Court Funding Task Force - Problem Definition Work Group - Minutes
Problem Definition Work Group
March 13, 2003
Members in attendance:
Jan Michels, Co-Chair
Judge Pat Burns
Judge Rich Fitterer
Judge Robert Harris
Judge James Heller
Staff: Yvonne Pettus
Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order. Jan Michels introduced herself and asked other members to introduce themselves. The notes from the February 11, 2003 meeting were amended to add Kirk Johns to the attendee list.
Review of Work Group Charge
The group reviewed the work group's charge. Kirk emphasized the expectation that the work group come up with a balance sheet of what court funding is needed. The Funding Alternatives Work Group will focus on the funding structure and procedure for funding. The work group's report should identify the current funding, needed funding, sources of funding.
Review of Materials Received
The group reviewed the problem statement submitted by the work group members. The courts are in the business of serving the public. The funding issues are not yet impacting the public in many courts. Members voiced the need to triage cases and services. Some times it takes more time to deny service than it does to provide it. In superior courts, the court has to postpone civil cases which means the litigants can either find private dispute resolution alternatives or wait for the court to resolve their cases.
The mission of the courts has changed. Courts tell society how to behave. Society has become more litigious. Issues that would have previously been resolved privately are now before the courts for resolution. Courts are more under attack by legislative authorities. There are fewer attorneys who serve either in the legislature or on county or city legislative authorities. Consequently, there is less knowledge about the courts and more concern about efficiency and collection of revenue.
Brainstorm Court Functions
The group brainstormed court functions. Attachment A lists the functions developed by the group.
The group discussed the content of the report. A report outline was developed, see Attachment B. Writing assignments will be emailed to work group members.
Future Meeting Dates
The following meeting dates were set: March 27; and April 10. All meetings will be held at Two Union Square, Suite 1606 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
TRIAL COURT MISSION COMPONENTS
||Judicial Support staff
|| - bailiffs
|| - judicial administrative assistants
|| - trial record keeping
|| - law clerks
||Sufficient judicial positions
|| - commissioners
|| - magistrates
|| - pro tems
| Domestic relations
|| - probable cause (weekends)
| Juvenile court
||Sufficient clerical support positions
|| - calendar clerks
|| - file clerks
|| - case managers
||Accessibility to public - counter, telephone
| At-risk youth
| Children in Need of Services
||Infraction processing - send notices, summons, hearings by mail
|Collection of money
||Failure to appear or pay
||Scheduling, case management
|Sharing of information – JIS
||Judgments & sentences
|Community/public information – court web sites
|Reviewing judgments - sentence reviews (enforcement)
||Adequate indigent civil defense?
||Alternative Dispute Resolution?
| - Human resources management
| - Statistical gathering
| - Budgeting, auditing
| - Purchasing
| - Working conditions
||Mental health courts
| - Planning, research
| - Emergency planning
| - public relations
||Unified family courts
| - training
||Data dissemination - appropriate
||Calculating jail time
| - Courtrooms
| - support staff
| - chambers
| - maintenance and upgrades
| - jury deliberation & assembly areas
||Archiving, record retention
||Orders of protection
|Probation - CLJ
|Probation - DOC
||Family court services - investigators, parenting classes
|Probation - Bench
||Electronic home detention
|Accounting - revenue remittance
|Probate/guardianship, minor settlement auditing
||Mitigating risk (quashing warrants, FTA adjudication, jail releases)
||Juvenile detention facilities
|Forms management & sale
- Introduction (Burns, Michels)
Other state’s experience – are heading in this direction?
What are courts?
Role of the courts in society
Compel societal behavior
Social contract with justice – civilization
Responding to the evolution of society
- Risks Associated with Inadequate Funding (Heller, Sweeney, Walters)
What is at risk?
Other systems of justice – world view
Checks and balances
Triage – how does this impact the public?
Access to the courts
- Mission of the Trial Courts (Harris, Miles, Paradis) (Move up?)
How the courts perform the core functions
Court structure – civics 101
- Current Inadequacies (Amram, Fitterer, Jewett)
- Cost of Core Functions (Johns)
Future (what should be?)
- Balance of Funding (Pettus)
Current funding sources
Local – county, city
State – general
Court generated revenue - User fees/user penalties (JIS, PSEA)
Future funding sources