Minority and Justice Commission
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
MINUTES OF COMMISSION MEETING
Arctic Building Conference Room
700 Third Avenue, Room 1003, Seattle, Washington
October 3, 2003 @ 10:30 AM
Justice Charles Z. Smith, Co-Chairperson, Presiding
Call to order
The meeting was called to order by Justice Charles Z. Smith at 10:30 A.M.
Present at the meeting were Justice Charles Z. Smith (Retired), Robert C. Boruchowitz, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge Douglas W. Luna, Judge Ron A. Mamiya, Ms. Denise C. Marti, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Ms. Rosa M. Melendez, Judge James M. Murphy, Kenneth E. Payson, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, Judge Greg D. Sypolt, and Judge Philip J. Thompson (Retired).
Persons not in attendance with excused absences were Justice Charles W. Johnson, Judge William W. Baker, Jeffrey A. Beaver, Judge Monica J. Benton, Dean George S. Bridges, Ph.D., Lonnie Davis, Dean Donna Claxton Deming, Judge Anne L. Ellington, Larry M. Fehr, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, José E. Gaitán, Ms. Bonnie Glenn, Guadalupe Gamboa, Charles A. Jardine, Judge Richard A. Jones, Michael J. Killian, Ms. Amalia Maestas, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, Judge Richard F. McDermott, Jr., Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen, Mr. Tony Orange, Ms. Esther L. Patrick, Judge Albert M. Raines, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Judge Vicki J. Toyohara, and Judge Mary Alice Theiler.
Justice Charles Z. Smith thanked Ms. Jacque Larrainzar, with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights, for permitting the use of the city building for the Commission Meeting.
Justice Smith reported that the meeting minutes of the March 14, 2003 Executive Committee and Commission meetings, held at Pioneer Human Services, located at the Starbucks Corporate Building, were approved during the Executive Committee meeting subject to any necessary editorial revisions.
Report of Co-Chairperson
2003 Annual Report
Justice Charles Z. Smithstated that the layout of 2002 Annual Report was less than satisfactory; however, it was publishedto utilize thefunds from the last biennium, by June 30, 2003. He stated that hewilloversee the production of the 2003 Annual Report and is appointing himself thechairpersonofthe2003Annual Report Committee. He suggested that each sub-committee chairperson submit a report in December for the report. He also stated that if it helps the chairpersons, they maysubmit a quarterly report starting March 2004, which does not have to be an activity report but could be an article relating to their sub-committee.
Justice Charles Z. Smith announced that he will seek permission fromRoberto Maestas, founder and executive director ofEl Centrode La Raza,to use its mural, anAlejandro Canales-inspired mural, for the next (2003) annual report cover. The mural conveys clearly and colorfully the concept of inclusiveness and diversity.
The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts
Justice Charles Z. Smith reported that the2004National Consortium meetingis scheduled forApril 14-18, 2004 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. The daily rate of the hotel isapproximately$171per night. Hence, the average cost per person to attend the conference, includingairfare, meals, registration will beapproximately $1900.He statedthat he andJustice Charles W. Johnson will determine whether it is financially feasible to send sub-committee chairpersons to the2004National Consortium meetingand will report back at the next Commission meeting.
Justice Charles Z. Smith stated that included in the commission meeting packet are two sheets showing the current budget allocation for administration and for the five sub-committees. Ms. Erica S. Chungexplained that allocation amounts are based on her understanding of program works anticipated by each sub-committee and the potential amount of funding needed to accomplish these work; hence sub-committee budget allocation may change as each sub-committees develop and solidify their projects for the 2003-2005 biennium.
Commission Vacancies and Replacements
Justice Charles Z. Smith announced that several Commission members have opted to step down from the Commission at the end of their term, slated to expire on December 31, 2003, Judge Anne L. Ellington, Guadalupe Gamboa, and Judge Monica J. Benton. Judge Benton, however, has agreed to continue as a Technical Support member. A recommendation will be made to the Supreme Court to fill the three vacancies on the Commission with Kenneth Payson, Judge Greg Sypolt and Judge Dennis Yule from the Technical Support Group.
Technical Support: Development of Talent Pool
Justice Charles Z. Smith announced that Justice Johnson and he will ask the Supreme Court to extend the terms of the Technical Support group from one year to two years in 2005 at the same time as the Commission requests an Order of Renewal extending the Commission for addition five years to 2010.
Justice Smith requested submission of names as potential candidates for the Technical Support Group be submitted to Ms. Chung, who will compile a list for future considerations.
Justice Charles Z. Smith reported that recently, participation in sub-committees has been less than stellar. Hence,Ms Chung has developed a survey form to determine member’s interest in serving on particular sub-committees. It asks members to rank the sub-committees in order of interest. The Co-chairpersons of the Commissionwill try to accommodate the interests of the members andmake sub-committee assignments as appropriate.
Justice Smith stated that Judge LeRoy McCullough has agreed to take Judge Monica Benton’s position as chairperson of the Education Sub-committee.
The next commission meeting tentatively scheduled for January 30, 2004 will contain a public forum following the Commission meeting. Members of the community will be invited to speak to the Commission about relevant concerns. A transcriber or video or audio recording will be utilized to document the hearing. It was agreed that the Executive Committee and Commission meetings will be held in the afternoon so that the public forum, which is tentatively scheduled between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., is accessible by the public. A recommendation was made to consider holding public forums outside of Seattle as well. The Commission will consider the recommendation.
Next Commission Meeting
The next Commission meeting has been tentatively scheduled for January 30, 2004 and will be held in the afternoon to accommodate the public forum.
Report of Sub-committees
Judge LeRoy McCullough, as the newly appointed chairperson of the Education Sub-committee, stated that he will continue with the projects currently under way, which include the completion of the online cultural competency program for new court employees in cooperation with the Administrative Office of the Courts, annotated bibliography, judicial college, and will discuss at the next sub-committee meeting additional projects. .
Evaluation and Implementation
Robert C. Boruchowitz, a member of the Evaluation and Implementation sub-committee, gave a report on behalf of Judge James M. Murphy, Chairperson of the Sub-committee, who had to leave early. Mr. Boruchowitz reported that an Order re Release of Accused has been developed with requirements of recently revised CrR and CrRLJ 3.2. The Order will be modified to emulate the Pattern Forms requirement before being submitted to the Supreme Court for approval or conducting a field experiment testing its effectiveness. The sub-committee has considered the development of bail guidelines. At the next sub-committee meeting, it will decide whether to endorse Judge Finkle’s recommendation to decline to adopt a recommended bail schedule. It will also create a project that will gauge whether the Recruitment and Retention Manual is being used effectively.
Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Co-chairperson of the Outreach Sub-committee, reported that the sub-committee established two goals. The first goal is to publish four newsletters per year. The second goal is to establish eight themes for the biennium:
Newsletter on Law, Media and Diversity
Solicit from editors of major newspapers their policy in reporting persons of color. In law, reporting of crimes committed
Newsletter on attorneys representing immigrant or immigrant issues, including a report on the Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride to D.C. in October 2003
Newsletter on the jury process and how it relates to persons of color—how are people registered; are people of color excluded form the jury pool; is language a barrier to jury service; past juror and person of color perspective
Newsletter covering 2004 National Consortium
Newsletter on service received by hearing impaired and monolingual persons: the quality of interpreters and accuracy.
Judge Phillip Thompson stated that he attended the 2003 National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, held at Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, as a representative of the Outreach Sub-committee and gave a brief presentation of his observations (see attachment).
Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Chairperson of the Research Sub-committee, reported that the sub-committee will refocus its activities for the coming year. It will move away from the 3.2 focus to empirical studies. He will contact social scientists from Washington State University and professors from the Seattle University of Law for potential research topics. In the next few months, the sub-committee will increase its membership by recruiting more members. Currently, its membership consists of two people, including the chairperson.
Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Chairperson of the Workforce Diversity Sub-committee, reported that the sub-committee will work to institutionalize and expand the externship program between King County Superior Court and local law schools, with Ken Payson and Lourdes Fuentes acting as co-chairpersons of this project. The next Youth and Justice Forums will take place in the Tri-Cities on March 5, 2004 and in Spokane March 26, 2004. Judge LeRoy McCullough, for his work on the Youth and Justice Forums, received the Washington Judge’s Foundation Annual Award at the 2003 Fall Judicial Conference in Tacoma, Washington. A recommendation was made to expand the program into Skagit Valley, Moses Lake and Vancouver. The sub-committee will continue with its commitment to have a speaker of national stature to provide an inspiring speech at the Fall Judicial Conference on even-numbered years The Sub-committee will also update the Workforce Diversity Resource Directory, last revised electronically in 1999 to complement the “Building a Diverse Court: A Guide to Recruitment and Retention” published in 2002.
Access to Justice Technology Bill of Rights
Judge Donald J. Horowitz gave a brief presentation on the Access to Justice Technology Bill of Rights (ATJ-TBoR), whose goal is to create a body of enforceable fundamental principles to ensure that current and future technology both increases opportunities and eliminates barriers to access to and effective utilization of the justice system, thereby improving the quality of justice for all person in Washington State. Then he made a request for an endorsement by the Commission. After a brief discussion an endorsement was given unanimously. To view the complete document of the ATJ Technology Bill of Rights, visit the organization’s website located at: www.atjtechbillofrights.org.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Report on 2003 National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Bias
Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan
Judge Philip J. Thompson
On April 9th through 12th I attended the 15th Annual meeting of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. The conference was held at the Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit.
My reason for attending, aside from my personal interest in the subject matter of the conference, was to take inventory of topics and current issues that might be of interest to our own Commission.
I found the conference and the various programs offered, workshops, speakers and presenters to be very impressive.
The role Justice Smith has played in developing the Consortium and Minority and Justice programs throughout the country was highlighted in an award presentation made by the Honorable Patricio Serna. Judge Serna was effusive in his glowing tribute to Justice Smith and to a great degree credited him for the success enjoyed by the consortium.
There were plenary sessions planned for all attendees and multiple breakout sessions too numerous to attend. It became necessary to prioritize and pick the sessions of greatest interest.
As is always the case with such conferences, some presenters, topics, outlines, and handouts were better than others. The conference was very well planned. The subject matter was not only timely but in some cases still hot off the presses as with the University of Michigan issues.
Here in Washington we seem to suffer from the same problems as other states. To one degree or another we have been addressing those problems. I'm referring to matters such as racial profiling, drug courts, prosecutorial discretion and disparate treatment, the need for qualified interpreters and diversity in the legal profession.
Much still needs to be done regarding such issues as minority jury representation, racial and ethnic issues relating to domestic violence, minorities and indigent defense, immigration and juvenile justice.
There were sessions on Homeland security and the impact of 9/11 and a plenary session of great interest on the Constitution and Law School Admissions. The lawyers and participants in the University of Michigan Supreme Court case made presentations and synopsized their arguments. I was impressed with the restraint shown by attendees when some arguments and statements seemed outrageous. But professionalism had its way and the arguments were received politely without rancor.
For example, the room was full of highly successful professionals that had received a boost up the educational ladder and were assailed by an argument that showing racial preference in admissions resulted in placing unqualified students in a "sure to fail" situation that was a grave disservice to them. Rebuttal seemed to take care of the matter to the satisfaction of most attendees.
Of the luncheon and dinner speakers I believe I was most impressed by the Mayor of Detroit. A very young man, he exhibited wisdom and charisma beyond his years. He mesmerized the attendees with his genuine warmth, humor, and a depth of perception for people and problems that should prove very beneficial to his constituents. He outlined the city problems and his efforts to solve them. The general comments I heard would indicate he probably won't be in Detroit for long but is well on his way up the ladder toward national political success.
The conference was given grants by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, The National Center for State Courts and the Whirlpool Corporation.
The handout material was extremely comprehensive and included summaries from each State participating as a member of the consortium, the consortium history and outlines for each plenary and breakout session. I concluded that the State of Washington and the Washington Minority and Justice Commission is on the cutting edge when it comes to current minority and justice issues. But there is a lot we can learn from the experience of other States and much of the data and information collected in other jurisdictions is equally applicable in Washington.