Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair, Judge Stephen Brown, Mr. Dale Carlisle, Judge Vicki Churchill, Judge Leonard Costello, Judge Stephen Dwyer, Judge Deborah Fleck, co-chair, Judge Stephen Holman, Judge Eileen Kato, Justice Barbara Madsen, Mr. J. Richard Manning, Ms. Mary McQueen, Judge Kathleen O’Connor, Judge Karen Seinfeld, and Judge Evan Sperline
Guests present: Mr. Harold Delia, Ms. Jan Michels, Mr. Paul Sherfey and Mr. Joe Schuster
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin, Ms. Jude Cryderman, Mr. Jeff Hall and Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Call to Order
Judge Fleck, co-chair, called the meeting to order.
Paul Sherfey, Harold Delia, and Joe Schuster were introduced to the Board.
It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the July 18, 2003 meeting as published. Motion carried.
Superior Court Judges’ Association Representatives to Best Practices Committee
Judge O’Connor reported that the Association recommended an additional year be added to Judge McKeeman’s term on Best Practices. They also recommended the appointment of Judge Donald Haley and Judge Michael Cooper to two year terms on the Committee.
Judge O’Connor moved for the approval of the three appointments. Judge Seinfeld second and the motion carried.
Trial Court Coordination Councils
Island/San Juan Judicial District
Judge Churchill reported that the Island/San Juan judicial district received a grant for video conferencing from BJA. Judge Churchill reported goals of the project included reduction in the number of prisoners transported between Coupeville and Friday Harbor; reduction in travel expenses and reduction in risk to the officers and prisoners during transporting. She advised it took 4 months to identify the problems between the two phone companies. All involved are pleased with the quality of both the image and sound. Because it takes four lines out of each county, the monthly service charge is expensive. Judge Churchill advised that the state Department of Information Services is checking into whether scan lines can be used for video conferencing.
Judge Churchill advised that small counties with transportation problems must look to technology. She continued although they have good video conferencing, they are not sure however that the judicial district can afford the expense. She also advised that San Juan/Island judicial district is a unique area in sense of geographic diversity.
Mr. Delia advised that Judge Hahn and Judge Reukauf, presiding judges in Yakima County expressed their appreciation to the BJA and AOC staff for their support to Yakima County.
Mr. Delia reported Yakima County has three projects they have been working on (1) Court leadership in the examination of the criminal justice system and how different parts interact and impact each other; (2) an examination of the Yakima County Superior and District Court Consolidation effort and how it can be expanded into other areas of the court system; and (3) how Yakima County Courts will deal effectively with each other and governmental entities as a independent branch of government.
Mr. Delia pointed out the project outcomes for court leadership in the examination of the criminal justice system and how different parts interact and impact each other are:
The next project was an examination of the Yakima County Superior and District Court Consolidation effort and how it can be expanded in other areas of the court. Those outcomes are:
The last project was how the courts in Yakima County will deal effectively with each other and other governmental entities as an independent branch of government. Outcomes are:
Mr. Delia thanked the BJA for the grant money awarded to Yakima County. He stated the continued assistance from AOC staff is invaluable.
King County—Therapeutic Court Information Access Project
Mr. Sherfey thanked the Board for funding King County’s project. He said the funding was the impetus that brought the various parties together to form the Trial Court Coordination Council.
Mr. Sherfey reported the Therapeutic Court Information Access Project goal was to connect the information systems between the King County Superior court Drug Court, the Seattle Municipal Court Mental Health Court and the King County District Court Mental Health Court. Mr. Sherfey continued, reporting capabilities have been added to the project so interested parties can obtain paper copies of the information contained in the system
Mr. Schuster provided a demonstration of the data base that was created to allow communicate between the three courts.
Chief Justice Alexander thanked the presenters for their time. Chief Justice Alexander asked each of the presenters to author articles for “Full Court Press.” He indicated those articles would be drafted by Ms. Wendy Ferrell. Ms. Ferrell will forward the article to the three counties for review.
Best Practices Committee
Judge Sperline reported that AOC, under the guidance of Dr. Andy Glenn, conducted an examination of all of the financial assessments imposed by the courts of limited jurisdiction in 2000.
Judge Sperline explained the tables that he had created from the survey information.
Judge Sperline asked whether some type of communication should be sent to the courts, since we are able to identify rankings in particular courts.
The Board briefly discussed the dissemination of the survey results, in particular, providing the information without finger pointing.
It was moved by Judge Seinfeld and seconded by Judge Dwyer that the chair of the Best Practices Committee communicate with those courts that responded to the survey by sending out a summary of the survey results. Motion passed.
Next the Board briefly discussed enforcement of judgments. Chief Justice Alexander pointed out that once a court imposes a judgment, it is the responsibility of the court to collect on the judgment. Ms. McQueen agreed that enforcing the judgment is an official, appropriate purpose of the courts.
Ms. McQueen recommended the Best Practices Committee share some of the practices that have been identified nationally that work for collections. Judge Sperline indicated the Committee would provide additional information at the September meeting.
Court Funding Task Force
Mr. Hall reported the Task Force Work Groups are continuing to meet. He indicated that although there is no closure on issues, the loops are getting smaller and starting to come together.
Mr. Hall stated this group is working behind the scenes trying to finalize fiscal data from the trial courts. They are in the process of developing a spread sheet to assist with how much is being spent and how much should be spent. He reported that staffing takes up about 80 percent of the trial courts' budgets.
This group is in the process of identifying those functional areas with nexus closest to the state. They are identifying those areas which could be moved to state funding. This group will next discuss user fees.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Ms. McLane reported this work group is drafting proposed legislation for the 2004 session. The draft legislation may be available in September or October.
Public Education and Implementation Strategies
Both of these groups are “waiting in the wings.” The next meeting of the Implementation Strategies Work Group is scheduled for September 12.
Mr. Hall advised that the Task Force will meet as a whole on September 5.
Reports from the Courts
Court of Appeals
Judge Seinfeld reported Division I is taking cases from Division II. She said the tight fiscal times are forcing coordination of efforts. Judge Seinfeld advised that cost of unemployment benefits has impacted the Court of Appeals, so they will be looking to the supplemental budget to cover those expenses.
Judge Brown advised that Division III is experiencing severe cuts—more than anticipated. Ten personnel are affected in Division III. Judge Brown continued, the court decided to freeze travel, eliminate security, cut operating costs, and two chambers will have 1 ½ clerks to stretch their funds. In addition, Judge Brown reported in total, Division III will be cutting $163,000 this year and $292,000 the next. Division III will be bare bones.
Judge O’Connor reported the Board of Trustees will meet next Friday. In terms of finances, all of the counties are in the same boat. This may be the first time that Spokane may lose personnel.
Judge O’Connor said the SCJA is basically doing administrative items this summer. In addition, meeting with legislators to discuss initiatives for next session, i.e., DOC, family matters.
Judge O’Connor indicated the Supreme Court Rules Committee is really working hard. Rules for comment have been parceled out to the appropriate SCJA committees.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Dwyer noted first with regard to the Court Funding Task Force, local practices make it harder and harder to define those items.
Second, he indicated that he spoke with judges who are concerned about the Court Funding Task Force. In particular, what is the potential downside to Jeff Hall getting all of this budget information if it shows that one county is more efficient than another? He said there is a real fear about the misuse of numbers. He pointed out that he wanted the Board to be aware of those concerns.
Judge Dwyer reported that Judge Padden had a recent discussion with Senator McCaslin during which Senator McCaslin indicated that perhaps Judge Padden might want to testify on a couple of bills before his committee.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Manning reported the Bar’s lease is due to expire the end of 2006. He said the Bar has established a Facilities Committee chaired by Brooke Taylor. He said the Committee is considering the extension of the current lease and is also looking at several facilities in downtown Seattle.
Mr. Manning next reported that Randy Gordon was elected to the Board as a new Governor for the 8th district. Mr. Gordon will completed the unexpired term of Ron Ward.
Mr. Manning announced WSBA Outstanding Judge of the Year will be presented to Judge Stephen Dwyer. Judge Dwyer will be presented with the award at this year’s Washington Judicial Conference.
The Board was advised that the BOG approved a policy stating that e-mail address for those who have them will be mandatory contact information beginning in 2005.
The BOG approved a first small step for the Professional Develop of Lawyers Committee. The recommendations include four hours of skills training and an additional 15 hours of skills training during the first year after admission to practice. Mr. Manning indicated that he hopes to chair the committee for skills training.
The BOG is considering a proposed resolution calling on Washington’s congressional delegation to support federal legislation to create an exception to the Controlled Substance Act for the medical use of marijuana in Washington State.
Sarbanes-Oxley regulations—client privilege. The BOG adopted an interim formal ethics opinion which clarifies that acting under the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations does not absolve Washington lawyers from the confidentiality provisions of the RPCs.
The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for Sunday, September 21 at the Tacoma Sheraton Hotel.
No further business, meeting adjourned.
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