Board for Judicial Administration
May 17, 2002
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair; Judge James Riehl, member-chair; Judge William Baker; Mr. Dale Carlisle; Judge Christine Cary; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Chris Culp; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Robert Harris; Judge Stephen Holman; Judge Ronald Kessler; Justice Barbara Madsen; Judge Dirk Marler; Ms. Mary McQueen and Judge Robert McSeveney
Members Absent: Judge James Gavin; Judge Vicki Hogan; Judge Frank Kurtz, Mr. Jan Eric Peterson; Judge Karen Seinfeld
Guests present: Ms. Jan Michels and Judge Evan Sperline
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Doug Haake; Mr. Victor Moore; Ms. Yvonne Pettus; and Ms. Janet Skreen
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
Chief Justice Alexander introduced Judge Evan Sperline, Grant County Superior Court. Judge Sperline will join the Board in June. Chief Justice Alexander advised the Board that Judge Sperline will assume duties as chair of the Best Practices Committee.
Minutes of the April 19, 2002 meeting were approved as published.
Ms. McQueen reviewed the proposed bylaw changes. She reminded the Board that the proposals were distributed electronically in March.
The Board briefly discussed the alternative amendment to Article XII.
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Judge McSeveney to adopt the bylaws as amended with the alternative replacing the current Article XII. The motion carried.
Long Range Planning
Judge Riehl reminded the Board that recommendation 7-Issues for study and/or referrals to other entities had been tabled during the April meeting. The Board briefly discussed recommendation 7, they agreed that it's appropriate to refer to the Best Practices Committee.
LRPC Recommended Priorities
1. The BJA should recommend methods of providing courts adequate funding and resources to include staff and facilities that meet the ADA and security standards. Additionally, it should evaluate the trends towards fee justice. (June 2000 BJA Long Range Planning Committee meeting and Committee charter, Project 2001 recommendation 6.4)
It was moved by Justice Madsen and seconded to adopt recommendation number 1. The motion carried.
The Board agreed recommendation 1 is to be forwarded to the Court Funding Task Force.
2. Developing a needs assessment for Judges and court staff - a modern methods of measuring judicial and court staff needs should be developed. The new "production function model" has been approved by the Superior Court Judges' Association, on an interim basis, to estimate judicial needs in superior courts. The research unit will now focus on modifying the mode for use in limited jurisdiction courts to replace the outdated weighted caseload approach.
It was moved by Judge Harris and seconded by Judge Culp to adopt recommendation 2 as amended. Motion carried.
3. Working in collaboration with the other branches of government
It was moved by Judge Holman and seconded to adopt recommendation 3 as amended. The motion carried.
4. Election of all Judges at every level of court.
The Board discussed whether recommendation 4 precluded merit selection and retention, noting that BJA is not against merit selection or retention. The Board also discussed whether all judges, including the part-time judges in small courts, should be selected in the same manner.
It was moved by Judge Culp and seconded by Judge Churchill to adopt recommendation 4 as written. Motion passed with a vote of nine in favor and two opposed.
Judge Riehl requested items 5, 6 and 7 be held over to the next meeting.
Court Funding Task Force
Ms. McQueen reported a meeting of the BJA chairs, SCJA, DMCJA and WSBA is scheduled following the BJA meeting. She continued, the Task Force will be arranged similar to the Project 2001 Committee. It will consist of a steering committee and 3-4 subcommittees. The following subcommittees have been identified thus far:
2. Delivery System
3. Strategic Planning/Implementation
Short term issues will be identified and the steering committee will work with the county and cities to work toward a resolution.
It was moved and seconded to adopt the proposal for the court funding task force as outlined. The motion carried.
Mr. Moore reviewed the AOC, 2001-2003 Budget Reduction Plan (handout). The Board was advised that AOC reduced their FTEs by 11, including the reduction of several full-time positions to half-time.
Judge Baker reported that Division I will lose one staff attorney and one judicial assistant effective January 2003. July 1, 2003, Division I will lose two staff attorneys. He continued that all three divisions are considering options for reducing budgets.
Family Law Handbook
Ms. Skreen reviewed the legislation and proposal from Families Northwest. She pointed out that AOC was not allocated any money for the development and distribution of the handbook.
The Board briefly discussed options relating to the development of the Family Law Handbook. The discussion included seeking assistance from the Family Law Section of WSBA and SCJA's Family and Juvenile Law Committee.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded to authorize AOC to seek a proposal to develop the Family Law Handbook from the Washington State Bar Association. The SCJA Family and Juvenile Law Committee will provide the oversight function. The motion carried.
Unified Family Court
Ms. Skreen advised three counties, King, Snohomish and Thurston, are participating as pilot courts. The purpose of the unified family court is to provide one judicial officer for all issues relating to a particular family. An interim evaluation was conducted last June. A full evaluation will be conducted in June of 2003.
Chief Justice Alexander recognized Judge Kurtz, Judge Harris, Judge Gavin, Judge Cary and Judge Culp for contributions during their terms on the BJA.
Judge Culp reminded the Board that the preamble and bylaws had been adopted at the April meeting. He continued, the Board had requested a new name be established.
Judge Culp said the group had come up with two possibilities:
IAC - Intergovernment Assistance Committee
CIRT - Court Intergovernment Response Team
After a brief discussion the Board voted on the two alternatives, along with the original name-CIRT Court Independence Response Team.
IAC - Intergovernment Assistance Committee-2 votes
CIRT - Court Intergovernment Response Team-3 votes
CIRT - Court Independence Response Team-5 votes
The group's name will remain CIRT-Court Independence Response Team.
Time for Trial Task Force
Written report submitted.
Public Trust and Confidence
Written report submitted.
Court of Appeals
Judge Baker reported that Judge Mary Kay Becker is the chief judge for Division I and Judge Ronald Cox is the acting chief judge.
Judge Harris reported that feedback was coming in from the membership regarding pension issues. He advised pension issues will be worked on over the next six months.
Judge Harris reminded the BJA that the Salary Commission will gear-up the first week of January. Ms. McQueen advised that the Bar representative on the Salary Commission is not eligible to serve another term. She advised Wayne Blair's name may be forwarded as the Bar representative.
Judge Culp reported their association is in the process of reviewing the disparity between district and municipal court judges' salaries. They are currently conducting a salary survey. They've had 50 responses submitted thus far.
The Association will be sending a letter to the Supreme Court regarding the guilty plea forms and proposed changes. The continual changes to the forms are costly and repeated changes are such that losing site of what's important.
Access to Justice
No report available.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Carlisle reported the BOG has four new governors with a fifth to be appointed in June. In June the BOG will select the president-elect. Steve Crossland of Cashmere and David Savage of Pullman are the candidates being considered for that position.
Mr. Carlisle reminded the BJA of the Access to Justice Annual Conference. This year's conference will be held in Yakima the first weekend in June.
Mr. Carlisle advised that the WSBA, working in conjunction with the King County Bar Association, has purchased rights to use ads (created for Virginia's Bar) "proud to be a lawyer." These 30 second radio spots ran for three weeks (late April to mid-May). The radio spots will also run in other areas of the state. Since the radio spots, "hits" on the King County Bar Association's website have increased from 200 the first month to 1200.
The membership will consist of: Judge Harris (chair), Judge Becker, Judge McCarthy, Judge Phillips, Judge Burns, Judge Heavey, Judge McCauley, and Dennis Seinfeld.
Judge Fleck indicate a push would be made to contact members and request they make an contribution to the special assessment account in order to go forward.
Ms. McQueen advised historically issues relating to judicial salaries/benefits were reviewed under the auspices of the BJA. She indicated concern about one level of court going forward with the hiring of a lobbyist.
Reminder that the Presiding Judges' conference will be held June 16-18 in Richland.
BJA will next meet at noon on June 16 at the Red Lion Hanford House in Richland.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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