Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair; Judge William W. Baker; Mr. Dale Carlisle; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Sara Derr; Judge Stephen Dwyer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Vicki Hogan; Judge Steve Holman; Judge Barbara Madsen; Judge or Commissioner Dirk Marler; Ms. Mary McQueen; Judge Robert McSeveney; Judge James M. Riehl, member-chair; Judge John Schultheis; Judge Karen Seinfeld and Judge Evan Sperline
Guests present: Professor David Boerner; Mr. Jim Bamberger; Ms. Pam Daniels; Mr. Mike Doubleday; Mr. Seth Fine; Ms. Rena Hollis; Mr. Mike Kenyon; Mr. Doug Levy; Ms. Londi Lindell; Ms. Pam Loginsky; Mr. Bob Mack; Ms. Andra Motyka; Judge Ann Schindler; Judge Greg Tripp; Mr. Charlie Williams
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin; Mr. Rich Coplen; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Doug Haake; Mr. Jeff Hall; Ms. Janet McLane; Mr. Rick Neidhardt; and Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Call to order
Chief Justice Alexander called the meeting to order.
Time for Trial Task Force
Judge Riehl provided a brief history.
Judge Seinfeld reported the BJA Work Group (Judge Kessler, Judge Sperline and Judge Seinfeld) was asked to work on specific language to address the concerns raised at the December BJA meeting. Judge Seinfeld said the work group is not necessarily recommending that BJA adopt or not adopt but are providing possible refinements for consideration.
Judge Seinfeld reviewed issue 1: Striker/Greenwood issue with regard to unserved warrants. She said that Striker/Greenwood is actually a philosophical difference. Although, she continued, there is some showing of prejudice built into language.
Judge Sperline advised of concerns relating to issues 4, 5, and 6, which are the effects of excluded periods. Judge Sperline pointed out the three provisions that trigger restarting: 1) waiver of deadline by defendant; 2) stay by appellate court; 3) disqualification of judge, prosecutor or defense attorney.
Judge Sperline indicated it probably is not productive for BJA to debate the specific language, but pass along as an alternative proposal to the Supreme Court Rules Committee.
Professor Boerner advised that the Task Force (not a majority, but a representative group) had an opportunity to hold a conference call to discuss the recommendations proposed by BJA’s Work Group. Professor Boerner provided the following:
Judge Sperline advised that trial judges set “untimely” dates because they are unaware that the date set is outside the time period. Nothing happens to bring that information to the attention of the judge.
Judge Seinfeld said that most stays are somewhat lengthy. Mr. Fine advised the Board that the original rule provided that stays were excluded period. The Task Force did not make policy changes.
The Board discussed the disqualification time periods and agreed that the defense and prosecution disqualifications should be treated the same.
Justice Madsen voiced concern over the Task Force’s proposal not taking into consideration the resources necessary for service of all warrants. She continued, resources simply are not available for law enforcement to serve all of the warrants.
The Board was advised that one proposal provided for two efforts to locate defendant – at residence and place of work. The King County Sheriff’s department estimated this would cost their department approximately $2 million per year, Pierce County estimated around $100,000 per year, while Kitsap estimated $88,000. Those additional resources are simply not available.
Chief Justice Alexander thanked Professor Boerner and the members of the Task Force for their work related to Time for Trial. Professor Boerner recognized the hard work of the Task Force and Rick Neidhardt of AOC.
Judge Marler advised the Board of the purpose of the proposed rule. He explained that some members of the bar are reluctant to file civil cases in district court due to the jurisdictional limit of the court. The proposed rule provides for transferring the case to a superior court upon filing of an amended complaint.
The Board agreed to change “a plaintiff in an amended complaint, third party defendants, or cross claimant” to “any party” in the proposed rule.
Discussion with City Representatives Regarding Municipal Courts
Mr. Hall explained there are currently three issues for discussion:
Ms. Londell advised the Board that cities that contract with King County District Courts have been advised by King County Executive Ron Sims, effective December 31, 2004 contract services will no longer be available. She continued, a negotiation team was established in March of 2002 in an attempt to meet with and negotiate options with the County. The County Executive has refused a meeting with the negotiation team. Ms. Londell pointed out that the King County District Court budget was cut by $1.7 million, 35 court clerks have been laid-off and there are not enough clerks available to files cases in a timely manner.
Mr. Kenyon indicated a simple short-term solution is being offered through proposed legislation. He continued, they are asking for the support of the BJA or at least that BJA not oppose the legislation.
Judge McSeveney advised the district and municipal courts are inferior courts created under Title 3 RCW. He continued, the last major revisions were made in the 1984 Court Improvement Act.
Judge Schindler reported that the work group chairs met last week. They are in the process of assembling membership. She reported that Judge McSeveney agreed to participate.
Judge Dwyer indicated the proposal had to do with funding with two possible remedies – arbitration or the cities form their own municipal court. He continued, if the cities decide to form consortium courts that only handle infractions and misdemeanors, this will leave the district courts with cases that cost money to process but don’t bring in any revenue. This will result in the extinction of the district court system.
Ms. Londell stated any assistance in working with the King County Executive would be appreciated. She continued, this is not about money but about providing court services to citizens.
The Board briefly discussed the proposed legislation. Judge Hogan stated she is strongly opposed to the BJA Executive Committee taking a new position on legislation when the Board has already agreed to a position.
The Board agreed that there would be no change in the position previously taken.
Mr. Carlisle reported the BOG is looking at legislation for tort reform. The Bar is reviewing the model rules of ethics. The first meeting to review ethics will be held the end of January. The review group has been given an 18-month deadline.
Mr. Carlisle advised that the ABA will hold their mid-year meeting in Seattle in early February.
Chief Justice Alexander recognized Mr. Coplen’s service as the first Executive Director of the BJA.
Ms. Hollis reported the clerks have indicated a willingness to assume the additional responsibility for collecting payment of LFOs. She continued, the clerks are concerned about proposed legislation to transfer responsibility for collecting LFOs from DOC to DSHS. In addition, they are concerned that language in the bill would require that the money collected will be forwarded to the clerks only once a month, when weekly payouts should be made to the victims.
General discussion took place regarding the proposal. It was agreed that the Clerks should take their proposal to the individual associations for consideration.
Ms. Hollis reviewed legislation of interest to the County Clerks.
Public Disclosure Commission
Mr. Hall briefly explained the changes proposed by the PDC.
Court Funding Task Force
Ms. McQueen reported that five work groups have been created. They are 1) problem identification (co-chairs are Jan Michels and Jeff Amram); 2) Courts of Limited Jurisdiction—Delivery of Service (co-chairs are Judge Ann Schindler and Ron Ward); 3) Funding Alternatives (co-chairs are Ron Hjorth and Kirk Johns); 4) Implementation Strategies (co-chairs are Judge Deborah Fleck, Judge Steve Dwyer and John Cary); and 5) Public Education (co-chairs are Judge Tom Warren and Cheryl Bleakney). The co-chairs are in the process of finalizing their work group’s membership. Ms. McQueen advised that a web site has been created for the Court Funding Task Force.
Mr. Hall reminded the Board that the Executive Committee meets via conference call every Monday at 5:00 p.m. to discuss legislation. He reported Melanie Stewart (lobbyist for DMCJA) will take forward the changes to the Commission on Judicial Conduct. That proposal is changing district court judge membership to limited jurisdiction court judge.
He continued the AOC re-codification of criminal statutes bill has not been dropped.
Trial Court Coordination Councils
Ms. McLane provided a brief overview of the written reports submitted by the courts that received the grants. Ms. McLane suggested inviting a judge from each of the courts to provide an in-person report at a future BJA meeting.
Mr. Hall reported the Salary Commission is recommending no increase the first year and a 2.5% increase the second year.
Ms. McQueen advised the Board that the Salary Commission’s public hearings have been set as follows:
Chief Justice Alexander advised that in his letter to the Salary Commission, a COLA had been recommended. The Chief reported that some judges had expressed their unhappiness with the request for the COLA.
Judicial Retirement Work Group
Presiding Judges Conference
Judge Marler reported 42 have registered thus far for the conference. It will be held March 2-4 in Yakima. The focus of the conference will be the implementation of GR 29.
Best Practices Committee
Judge Sperline reported the Committee has been discussing court performance audits. They are also addressing issues relating to collections. He advised the next meeting is scheduled for February 28. He said the Committee is also considering holding meeting via video conferencing.
Court of Appeals
Judge Schultheis reported the AOC had assisted in providing information to the legislature regarding administrative hearings with de novo appeals to the Court of Appeals. Based on 176 cases per year, the de novo appeals would require an additional 16 judges.
Judge Fleck reported the SCJA is working with DOC and JRA on community sentencing alternatives.
District and Municipal Courts
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp thanked the Board for their support of the filing fee bill. He advised that the bill will also have the support of the Governor. They are currently seeking signatures for the bill.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Respectfully submitted, Jude Cryderman
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