Minority and Justice Commission
WASHINGTON STATE MINORITY AND JUSTICE COMMISSION
MINUTES OF COMMISSION MEETING
401 Second Avenue South
January 30, 2004 @ 10:30 AM
Justice Charles W. Johnson and Justice Charles Z. Smith, Co-Chairpersons 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 W. Johnson, Justice Charles Z. Smith (Retired), Robert C. Boruchowitz, Ms. Myrna I. Contreras, Lonnie Davis, Dean Donna Claxton Deming, Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Ms. Bonnie Glenn, Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Judge Douglas W. Luna, Ms. Amalia Maestas, Judge Ron A. Mamiya, Ms. Denise C. Marti, Judge LeRoy McCullough, Judge James M. Murphy, Tony Orange, Kenneth E. Payson, Ms. P. Diane Schneider, Jeffrey C. Sullivan, Judge Greg D. Sypolt, Judge Mary Alice Theiler, Judge Philip J. Thompson (Retired), Brian A. Tsuchida, Judge Dennis D. Yule and Ms. Erica S. Chung.
Persons not in attendance with excused absences were Jeffrey A. Beaver, Judge Monica J. Benton, Dean George S. Bridges, Ph.D., Judge Ronald E. Cox, Larry M. Fehr, Ms. Lourdes Fuentes, Judge Donald J. Horowitz (Retired), Ms. Yemi Fleming Jackson, Charles A. Jardine, Judge Richard A. Jones, Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, Judge Richard F. McDermott, Jr., Ms. Mary Campbell McQueen, Ms. Rosa M. Melendez, Judge Maryann C. Moreno, and Judge Vicki J. Toyohara.
Justice Charles Z. Smith thanked Ms. Debi Perluss, Director of Advocacy and General Counsel with the Northwest Justice Project (NJP), for permitting the use of the conference room for the Commission Meeting.
Justice Smith reported that the meeting minutes of the October 3, 2003 Executive Committee and Commission meetings, held at the Arctic Building Conference Room located in Seattle, were approved during the Executive Committee meeting subject to any necessary editorial revisions.
Report of Co-Chairperson
Appointments and Reappointments
Justice Smithreported that the Washington State Supreme Court at the recommendation of the Minority and Justice Commission reappointed eleven Commission members and appointed three persons from the Technical Support Group to the Commission. He stated that currently there is one vacancy on the Commission as a result of a resignation by Judge William W. Baker. He also stated that he and Justice Johnson will determine who will fill that vacancy and submit that name to the Supreme Court for appointment. Current list of Commission members and their terms is attached.
Justice Smith indicated that Technical Support members are appointed for a period of one year subject to renewal at the expiration of their term. In response to Ms. Chung’s inquiry, nineteen Technical Support members replied that they would like to be reappointed to the Commission and have been reappointed. Justice Smith also indicated that one person was appointed to the Technical Support Group upon recommendation of Judge Mary Yu. Ms. Yemi Fleming Jackson has been appointed as a Technical Support member and is assigned to the Workforce Diversity Sub-committee. Justice Smith stated that there are four criteria to consider when recommending persons for the Technical Support Group. They must have (1) an understanding of the mission of the Minority and Justice Commission; (2) wish to participate in furthering those goals; (3) background and credentials consistent with the mission of the Commission; and (4) willingness to work hard, that is, attend meetings, participate in sub-committee activities and be a valuable participant on the Commission. Commission members interested in recommending a person to the Technical Support Group, are asked to submit a letter and preferably a résumé with the recommendation to Justice Johnson and Justice Smith. A question was asked whether there is an area of expertise for which the Commission is interested in recruiting. Justice Smith replied that the sub-committees would better be able to determine that answer. 2004 Technical Support list is attached.
Sub-committee Participation Survey
Ms. Chung reported that the Commission conducted a survey of its members to determine their choice of sub-committees; thereby increasing participation. She stated that four members requested changes in sub-committee assignment as a result of the survey. Sub-committee assignment list and sub-committees project ideas are attached.
Future Commission Meeting Schedule
Justice Smith stated that thefuture Commission meeting schedule is as follows:
April 30, 2004 in Seattle hosted by Judge Ron A. Mamiya
July 30, 2004 in Spokane hosted by Judge Greg D. Sypolt
October 29, 2004 in Seattle hosted by Kathleen Mary Thompson with Gardner, Bond, Trabolsi, St. Louis &Clement (Judge Thompson’s daughter)
He asked Judge Sypolt to help Ms. Chung coordinate the meeting in Spokane. Judge LeRoy McCullough suggested that young adults of color be invited to the Commission meeting in Spokane and that a reception be held in conjunction with the Commission activities. It was agreed that this would be added to the Spokane commission meeting agenda.
Report of Sub-committees
Judge LeRoy McCullough, Chairperson of the Education Sub-committee, presented a certificate of appreciation to Judge Monica Benton for her two-year service as Chairperson of the Education Sub-committee. Judge Benton was not present to accept the certificate but Judge Mary Alice Theiler volunteered to deliver the certificate to Judge Benton, who is located on the same floor.
Judge McCullough reported that the sub-committee presented a cultural diversity education session at the 2004 Judicial College on January 25. The program “Towards a more culturally competent courtroom,” blended nuts and bolts of the program presented by consultants Benita Horn and Peggy Nagae with impact of diversity on the courts presented by Judge Frank Cuthbertson, Pierce County Superior Court, and Judge Kenneth E. Kato, Court of Appeals, Division III. The program was well received.
The sub-committee submitted a movie proposal to the Fall 2004 Judicial Conference Planning Committee, which addresses foster care system. The movie proposal included the movie “Antwone Fisher,” a panel discussion and group discussion on the foster care system and youth of color. The movie proposal was rejected but the planning committee approved the topic “foster care system and youth and color” and asked the sub-committee to develop an education choice session.
Discussion ensued among sub-committee members whether it was appropriate for the Minority and Justice Commission to provide support/education programs to the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ). General feeling was that the ALJ’s need education as much as other judges because they adjudicate cases, interact with people of color, and they impact the perception of equal justice. The sub-committee agreed to provide educational opportunities to ALJ in additional to judicial branch of government.
Evaluation and Implementation
Judge James M. Murphy, Chairperson of the Evaluation and Implementation Sub-committee, reported that Judge George Finkle, retired, was contracted to review bail guidelines and make recommendations for development. Judge Finkle submitted an Order re Release of Accused form in lieu of bail guidelines.
The sub-committee will seek time at the Fall 2004 Judicial Conference to present an education choice session/program at the Conference regarding the use of Order re Release of Accused form.
Judge Murphy reported that the sub-committee will submit to the Washington State Supreme Court changes to court rule 2.2 regarding use of warrants. Although MJC submitted comments last year during public comments period regarding Supreme Court changes to court rule 2.2, MJC was told that its request of proposed changes would not be considered because of its lateness.
Brian Tsuchida, Co-chairperson of the Outreach Sub-committee, welcomed Ms. Amalia Maestas, attorney for the Muckleshoot tribe, as a new member of the sub-committee.
Mr. Tsuchida reported that the next issue of Equal Justice, “Experiences of Legal Services Organizations” is near completion. One promised article has not been received, thus delaying publication. We expect to receive the article soon and hope to publish the newsletter in February or March 2004. Future newsletter issues proposed are “National Consortium” and “Commission Sponsored Community Forum.”
For its summer/fall issue, it will focus on the “National Consortium”. The sub-committee discussed sending two sub-committee members to the consortium who would spearhead the newsletter, write an article about the national consortium meeting and determine whether materials obtained from the national meeting could be reprinted in our newsletter. Ms. Contreras, Ms. Maestas and Judge Thompson expressed interests in attending the conference.
The sub-committee also discussed whether to devote one newsletter around information obtained from the MJC sponsored Community Forums. The sub-committee felt that unless we organized and published the information gained in the forums, access to that material would be difficult for most individuals interested in minority and justice issues.
The sub-committee discussed upcoming events which could serve as springboards for outreach efforts. The sub-committee identified the Washington State Bar Association’s Board of Governor’s Meeting on February 27; the diversity initiative summit set for March 31; the National Consortium Meeting set for April 14-18; and the Commission meeting set for July 30 in Spokane.
Judge Kenneth H. Kato, Chairperson of the Research Sub-committee, reported that the sub-committee will explore research opportunities with the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in Spokane as its first research project in 2004. The purpose of the project would be to do a comprehensive study on the juvenile justice system, including detention, in Spokane before embarking on a juvenile detention alternative initiative. The project would review the case history regarding its detainees, including race, gender and offense, and review the decision making points in the process and potential recommendations to lower juvenile detention, including disproportionality of youth of color.
Judge Deborah D. Fleck, Chairperson of the Workforce Diversity Sub-committee, reported that the sub-committee has been invited by the Spring 2004 Presiding Judges Conference to provide an education session titled “A Smart Court is a Diverse Court” based on the guide, “Building a Diverse Workforce: A Guide to Recruitment and Retention” authored Ms. Sheryl Willert and produced by the sub-committee. When executed, it will be the third training based on the Guide. The other two venues were Fall 2002 Judicial Conference and Spring 2003 Joint Management Conference.
Currently the author, Sheryl Willert, is not able to provide the training at the Spring Presiding Judges Conference on March 2, 2004 in Kelso, Washington. However, we may be able to obtain Katherine Cooper Franklin, with Littler Mendleson, and Judge Patricia Clark, King County Juvenile Court Presiding Judge.
Judge Fleck reported that the sub-committee was approved by the Fall 2004 Judicial Conference to invite a national/keynote speaker for its Conference. The sub-committee will extend an invitation to Dennis Archer, president of American Bar Association. Judge Fleck reported that she has asked Mr. Ron Ward, president-elect of WSBA, and a close friend of Mr. Archer, to informally ask Mr. Archer of his availability to speak at the Fall Judicial Conference before a formal letter is sent by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander. If Mr. Archer is not available, other possibilities include Juan Williams of NPR or Robert Gray, Jr., president-elect of ABA.
The sub-committee discussed providing training on “Diversity on the Bench: how to become a judge” but decided to develop a comprehensive manual that will aid attorneys of color interested in seeking an appointment or election at all levels of the courts and across the state. It was decided that everyone would seek materials from past on-site trainings. The materials would then be compiled for a comprehensive “how to” manual for training and distribution.
Justice Smith referenced materials included in the packet and listed on the agenda. In the interest of time, he summarized the items to Commission members. He also stated that at the executive committee meeting, they endorsed the Initiative for Diversity (in the packet), a program designed to promote diversity within private law firms and legal departments in Washington State.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.