Court Funding Task Force
Members present: Mr. Jeff Amram; Ms. Cheryl Bleakney; Mr. John Cary; Commissioner Mike Chapman; Ms. Edsonya Charles; Mr. John Connelly, Jr.; Mr. David Donnan; Judge Stephen J. Dwyer; Ms. Joan Ferebee; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Gordon Godfrey; Judge Robert Harris; Mr. Roland Hjorth; Ms. Rena Hollis; Judge Stephen J. Holman; Mr. James Kirkham Johns; Representative Ruth Kagi; Senator Jim Kastama; Judge Dirk Marler; Ms. Mary McQueen; Judge James M. Murphy; Judge Kathleen O’Connor; Judge Michael Roewe; Mr. Mike Runyan; Judge John Schultheis; Mr. Robby Stern; and Mr. Ron Ward
Guests present: Ms. Sophia Byrd; Mr. Doug Levy; Mr. James E. Macpherson Mr. J. Richard Manning; Mr. Ron Mattson; and Ms. Gail Stone
Staff present: Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Doug Haake; Mr. Jeff Hall; Ms. Janet McLane; Ms. Yvonne Pettus; and Mr. Ramsey Radwan
Call to Order
In the absence of Mr. Wayne Blair, chair, Judge Deborah Fleck called the meeting to order.
The minutes of the October 7, 2002 meeting were approved as published.
What We Know About Court Funding
Ms. McLane and Ms. Pettus made the following presentation.
History of PSEA
PSEA Statute. . .then
“The legislature shall appropriate funds in the account to promote traffic safety education, highway safety, criminal justice training, crime victims compensation, judicial education, judicial information system, civil representation of indigent person, winter recreation parking, and state game programs.”
PSEA Statute. . .now
“legislature may appropriate monies for appellate indigent defense and other operations of the office of public defense, AG criminal litigation unit, TASC, crime victim advocacy, justice information network, treatment for supplemental security income clients, sexual assault treatment, operations of the AOC, school security, alternative school start-up, programs for disruptive students, criminal justice data collection, WSP criminal justice activities, drug court operations, unified family courts, local court backlog assistance, local government extraordinary criminal justice costs, domestic violence treatment, DOC community corrections, local government reimbursements for criminal and civil justice legislation, DOC offender-based tracking system, meth-related law enforcement, and drug/alcohol treatment.”
Exceptions/New Uses for Court Revenue:
Appellate Court Revenue
Superior Court Revenue
Juvenile Court Revenue
Superior Court PSEA Contribution
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Revenue
CLJ – Traffic Infractions
Distribution of Traffic Infraction Revenue
CLJ Criminal – DUI
CLJ Criminal – Non-DUI
CLJ PSEA Contribution
Washington Court Personnel—Staff and Judges
Number of Municipal Courts by Judicial Officer
2001 Court Staffing Levels
Summary of Court Expenditures
Email survey questions asked:
1) During the current budget cycle process, was your court/office requested to submit a budget that included a certain level of budget reduction, e.g., from the previous year?
2) What was your court’s/office’s response to that request, e.g., negotiated a different percentage reduction, submitted a budget with no reduction, etc.,?
3) If you court/office took a reduction, how did your court/office take that reduction? (Reduced staff, cut back on supplies, etc.)
Email Survey Results – Superior Court (19 responses)
Juvenile Court (16 responses)
County Clerk (7 responses)
District Court (15 responses)
Municipal Court (26 responses)
Historical Perspective – Superior Court Funding in Washington State
Judge Godfrey provided an overview of funding for the superior courts.
Initiative process. Income tax (initiative 69) passed by public. Cap on property taxes (measure 94). Income tax struck down by Supreme Court, Culliton vs. Chase, 174 Wash. 363.
Legislature changed “uniform”
MVET (graduated income tax). Governor slashed 25-30% of salaries for women working for state, county, city government unless they were able to proof they were the breadwinner.
Salaries of superior court judges: ½ paid by state and ½ paid by county.
Initiative 62 — State cannot put burden local government with any new programs unless they fund them.
King County received 5 new judges. Senator Talmadge inquired of Attorney General Gorton--how does initiative 62 affect request for additional judges? The Attorney General responded “It is our considered opinion that if the legislature, during its current (1980) session, increases the number of superior court judgeships within a given county, the state will be required by 6(1) of Initiative No. 62 to reimburse that county for its added costs arising by reason of those new judgeships.”
The Attorney General’s opinion was referenced in Seattle vs. State, 100 Wn.2d 16, 666 P.2d 351 (1983), authored by Justice Pearson and in State v. Howard, 106 Wn.2d 39, 722 P.2d 783 (1985), authored by Justice Durham.
Legislature passed the Criminal Justice Funding Act of 1990. The Act provided that money appropriated shall not supplant existing local funding for criminal justice programs.
Justice Godfrey reminded the Task Force that courts are a branch of government, not part of the criminal justice system. He continued, one of the requirements of the legislature is to properly fund courts.
Next, Judge Godfrey reviewed the chart outlining the 1989 and 1996 criminal justice expenditures, along with the revenue received for criminal justice funding for 1996.
Existing Standards and Recommendations
Pending Caseload Reports
Ms. McLane provided a brief overview of the pending caseload reports provided to Task Force.
Core Functions of Courts
Civil Cases between Private Litigants
Non-criminal Cases involving Government
Reviewing Cases on Appeal
Core-–discovery, motions, contempt, ex parte, jury/bench trials, final decisions and enforcement of judgments
Noncore—arbitration, settlement conferences, mediation, court facilitators, monitoring guardianships, family court services, wedding ceremonies
Handled by other entity—family law (except with children), performing weddings, monitoring guardianships, name changes (except minors), impound hearings, small claims, de novo trials in small claims
Core—warrants, competency, pre-trial, extradition, discovery, bench/jury trials, decline hearings, post-trial matters, contempt, special inquiry proceedings
Noncore—coroner’s inquests, diversion, probation, counseling, detention, probation supervision
Handled by other entity—coroner’s inquest, diversion, probation, counseling, detention, probation supervision
Core—mental/alcohol/sexual predator commitments, juvenile (CHINS, ARY, dependency, termination, truancy), civil infractions, restraining orders, property seizure/forfeiture/impound, paternity, eminent domain, enforcement of regs/recall, abatement, taxpayer, writs involving government, sexually transmitted diseases
Handled by other entity—truancy and civil infractions
Core—employ staff, prepare and implement budget, receive/transmit/account for funds, security, records of case activity and judicial operations, coordinate/share data, operational policies/calendar management, adopt rules, reporting requirements, jury management
Noncore—pursue funding, education, assist legislature in getting information, participate in enactment of laws, ethics opinions, maintain county law libraries, caseflow management
Handled by other entity—security, receiving/accounting of funds, supreme court clerk, law libraries, jury administration
DMCJA Minimum Services
Other Court Services
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Assessment Project
102 Recommendations summarized in executive summary:
Compliance a with Rules and Statutes
Independence of the Judiciary
“Almost every concern about the delivery of judicial services. . .can be traced to funding limitations. State funding of CLJ courts is necessary. . .”
Proposed Work Groups
Following a brief discussion, the Task Force agreed to create an additional work group—structural changes for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. The Task Force also discussed avenues for educating the public.
The Task Force agreed that the members of the Work Groups must be expanded beyond the Task Force.
Judge Fleck summarized the tasks as follows:
1) AOC Staff should identify tasks for the work groups;
2) Task Force members should sign-up for one or two work groups;
3) Work group chairs should be identified by the steering committee;
4) Stakeholder groups should be included in expanded membership, other possible members should be identified; and
5) Establish meeting schedule and assign staff
Ms. McQueen introduced Mr. Jeff Hall. Mr. Hall recently joined AOC staff and will be working with the Board for Judicial Administration (BJA).
Mr. Hall advised the Task Force that the BJA supported the proposed filing fee increase at the superior court level. The proposal increases the filing fee by $90 to $200. Mr. Hall reported there is a possibility of an increase in the filing fee at the district court level, too.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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