Minority and Justice Commission
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
MINUTES OF MEETING
Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe
6100 Bank of America Center
701 Fifth Avenue
Friday, March 9, 2001
Justice Charles Z. Smith, Co-Chairperson, Presiding
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Justice Charles Z. Smith at 3:10 p.m. and attendees identified themselves.
Present at the meeting were Justice Charles Z. Smith, Judge William W. Baker, Judge Ronald E. Cox, Judge Anne L. Ellington, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Judge Philip J. Thompson (retired), Judge Anne Levinson, Judge Douglas W. Luna, Ms. Pam L. Daniels, David J. Della, Ms. Denise C. Marti, Kenneth E. Payson, Manuel Romero, Brian Tsuchida, and Ms. Erica S. Chung. Also, in attendance were young Ms. Mercedes Luna, daughter of Judge Luna, Ms. Mary Marti, Spanish language interpreter and mother of Ms. Denise Marti, and Ms. Margette K. Baptist and Ms. Kofi N. Edmondson, Justice Smith's law clerks.
Persons not in attendance with excused absences were Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge James M. Murphy, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen, Judge Monica J. Benton, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Judge Ron A. Mamiya, Dean Donna Claxton Deming, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Guadalupe Gamboa, Ms. Kazzie Katayama, Ms. Mary Alice Theiler, Judge Sergio Armijo, Judge James D. Cayce, Judge Patricia Hall Clark, Judge M. Karlynn Haberly, Judge Richard F. McDermott, Judge Mary I. Yu, Judge Dennis D. Yule, Judge Albert M. Raines, Judge Vicki J. Toyohara, Jeffrey A, Beaver, Robert C. Boruchowitz, Ms. Madelyn Botta, Dr. George S. Bridges, Lonnie Davis, Larry M. Fehr, José E. Gaitán, Charles A. Jardine, Ms. Ada Ko, Ms. Leana D. Lamb, Ms. Lorraine Lee, Ms. Terry Mark, Ms. Mary Elizabeth McKnew, Tony Orange, José J. Quintana, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, Judge Richard A. Jones, Ms. Esther L. Patrick, and Ms. Barbara J. Selberg.
Justice Smith expressed appreciation to Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe and to Kenneth E. Payson for inviting us to hold our Commission meetings at their law offices. Justice Smith gave special congratulation to David J. Della on his recent engagement to Ms. Odette Politan, an attorney.
Justice Smith announced that the minutes of the December 8, 2000, Commission meeting had been approved at the Executive Committee meeting held earlier in the day.
Report of Co-chairperson
Justice Smith introduced the new Executive Director, Ms. Erica S. Chung. Justice Smith stated that he was impressed with Ms. Chung for reporting to work on March 1, 2001, the day after the earthquake, although the Temple of Justice was closed. She reported to Ms. LaPalm and worked her first day on Commission business.
Justice Smith reported that Justice Johnson and he, as Co-Chairpersons of the Commission, had constituted themselves as the Executive Director Search Committee with the assistance of Ms. Mary Carol LaPalm, the interim Executive Director, whose regular ongoing commitment is that of Employee Services Manager with the Office of the Administrator for the Courts (OAC). Justice Smith stated that Ms. LaPalm did an outstanding job in developing the recruitment process, which resulted in approximately twenty-six applications being submitted. The applicants were narrowed down to six for a written exam, then further narrowed for an oral interview. Justice Smith and Justice Johnson identified Ms. Erica S. Chung as clearly the most impressive and outstanding candidate from the standpoint of background, references, responses in the course of the interview, and writing samples. Justice Smith pointed out that Ms. Chung's resume is included in the meeting packet and that she is present at the meeting in her capacity for the first time as Executive Director.
Ms. Chung expressed appreciation for the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director. She also stated that she hoped she could rise to Justice Smith's expectations as well as the Commission's expectations and is looking forward to all the wonderful work the Commission will be doing.
Justice Smith reported that Justice Johnson has a medical appointment and is unable to attend the Commission meeting. Judge Fleck was at the Executive Committee meeting, but she too had another appointment and had asked Jeffrey C. Sullivan to report for the Workforce Diversity Sub-Committee.
Report of Sub-Committees
Workforce Diversity Sub-Committee
In the absence of the Sub-Committee Chairperson, Jeffrey C. Sullivan gave a report. He stated that the Sub-Committee had convened by conference call on February 14 to discuss the status of the externship program and the diversity manual. The externship project, modeled after the cooperative project between Gonzaga University and the Spokane Superior Court, is moving at a slower pace than first anticipated. The delay is attributed to the Universities' desire for a more structured externship program, requiring a formal application process and giving students credit. Judge Yu and Judge Fleck have made contact with the University of Washington and Seattle University and are working towards establishing externship programs. Judge Fleck had met with Professor Betsy Hollingsworth of Seattle University to develop a job description. The goal of the Sub-Committee is to have the externship in place by fall of 2001. As background for the purpose of the project, Mr. Sullivan reminded everyone that, historically people who work in a courthouse tend to receive permanent and higher-level jobs in a courthouse. Hence, if minority students were placed in jobs in the courthouses, the diversity of the court staff (workforce) would increase and expand. The current thought is to start the externship program in King County, then expand gradually to other areas.
Marketing of the externship program was also discussed during the telephone conference call. The Sub-Committee members acknowledged that a presentation to students and other potentially interested parties would be a good marketing tool. The sub-committee discussed involving students and faculty, judges, prosecutors, defenders and others who have served as either bailiffs or externs in the Spokane Superior Court.
Another project the Sub-Committee has been working on is a manual for distribution throughout the state at all levels of the judicial system and would be available at human resource departments and clerks' offices. The proposed manual would provide fundamentals on how to legally increase diversity in the workforce. The purpose of the project is to assist judges, who may not have a background in human relations law, to increase diversity in their courts. The Sub-Committee is hoping to contract with Ms. Sheryl Willert, an expert in employment law. Mr. Sullivan stated that Judge Yu has agreed to follow up with Ms. Willert in reconfirming her interest in the project and to assist Ms. Willert in writing the necessary specifications for a sole source contract.
Judge Smith stated that the Executive Committee reaffirmed its support for the project this morning and is awaiting submission of a formal proposal. He advised submitting the proposal to Justice Johnson for review, who in turn will forward it to OAC for processing. Justice Smith indicated that funds are currently available in the Workforce Diversity Sub-Committee budget. In the event Ms. Willert is available, but her costs exceed current allocation in the Workforce Diversity Sub-Committee's budget, Justice Smith suggested reallocating funds from other Sub-Committees.
Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Sub-Committee Chairperson, was unable to attend the meeting. Therefore, no report was given.
Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Sub-Committee Chairperson, was unable to attend the meeting. Therefore, no report was given.
Evaluation and Implementation Sub-Committee
Judge James M. Murphy, Sub-Committee Chairperson, was unable to attend the meeting. Therefore, no report was given.
Judge Ronald E. Cox, Sub-Committee Chairperson, stated he had three items to report. First, the present status of the Commission program of presenting cultural diversity programs to the Judicial College. The college advised the Commission last fall that it did not wish us to make our traditional presentation in January because of a change in philosophy on the most appropriate instructors for the college. The college is of the view that judges should be teaching other judges and new judges. Our professional presenters, Achievement Architects North, met with the deans of the college on numerous occasions and modified the program for January 2001. The modification consists of using judges of color and other participants in the legal system as part of the presentation, a format similar to last year's joint presentation by the Minority and Justice Commission and the Gender and Justice Commission. Judge Dean Lum and Judge Patricia Hall Clark of the King County Superior Court spoke of their personal experiences as judges of color. The modified presentation was well received by Yakima County Superior Court, attendees at the Judicial College. This was confirmed by their immediate reaction at the January session and reconfirmed by their written critiques. Judge Susan Hahn, who is on the Court Education Committee, was present and was very complimentary of our presentation. After the January session, Judge Cox indicated he was invited to meet with the deans of the judicial college, to talk in detail about ways our Commission might consider modifying our presentation. Judge Cox indicated he is working closely with Judge Lisa Worswick, one of the Co-Deans, to ensure greater communication and coordination. Judge Cox announced he is confident Judge Worswick and he will be able to work together to make appropriate adjustments in the program to meet the needs of the judicial college. This does not mean that Judge Cox agrees with the Deans of the Judicial College that the particular subject matter can only be presented by judges.
Second, Judge Cox stated that a professional survey of past participants in the Judicial College had been conducted in an effort to assist in future modifications to the program. This project was assigned a low priority because of the controversy surrounding the program. However, as the Commission is in process of amending its relationship with the Judicial College, the Sub-Committee will place this project on the forefront and will report on future modifications to the program.
Third, Judge Cox reported on a positive development from the joint presentation between the Minority and Justice Commission and the Gender and Justice Commission which involved Achievement Architects North, "When Bias Compounds: Insuring Equal Justice for Women of Color in the Courts". The joint presentation was designed to raise awareness of all judges to problems and issues confronting women judges of color and women participants in the judicial process. Judge Cox informed the Commission that Chief Justice Robert Benham of the Georgia Supreme Court and a speaker at Conference 2000 arranged to have a similar program presented in Georgia.
Justice Smith announced that the National Consortium of Task Forces and Commission on Racial and Ethnic Biases in the Courts is scheduled to meet in Orlando, Florida, on May 10, 11, and 12, 2001. The Commission has always participated in the National Consortium; hence, Ms. Chung will be attending as the Commission's representative at Commission expense. Justice Smith will be attending at his own expense. The Executive Committee also approved expenses for Chairpersons of Sub-Committees interested in attending the National Consortium meeting.
Justice Smith stated that Florida Supreme Court was one of the first to establish a Commission, but dissolved after completing its initial work. Therefore, the Florida Supreme Court inviting the National Consortium may indicate that they have reconstituted their Commission or are still interested in the process. Justice Smith indicated that he was born in the State of Florida and is aquatinted with five of the seven Justices. Hence, he has high respect for the Supreme Court of Florida.
Justice Smith stated that the budget had been approved by the Executive Committee earlier in the day. A comprehensive budget status summary is available in the packet.
Commission Meeting Schedule
Justice Smith indicated that, at the Executive Committee meeting, a suggestion was made to change future Commission meeting time in addition to scheduling meeting dates in advance. The suggested change was that the Executive Committee would meet at 9:00 a.m. and the full Commission would meet at 10:30 a.m. A straw poll taken strongly supported the change in time for the full Commission meeting from 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Open Agenda Meeting
Justice Smith announced that the Open Agenda Meeting two years ago was very successful and that the Commission voted to hold an open agenda meeting once each year. Unfortunately, a year has passed without conducting an Open Agenda Meeting. Therefore, the Commission is in process of planning another Open Agenda meeting at Seattle University, hopefully when students are available to attend. The Executive Committee had discussed tentative meeting dates of May 25, June 1, 8, 15, or 22, 2001. Ms. Chung will forward information regarding the date, times and program as it is confirmed.
Brian Tsuchida made a suggestion that the Commission consider reviewing issues surrounding the 2000 Census, "What the Census Might Mean?" and contemplate adopting it as a potential project. Mr. Tsuchida stated that the Census is a powerful tool and may be very revealing about diversity issues. Justice Smith indicated the matter would be referred to Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Research Sub-Committee Chairperson, regarding the Census project to determine whether the Research Sub-Committee might be interested in a research project on the issue.
Native American Policy Change by the State of Alaska
Judge Douglas W. Luna advised the Commission concerning the change in philosophy by the State of Alaska concerning Native Americans. Alaska currently recognizes three Native American tribes. This means that the way governmental services are provided to Native Americans in Alaska will most likely change as well. Judge Luna warned that many Commission members might receive calls regarding this issue.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.