Board for Judicial Administration
Members Present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair; Judge James M. Riehl, member-chair; Judge Christine Cary; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Chris Culp; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge James Gavin; Judge Robert Harris; Judge Vicki Hogan; Judge Stephen Holman; Judge Ronald Kessler; Judge Frank L. Kurtz; Ms. Mary McQueen; Judge Robert McSeveney; Justice Barbara Madsen; Judge Dirk Marler; Mr. Jan Eric Peterson; and Judge Karen Seinfeld
Members Absent: Judge William Baker; Mr. Dale Carlisle; Mr. Richard Manning
Guests Present: Judge T. W. "Chip" Small and Mr. Jim Bamberger
Staff Present: Mr. Gil Austin; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Rick Coplen; Mr. Doug Haake; Ms. Janet McLane; Mr. Victor Moore; Ms. Yvonne Pettus; and Ms. Janet Skreen
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Alexander.
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes as published. The motion passed unanimously.
Chief Justice Alexander reminded the Board that the initiative was a result of recommendations made by the Project 2001 Committee.
The Chief Justice expressed appreciation to Mr. Peterson for the Bar's support and involvement in the passage of the portability initiative. Mr. Peterson responded that the Chief Justice met with editorial boards in an effort to gain their support of the initiative. Mr. Peterson continued, the Chief Justice's efforts in support of the portability initiative showed what true leadership is all about.
Chief Justice Alexander informed the Board that approximately 71.14% of the voters cast their vote in favor of the initiative.
Presiding Judges' Rule
Judge Riehl provided a brief overview of the rule and changes made by the study group. The Board reviewed the proposed rule. After discussion, the Board agreed to consider the following amendments to the rule.
(f) (5)Supervise all court personnel including personnel assigned to perform court functions, relating to all matters including but not limited to working conditions, hiring, discipline, and termination decisions except wages, or benefits directly related to wages. The court administrator, or equivalent employee, is an employee of the court and shall report directly to the Presiding Judge. A model job description, including qualifications and experience criteria, for the court administrator position shall be established by the Board for Judicial Administration.
(k)Judicial Services Contracts. A judicial officer may contract with a municipal or county authority to serve as a judicial officer. The personal services contract may not contain provisions which would create an impropriety or the appearance of impropriety concerning the judge's activities. The employment contract should acknowledge the court is a part of an independent branch of government and that the judicial officer or court employees are bound to act in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct and this rule.
(l)Conflicts. If any provision of this rule or the Code of Judicial Conduct conflicts with language contained in a personal service contract, local ordinance, or state statute, the provisions of this rule or the Code of Judicial Conduct shall control.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge Culp to adopt the Presiding Judges' Rule as amended. The motion passed with a vote of 14 in favor and 2 opposed.
Discussion followed regarding the publication of the rule.
It was moved by Judge Hogan and seconded by Judge Culp to send GR 28-Presiding Judges' Rule to the Supreme Court without publication. Motion passed.
Courthouse Facilitator Rule
Judge Small gave a brief history of the rule. He also reviewed the provisions of the rule.
The Board briefly discussed the letter from Lorena Hollis, president, Washington State Association of County Clerks. The letter expressed concerns of the county clerks over some of the provisions of GR 27.
Following discussion, GR 27 (b) was amended as follows:
(b) The Washington State Supreme Court shall create a Family Law Courthouse Facilitator Advisory Committee supported by the Administrative Office of the Courts to establish minimum qualifications and administer a curriculum of initial and ongoing training requirements for the family law courthouse facilitator. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall assist counties in administering family law courthouse facilitator programs.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge Hogan to adopt GR 27 as amended. The motion passed.
Civil Equal Justice
Mr. Bamberger briefly reviewed the critical need for BJA to support the funding needs of Washington's civil legal services programs. This support can best be offered through BJA's endorsement of the Civil Equal Justice Funding Resolution 2002.
It was moved by Judge Kurtz and seconded by Judge Churchill to support the Civil Equal Justice Funding Resolution 2002. The motion passed unanimously.
Trial Court Budget Issues
Judge Harris discussed the budget cuts proposed by the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services. The SCJA has concerns about the following proposed cuts:
Judge Culp advised the Board that the counties and cities will also be required to take budget cuts that will impact the courts.
Chief Justice Alexander suggested a small group look at long-term funding of the courts.
Judge Culp reported that some of the district/municipal court judges are concerned about the counties/cities continued erosion of the judiciary's independence. The Board briefly discussed the independence issue. Judge Culp stated that the DMCJA will prepare a proposal. Judge Culp will report at the next meeting.
Jury Implementation Committee Proposed Rule Amendments
Judge Berschauer briefly reviewed each of the proposed rule amendments.
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Judge Kurtz to adopt amended GR 15 as proposed by the Committee. The motion passed with a vote of six in favor and two opposed.
It was moved by Judge Kurtz and seconded by Judge Churchill to adopt GR 26 as proposed by the Committee. The motion passed.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge Hogan to adopt the Superior Court Judges' Association language to amend CR 47 (CRLJ 38, CrR 6.8 and CrRLJ 6.8). The motion passed.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge McSeveney to adopt the Superior Court Judges' Association language for CR43. The motion failed with a five to five vote.
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Judge Holman to adopt the language for CR 43 and CRJL 43, as proposed by the Committee. The motion passed with a vote of six in favor and four opposed.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge Hogan to reject the Jury Committee's proposal to allow questions by jurors in criminal cases (CrR 6.12 and CrRLJ 6.1.3). The motion passed with a vote of eight in favor and two opposed.
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Judge Holman to adopt amendments to CR 51, CRLJ 51, CrR 6.15 and CrRLJ 6.15 as proposed by the Committee. The motion passed with a vote of eight in favor and two opposed.
Trial Court Coordinating Councils
Ms. McLane provided a brief overview of the TCCC. Ms. McLane requested that the BJA appoint a small committee to establish funding criteria and a process for granting funds.
It was moved by Judge Kurtz and seconded by Judge Gavin to have the BJA create a small committee to establish funding criteria and a process for granting available funds to the Trial Court Coordinating Councils. The motion passed.
Implementation of ESJR 8208
Mc. McQueen reported that a letter is to be sent to the presiding judges requesting the list of elected judges pro tempore to which their court will be assigning cases during the year commencing September 1. This information will be available on the AOC website.
Item tabled until next meeting.
Judge Riehl indicated this item would be discussed during the January meeting.
Judge Riehl briefly reviewed the draft recommendations. He indicated the committee would be identifying the top three-four priorities for the next meeting.
Judge Riehl briefly reviewed the handout relating to the granting of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) monies.
Court of Appeals
Judge Seinfeld reported that Division II is setting cases within the month and they are close to being caught-up.
Superior Court Judges' Association
Judge Harris reported that the SCJA has had ongoing discussions regarding the establishment of a statewide court tasked solely with jurisdiction over water rights litigation. The legislature wishes to create a joint legislative/judicial committee to create the rules under which such a court would operate.
Judge Harris will appoint four judges to this committee: two from the eastern part of the state, including one from Yakima county; and two from western Washington, including one from King County.
District/Municipal Court Judge Association
Judge Phillip Noon, Grandview Municipal Court, will retire after 48 years on the bench.
Mr. Peterson advised the Board that their current members are the immediate past president and the current president.
Presiding Judges Conference
The Board agreed to hold its June meeting in conjunction with the Presiding Judges Conference. The June meeting will be Sunday, the 17th. The meeting and conference will be held in Richland.
The Board agreed to cancel the December meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 25 at the Temple of Justice in Olympia.
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