Board for Judicial Administration
Members Present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge William Baker; Mr. Dale Carlisle; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Sara Derr; Judge Stephen Dwyer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Stephen Holman; Judge Vicki Hogan; Ms. Mary McQueen; Judge Robert McSeveney; Judge Kathleen O’Connor; Judge James M. Riehl, co-chair; and Judge Karen Seinfeld.
Guests Present: Justice Mary Fairhurst, Judge Gordon Godfrey, Ms. Jan Michels, Mr. Paul Sherfey, Judge Gregory Tripp and Mr. Ron Ward
Staff Present: Ms. Julia Appel, Mr. Gil Austin, Ms. Jude Cryderman, Ms. Wendy Ferrell, Mr. Doug Haake, Mr. Jeff Hall, Ms. Janet McLane and Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Call to order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co- chair.
Chief Justice Alexander recognized the guests present.
The minutes of the May 16, 2003 meeting were approved as distributed.
Election of Co-Chair for 2003-2005
The nominations for the position of co-chair of the BJA were opened. Judge Hogan nominated Judge Deborah Fleck for co-chair. Judge Baker seconded the nomination.
It was moved and seconded that the unanimous ballot be passed for Judge Fleck. The motion passed unanimously.
Chief Justice Alexander acknowledged the work of Judge Riehl in his capacity as co-chair.
Judge Riehl responded that he has not seen the judiciary speak as one voice as it has in the last 3 years. He recognized the fact that BJA wields power throughout the state. He continued, nationally Washington State’s judiciary is way ahead of the curve.
Best Practices Committee
Ms. Pettus advised half of members’ terms expire this week. She reminded the members that the Board is required to approve the reappointment of Judge Buzzard and the appointment of Judge Brown.
It was moved by Judge O’Connor and seconded by Judge Holman to approve the reappointment of Judge Buzzard and the appointment of Judge Brown to the Best Practices Committee. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Hall thanked BJA for their support. He acknowledged the guidance and support provided by Gail Stone during this last session. He reported the budget has passed, but has not been signed by the Governor.
Ms. McQueen thanked the members of the Board for their support. She pointed out that Judges Churchill and Hancock were very effective in their contact with Representative Barry Sehlin.
Interim Legislative Plans
Mr. Hall indicated two items need attention: 1) legislative relations and 2) 2004 legislative agenda. He suggested the best approach would be to meet with key legislative leadership one on one. Mr. Hall suggested the need for a legislative bench book for judges.
Judge Seinfeld said when she was on the superior court, legislators were given a tour of the courthouse. The legislators also had an opportunity to have lunch with the judges in the jury room.
Ms. McQueen said she thought it important to develop individual relationships with the legislators. She continued, it is not only important to meet with legislative leaders, but also with legislative staff.
Mr. Hall indicated there should be a meeting with both the republican and democratic caucuses. He added, we should go to leadership and find out what is on their agenda. He also indicated members would be more candid with fewer people in the room. Mr. Hall said this would provide an opportunity to focus on issues important to them.
Chief Justice Alexander questioned what Mr. Hall meant. The Chief Justice replied that we need to set our own agenda.
Judge Derr said she likes the idea of having a legislative bench book for judges. She indicated that one on one meetings with legislators are critical. Judge Derr felt the meetings with the republican and democratic members should be held separately.
Judge Fleck also agreed that the bench book would be a helpful tool.
Judge Baker, chair of the legislative committee, asked for volunteers to assist with developing a strategy for the next legislative session. Ms. McQueen volunteered. Judge Baker said that Justice Fairhurst, as chair of Public Trust and Confidence and designee should be included in this group. In addition, Judge Derr, Judge Fleck and Dick Manning agreed to assist.
Judge Riehl requested a written plan be submitted to members prior to the next meeting.
Court of Appeals
Judge Seinfeld reported the volume of appeals in Division II is increasing tremendously. She continued PRPs in Division II have exceeded those in Division I. Judge Seinfeld indicated they were just trying to stay up with caseload.
Judge Baker reported that the full court is considering how to assist Division II. Judge Baker advised that Division I has laid off two staff lawyers and are in the planning mode for the possibility of laying off additional employees.
Judge Seinfeld reported that Division II may have to lay off employees. They are waiting for final budget. She indicated the way the legislature writes the budget even if the FTEs are eliminated, if dollars are available they would be able to keep employees.
Judge O’Connor reported she has been working with administrative staff and Ms. McQueen to hammer out an agreement on the proposed e-filing rule (GR 30). Judge O’Connor said John Bell has been very instrumental in drafting language for GR 30. She said the proposal is sure to raise comments, particularly in the area of domestic cases.
Judge O’Connor reported on the meeting with Secretary Braddock (DSHS) during which concerns over the centralized in-take were discussed. Secretary Braddock advised that except for a small portion of cases, centralized in-take would be dismantled. Placements will once again be done regionally. Judge O’Connor stated this is a huge victory with positive results for everyone.
Judge O’Connor indicated the SCJA was pleased with the 2003 legislative session. She advised that Becca was funded, the juvenile bill passed, and SCJA worked with DOC on legislative changes.
District and Municipal Courts
Judge Dwyer reported their annual meeting took place in Spokane.
Judge Dwyer explained, as an organization their budget has been cut from $103,000 to $79,000 for next year. He reported 239 judicial officers are required by statute to belong to the association, of those approximately five dozen have not paid dues. He continued, numerous judges were under the impression that local government was paying dues. Judge Dwyer updated the Board on recent changes made to the DMCJA bylaws.
Judge Dwyer advised that at the behest of part-time district court judges a salary survey had been conducted. The salary survey indicates part-time municipal court judges are paid 40 percent more per hour than part-time district court judges. In addition, many part-time district court judges do not receive the same benefits that part-time municipal court judges do.
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp reported their annual conference was well attended. He stated the BJA received a well deserved award.
Judge Tripp advised the Board that a great deal of effort has been put into the access to justice technology bill of rights. He said that Don Horowitz might want to make presentation to BJA during a future meeting.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Carlisle directed the Board's attention to the New Flash contained in the materials. Mr. Carlisle pointed out that Mr. Ron Ward was elected as president for 2004-05. Mr. Ward will begin his term as president in September 2004.
Mr. Carlisle advised that Mark Johnson won the run-off for the 7th district seat on the Bar Board of Governors.
Mr. Carlisle advised that the BOG adopted the five recommendations of the Professional Development Committee: 1) the WSBA will work to strengthen mentoring programs, 2) implement skills-based testing, 3) review the Rule 9 Intern program, 4) request that Washington law schools re-examine their curriculum based on the MacCrate lawyering skills and values, and 5) appoint a task force to develop recommendations relating to the adoption of pre-licensure practical experience. This year-long effort was chaired by Jeff Tolman.
Mr. Carlisle stated one of recommendations is that certain special CLE programs for new lawyers would be required.
Mr. Carlisle mentioned the BOG adopted the plan for responding to unjust criticism of judges. He advised this is the Bar’s version of “fire brigade.” Ms. Michels stated the quick response team had responded to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s criticism of a recent Supreme Court decision.
Chief Justice Alexander indicated he did receive a copy of the Bar’s letter that was provided to each member of the Supreme Court. He indicated that the Court needs to be careful that they are not in the business of promoting people to come to their defense.
Judge Riehl pointed out that Judge Dwyer had been given the 2003 award for outstanding judge of the year.
Public Trust and Confidence Committee
Justice Fairhurst thanked the Board for confidence in her in their selection of her as chair of the Public Trust and Confidence Committee. She stated she is eager to work with other members in educating the public about the judiciary, the role played by the judiciary and the difference the judiciary makes in the community.
Justice Fairhurst indicated that the Committee is interested in innovative outreach programs, including juror appreciation and education pamphlets. Justice Fairhurst asked if any of the BJA members had feedback.
The Board briefly discussed the financial impact on citizens serving on juries. In particular, jurors not only pay for parking and transportation, but also for the cost of their lunch. It was also pointed out that jurors who are self-employed have the additional hardship of lost wages. The Board also discussed the necessity to find a way for jurors to serve without financial discomfort to jurors.
Chief Justice Alexander asked the Public Trust and Confidence Committee to discuss the juror issue. He asked that the Committee report their recommendations to BJA.
Trial Court Coordination Council
Judge Holman reported the TCCC is quite active in Kitsap County. Judge Holman advised the Council is comprised of judges from each court level, along with court managers. The sheriff attends, but is not a voting member.
Judge Holman said that Kitsap’s TCCC has addressed anti-harassment and restraining order issues. Every court in Kitsap County has enacted a court rule that does not allow a domestic violence offender to be bailed out before seeing a judge.
Judge Holman added another Kitsap County project is addressing the problem of conflicting orders. When a restraining order is issued by superior court in a domestic relations case, another judge, hearing another matter involving one or more of the individuals covered in the superior court restraining order, may issue a criminal no-contact order that conflicts with the superior court order. The Council is looking at ways to prevent the issuance of these orders or resolve conflicting orders quickly.
Judge Holman concluded it is encouraging to see that the Council is working. Hopefully, the Council will be willing to take on bigger issues.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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