Board for Judicial Administration
December 18, 2002
Wyndham Hotel, SeaTac
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair; Judge William W. Baker; Mr. Dale Carlisle; Judge Vickie Churchill (via phone during filing fee item); Judge Sara Derr; Judge Stephen Dwyer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Vicki Hogan; Judge Stephen Holman; Justice Barbara Madsen; Mr. J. Richard Manning; Judge Dirk Marler; Ms. Mary McQueen, Judge Robert McSeveney; Judge Kathleen O’Connor; Judge James M. Riehl, member-chair; Judge John Schultheis; Judge Karen Seinfeld; and Judge Evan Sperline
Guests present: Judge Marlin Appelwick; Professor David Boerner; Judge Robert Harris; Justice Charles W. Johnson; Ms. Ada Shen-Jaffe; Ms. Jan Michels; Ms. Michele Radosevich; and Judge Michael Spearman
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Jeff Hall; Mr. Doug Haake; Ms. Janet McLane; Mr. Rich Neidhardt; Ms. Yvonne Pettus; Mr. Ramsey Radwan and Ms. Janet Skreen
Call to Order
Chief Justice Alexander called the meeting to order.
It was moved by Judge Marler and seconded by Judge Derr to approve the minutes of the November 15, 2002 meeting as published. The motion carried.
Time for Trial Task Force
Professor Boerner recognized the extra efforts of Task Force members Charlie Williams (Olympia) and Seth Fine (Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office).
He reminded the Board that the Task Force was created by Supreme Court Order. The Order included the charge of conducting a comprehensive review of the rules governing time-for-trial of criminal cases and making recommendations for change, if appropriate.
Professor Boerner said the goal for all Task Force members was the resolution of all cases promptly on the merits. Along with the established goal, the Task Force also wanted to simplify and clarify the rule.
Professor Boerner reviewed the Task Force’s amendments to the rules:
Judge Kessler stated the result of the Task Force report is almost miraculous given the short amount of time they had to study and make their recommendations. Judge Kessler spoke to his two proposals for the 30 day buffer period—both would add that where a period of time is excluded pursuant to (e)(3), the court, at the time a continuance is granted, shall set an expiration date no more than 10 days after the end of that excluded period, within the discretion of the court. One amendment is for sections (e)(1), (2), (4)-(8), while is other is for section (e).
The Board discussed how the court would know it set a trial date outside the speedy trial period ((3.3 (d)(3) and (4)) and the restart period that should be excluded rather than restarted ((c)(2)(4) appellate review or stay, (c)(2)(7) disqualification, and (c)(2)(1) waiver).
The Chief Justice asked whether the proposals would slow down criminal cases. Professor Boerner responded that judges are committed to moving cases. The changes give more discretion to judges and have more flexibility than the current rule.
Judge Schultheis moved to accept the report of the Time for Trial Task Force and submit to Supreme Court with the recommendation to adopt. The motion was seconded by Judge Marler.
The Board continued discussions of the proposed changes.
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Justice Madsen to table the motion until the January meeting. Motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Sperline and seconded by Judge Hogan to receive the Time for Trial Task Force report with great thanks and congratulations to the Task Force. The motion passed.
Judges Kessler, Seinfeld, and Sperline were asked to work on specific language to address the issues raised by the Board and forward the changes to Rick Neidhardt. They will report back at the January meeting.
Reconsideration of Civil Equal Justice Funding Bill
Judge Fleck gave a brief overview of her memorandum. She pointed out the SCJA Board’s concerns including that the courts’ own needs are currently not being met. Those programs include the Judicial Information System, Becca programs, judicial education and drug courts.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Hogan to amend the BJA’s previous position to increase the filing fee by $90, but not have the increase earmarked for the Civil Equal Justice Account.
The Board was advised that according to Robert’s Rules of Order only a majority vote is needed, but according to the BJA Bylaws one affirmative vote from each level is required.
Justice Johnson reminded the BJA of their long-time commitment to Access to Justice through their resolutions. He advised that the Equal Justice Funding Task Force had studied many options for funding and the increase in filing fee is the least of the worst.
Justice Johnson said he’s thankful for the Board’s support over the many years. He asked that the Board not change their support.
Judge Kessler stated he believes in the concept that the judiciary speak with one voice, but the BJA representatives did not have an opportunity to consult with their constituent judges. He continued, the lack of consultation did not show the respect owed to our constituent judges. Representatives have an obligation to seek advice of their colleagues. If the fee increase is submitted to the Legislature as is, SCJA would not support. Judge Kessler agrees with motion.
Judge Seinfeld asked what percentage of increase would go to civil equal justice.
Judge Appelwick responded 46 percent would go into the equal justice account, not PSEA and 54% would go into the local general fund.
Justice Madsen inquired what SCJA would do if BJA doesn’t adopt Judge Fleck’s motion.
Judge Fleck responded BJA had moved too quickly. She continued, associations have not given up their independence, but actively opposing the dedication of the State’s portion of the PSEA had not been discussed.
Judge Riehl said he was concerned about unity. He reminded the Board of the serious need for funding access to justice. He said he was against the motion to amend.
Judge Kessler made a friendly motion to suspend the decision that was made in November and table the entire discussion one month to explore compromises and alternatives. Judge Fleck and Judge Hogan accepted the motion.
Judge Appelwick emphasized the need for the BJA to support the efforts of the civil equal justice task force in seeking the filing fee increase with the state’s share of the increase earmarked for civil equal justice. He continued, the equal justice supporters would be put in a position of lobbying against the SCJA’s proposal. Judge Appelwick stated the filing fee bill probably would not pass without the support of the BJA. He requested the BJA join the equal justice committee in supporting the filing fee increase.
Ms. Radosevich advised the Board that the Governor’s budget takes another one million dollars from civil equal justice. The overall picture for funding civil equal justice keeps getting worse.
Judge Harris indicated work is being done to preserve funding for Becca. He advised that TASC funding, which is vital to drug courts, has been cut in the Governor's budget. He continued, there is support for legal services but there are concerns about other aspects of funding for the legal system.
Mr. Manning said he has watched as funding for civil legal services has gone into a tailspin over the past 10 years. He advised in October the Bar Board of Governors (BOG) took a straw vote resulting in unanimous support for the filing fee increase earmarked for civil equal justice. He anticipates an unanimous vote during tomorrow’s BOG meeting.
Call for the question. Motion failed (no affirmative vote from appellate level)—six favored the amendment, while seven opposed.
Judge Holman moved to suspend last month’s action regarding the increase to the district court filing fee. The motion was seconded by Judge Marler. Motion carried--vote was seven in favor and one against.
It was moved by Judge Hogan and seconded by Judge Baker to approve the 2003 meeting schedule. Motion carried.
Judge Hogan briefly reviewed the changes in the mission statement.
It was moved by Judge Hogan and seconded by Judge Seinfeld to adopt the amended Best Practices Committee mission statement. Motion carried.
Association of Washington Superior Court Administrators Request for Membership
The Board briefly discussed the possibility that many other association would request membership if AWSCA were added as members on the BJA. The Board agreed that a letter from the Chief and Judge Riehl advising that they will not be included as members, but inviting them to attend the meetings is appropriate.
The Board briefly discussed the recommended bills.
It was moved by Judge Marler and seconded by Judge Holman to adopt the positions on various pieces of legislation as set forth in minutes of November 15, 2002 on pages 7 and 8. The motion carried.
Amendments to RCW 3.34 and 3.38
Ms. McLane provided the proposed language. Judge Marler explained the draft allowed the county to leave positions vacant following a reduction in the number of judges authorized by statute. The DMCJA will sponsor the bill.
It was moved by Judge Marler and seconded by Judge Holman to endorse the draft bill as distributed. Motion carried.
Criminal Code Revisions
Ms. McLane advised that three people had conducted an additional review of the code revisions. A meeting has taken place with legislative staff to discuss this bill. The Governor’s office has also been made aware of the bill.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Kessler to sponsor the bill. Motion carried.
The Board was advised that the bill would be reviewed by the WSBA. This item will be placed on the January agenda.
Judge Request Bills
The Board agreed to support the requests made by Benton/Franklin and Clark Counties and sponsor the appropriate legislation.
Ms. McQueen advised that a four million dollar request from the PSEA has been made. The additional dollars will be used for upgrades to the Judicial Information System.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Marler to support the Judicial Information System budget request as previously adopted by the JIS Committee. The motion carried.
Judge Riehl recommended holding off on making any recommendation until the January meeting. He advised that all Kitsap County elected officials’ salaries are frozen due to the state of the economy.
Mr. Radwan briefly reviewed the Judicial Cost of Living Salary Adjustment Analysis he prepared. Ms. McQueen reminded the Board that the Salary Commission must have recommendations in place prior to the public hearings.
This item will be placed on January’s agenda.
State of the Judiciary
The Chief Justice advised the State of the Judiciary is scheduled for January 15. It will be held at the Temple of Justice.
Judicial Retirement Work Group
Ms. McQueen reported that Mr. Jerry Allard provided the committee with additional possible benefits rather than a change to the pension system. The work group is continuing their work.
Presiding Judge Conference
Judge Marler reported the focus of the conference will be human resources management. Judge Yu will make a presentation on human resources law. The conference will be held March 2-4, in Yakima.
Court of Appeals
Judge Seinfeld reported that the ACORDS project is moving ahead. Division II has been implemented.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Manning reported the WSBA recently held part two of their retreat. The retreat was facilitated by a dynamic futurist. He looked at where the bar has been the last 50 years, where they are now and where they are going. In addition, they focused on the public’s attitude about lawyers. Mr. Manning advised that a video tape of the retreat was available.
Gender and Justice
It was moved by Judge Kessler and seconded by Judge Marler to approve the continued administration of the STOP grant money by the Gender and Justice Commission. The motion carried.
Uniform Family Courts
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded that the recommendations of the Unified Family Court Work Group be forwarded to the SCJA Family Law and Justice Committee. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned,
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