The investigation is to take approximately four to five weeks with a report expected in mid-January. Ms. Contreras inquired whether the Commission would want to be involved in a discussion of the report results. Justice Smith stated he would refer the request to the Commission Executive Committee.
A general discussion among Commission members regarding the issue of racial profiling followed. Justice Smith asked Ms. Contreras to keep the Commission informed. He then advised that the Executive Committee would discuss how the Commission would be involved and at what level.
Ms. Contreras thanked the Commission for the input and discussion. She also reported that the Outreach Sub-committee continues to work on the newsletter.
Evaluation and Implementation Sub-committee
Sub-committee chair, Judge James M. Murphy, was unable to attend the Commission meeting. Therefore no report was given for the Evaluation and Implementation Sub-committee.
Judge Ronald E. Cox, Sub-committee chair, reported on the Judicial College program indicating that the deans of the college had considered eliminating the Diversity curriculum. Judge Cox then thanked Judge Fleck for her efforts in having the deans reevaluate the diversity education methodologies used at the annual Judicial College.
Ms. Madelyn Botta questioned the reasoning behind excluding the Diversity Education programs sponsored by the Minority and Justice Commission from the Judicial College curriculum. Judge Cox offered the consideration of using teaching judges versus subject matter experts as consultants for the Diversity Education programs. It was the general consensus of the group that the issue would be resolved before the 2001 Judicial College. Justice Smith stated the Minority and Justice Commission was ready, willing and able to provide consultants, but otherwise it would lose its identity if the Commission were absorbed into someone else's process.
Justice Smith asked Ms. Lourdes Fuentes to report on the Gender and Justice Program "When Bias Compounds" held on September 15, 2000 as part of Celebration 2000. Ms. Fuentes reported there were 200 participants in the program that included story sharing, role-playing and various breakout sessions. She also reported that the evaluations of the program were incredibly positive and included several valuable suggestions. Program presenters, Ms. Benita Horn and Ms Peggy Nagae, will be making the same presentation to the Georgia State Judiciary.
Manuel Romero, Commission technical support member, provided a pamphlet published by the Washington State Liquor Control Board and asked that the commission members spread the word to reduce underage drinking asking that judges and attorneys get actively involved in the cause.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.