Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Judge Deborah Fleck, co-chair, Judge Vickie Churchill, Judge Leonard Costello, Judge Sara Derr, Judge Stephen Holman, Judge Elaine Houghton, Judge Eileen Kato, Judge Faye Kennedy, Judge Gerald Knight, Justice Barbara Madsen, Ms. Janet McLane, Judge Alicia Nakata, Judge James M. Riehl, Mr. Dave Savage and Judge Evan Sperline
Guests present: Mr. Richard Carlson, Ms. Barb Miner, Ms. Renee Townsley and Judge Gregory Tripp
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin, Ms. Jude Cryderman, Mr. Doug Haake, Mr. Jeff Hall and Ms. Yvonne Pettus
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Judge Deborah Fleck, Co-chair.
It was moved by Judge Knight and seconded to approve the minutes of the October 15, 2004 meeting. Judge Costello pointed out that the reference to superior court commissioners in the third paragraph on page 5 should actually read district court commissioners. The minutes were approved as amended.
Judge Eileen Kato received clarification of the issue referred to the Associations regarding the ABA’s recommendations for budget submissions. That issue will be place on the January BJA agenda.
Mr. Hall explained that it is time to send out dues assessment statements. He reminded the members that the dues pay for costs associated with travel to the salary commission meetings and hearings, costs associated with the legislative dinners, overages for those meals associated with BJA functions, and miscellaneous expenses that cannot be paid with state funds.
It was moved by Judge Costello and seconded to approve the distribution of the BJA dues assessment statements. The motion carried.
BJA Legislative Recommendations
Judge Churchill briefly reviewed the proposed 2005 legislative agenda as recommended by the legislative committee. Those recommendations include:
Bills from prior session
Mr. Hall briefly advised that the legislative committee’s work is complete. He explained that the executive committee, legislative chairs of both associations and Justice Bridge will meet weekly (via conference) during legislative session.
It was moved by Judge Derr and seconded by Judge Eileen Kato to support the 2005 legislative agenda as recommended by the BJA Legislative Committee. The motion passed.
BJA Court Funding Implementation Committee
Mr. Hall reported that the legislation for trial court operations would be combined into one bill. He said the combined proposal would include shifting 50 percent of the judges’ salaries and 50 percent of the juror costs, along with the user fee package and the court improvement account. Mr. Hall stated that AOC staff would craft a short intent section.
Judge Fleck indicated concern that the user fee piece might be co-opted to meet constitutional requirements for indigent defense. Judge Fleck also voiced concern that the proposed language doesn’t allow for adjustments for inflation.
Judge Sperline pointed out that we are not trying to maintain the 2005 funding level, but instead the programs, operations and staff that are funded for 2005. He said if the budget is less than the 2005 budget, the account for trial court improvements could not be touched.
Judge Nakata indicated concern that without specific intent language the funds could be used for items that are not really considered trial court operations. She said that could include jails and staff. She suggested adding some definition in the intent paragraph or adding “as approved by the Presiding Judge.”
Judge Costello said the decision should be based on what we want or what we can sell. He felt the more specific the language, the greater the opposition from the counties. He was also concerned about language requiring approval by the Presiding Judge. Judge Costello said he preferred the broader language opposed to the specific.
Judge Sperline recommended the language: “funds in the city trial court improvement account shall be used to fund improvements to, expansion of, or additions to staffing, programs, facilities or services as they existed in 2005.”
Judge Riehl indicated that he is concerned about the BJA amending language after the Implementation Committee has spend many meetings discussing the issue.
Judge Churchill said she had several issues: supplement and not-supplant and tying to year 2005 without a provision for adjustments for inflation.
Mr. Savage pointed out that without the partnership of the cities and counties the legislation will fail. He said the counties and cities will not go along with the non-supplanting language.
It was moved by Judge Riehl and seconded by Judge Eileen Kato to support the language as recommended by the Implementation Committee.
Brief discussion followed.
The motion failed with a vote of five in favor and six opposed.
Judge Derr moved and Judge Kennedy seconded to adopt the language recommended by Judge Sperline. “Funds in the city trial court improvement account shall be used to fund improvements to, expansion of, or additions to staffing, programs, facilities or services as they existed in 2005.” The motion carried with a vote of seven in favor, two opposed and one abstention.
Mr. Hall explained that the district and municipal court judges’ salary bill had been reworked to provide for the state to pay their share of the salary directly to the judge.
Mr. Hall next directed attention to the filing fees. He advised that a number of additions had been made by the county clerks’ association. All of the fees had been unanimously approved by the Implementation Committee. Mr. Hall pointed out the new section 5 of the bill relating to the jury demand fee. Judge Eileen Kato requested that the section not refer to the justice of the peace.
It was moved by Judge Sperline and seconded by Judge Costello to adopt the bill as proposed. The motion carried.
Indigent Criminal Defense
Mr. Hall indicated that the Implementation Committee has recommended that the BJA to co-sponsor the indigent defense bill with the Bar Association.
It was moved by Judge Knight and seconded by Judge Kennedy that the BJA co-sponsor the indigent criminal defense legislation with the Washington State Bar Association. The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Eileen Kato and seconded by Judge Holman to include the district courts in the change of venue, section 18, of the legislation. The motion carried.
Jury Fee Proposal
Mr. Hall explained that changes had been made to the original proposal. The original proposal was for $10 for the first day of jury service and $45 for the second and each subsequent day of service. Mr. Hall advised that those fees would cause a negative result for King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane Counties. During the last Implementation Committee meeting, the proposal was revised to $10 for the first day and $30 for the second and each subsequent day.
Judge Sperline said he is willing to support the suggestion, but questioned why the proposal gives the county authority to raise the jury fee from $30 to $45 with the counties paying all of the increase.
Mr. Hall explained as he traveled around the state, he found that four jurisdictions currently pay more than $10 for the first day of service and he did not want to undermine those counties. He continued the state will pay one-half of the amounts in the proposal, but the county may pay their jurors more at the county’s expense, as they currently do.
The Board discussed variations of the jury fee amounts. Judge Costello suggested a minimum of $30 for the second day of service up to a maximum of $45 with the state paying 50% of the amount set locally.
It was moved by Judge Sperline to approve language proposed modifying the state’s contribution to one-half of the juror fees ranging from $30-$45 for the second and subsequent days of service. Judge Costello seconded the motion and it carried.
Mr. Hall directed attention to Section 4 of the proposed bill. The section directs the creation of a trial court improvement account.
Long-range Planning Committee
Judge Fleck directed attention to the proposed long-range plan. She advised that the committee has met and made changes to the original draft. She asked the Board to review the Plan and be prepared to discuss at the December meeting.
Mr. Hall explained the need to expand the membership of the long-range planning committee by adding representatives from the Judicial Information System Committee and the Board for Court Education to the LRP Committee.
It was moved by Judge Kennedy and seconded by Judge Costello to approve the addition of members from the Judicial Information System and the Board for Court Education to the Long-range Planning Committee. The motion passed.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Savage advised that the Bar Board of Governors’ unanimously approved the inclusion of Indian law on the bar exam.
Mr. Savage reported that the Bar is moving into implementation of a full-time diversity advocacy position within the Bar. He said this is a high level position that will begin the first of the year. This position will also provide support to the Washington Leadership Program.
Mr. Savage said that the Bar is moving to implement a Legislative Strategy Task Force. The Task Force is not designed to address immediate issues, but rather look at the overall strategy and approach. The Task Force will begin its work in Olympia next week.
Judge Fleck advised that the second edition of the Justice in Jeopardy Bulletin has been published by AOC. Highlights include trial court improvements, CLJ Work Group and court funding statistics.
Judge Fleck reported that the executive summary of the Court Funding Task Force was drafted. She anticipates it being available for the legislative dinners. Judge Fleck advised that AOC will be putting together a “formal roll-out” of the CFTF Report that will include a press conference.
Mr. Hall advised that speaker packets for the legislative dinners would be distributed the end of November.
Mr. Hall reported that attendance was good at the first dinner held on November 15. The next dinner is scheduled for December 2 in Olympia. Currently 16 legislators have indicated they will attend the Olympia dinner. Mr. Hall went on to say that the Spokane, Yakima and Vancouver dinners are not as well attended.
Ms. McLane thanked Mr. Hall for spending the majority of the past month on the road meeting with individual benches across the state. She noted the need for the involvement and support of every judge in the state.
Juror Orientation Video/CD
Ms. McLane said that the Department of Information Services will produce the revised juror orientation video/CD. All of the “actors” have not yet been identified. Tape is scheduled to take place in December with the product available in February.
Brief discussion followed regarding the script for the video and an additional introductory tape with an extended explanation. It was suggested that the Public Trust and Confidence Committee work to come up with the extended version.
Presiding Judges’ Conference
Ms. McLane reported that 56 teams have registered for the conference. Chief Justice Alexander will attend Sunday to welcome the group. Ms. McLane and Mr. Hall are scheduled to provide a Court Funding Task Force update.
Mandates and Appeals
Judge Houghton reminded the members that the Court of Appeals had requested the BJA appoint a committee to look at mandate issues. Judge Houghton indicated her recommendation for the chair is Judge C. C. Bridgewater of Division II.
Ms. McLane reported that Mr. Owen had interviewed the 12 judges identified. Mr. Owen presented his overview to the Commission. Mr. Owen is suggesting that the Salary Commission consider a COLA increase over the next two years of the biennium, plus an additional one-two percent increase for each year to edge closer to the salaries of the judges on the federal bench.
Ms. McLane noted that Mr. Owen had stated in his report that he does think the five percent incremental difference is appropriate. Mr. Owen noted his satisfaction from an objective standpoint that the five percent should be maintained. He heard from the judiciary that the increments are justified and important.
Ms. McLane advised the judiciary’s formal presentation to the Salary Commission will be January 27th. Ms. McLane noted that the BJA Salary Subcommittee should come back together the first part of January.
Judge Houghton reported all is well in the Court of Appeals.
Judge Costello indicated they are gearing up for the 2005 legislative session. Their agenda includes:
District and Municipal Courts
Judge Eileen Kato said their legislative agenda is to support the same bills that died during last session. Those include membership on the Judicial Conduct Commission, anti-harassment and decriminalization of “fine only” misdemeanors.
Judge Eileen Kato advised that their legislative committee had met with representatives from the cities who expressed their support for most of the
Court Funding Task Force recommendations with the exception of the election of all judges.
Judge Eileen Kato indicated there is some concern over the Ethics Advisory Opinion that addresses stipulated continuances.
Judge Kato reported that Justice Johnson has asked the Association for input on discovery rules 26 and 36, GR 11 and 11.1.
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp reported that the Supreme Court has requested funding for the ATJ Board. Judge Tripp advised that the Technology Bill of Rights will be considered by the Supreme Court at their December en banc.
Judge Fleck reminded the members that the December meeting is the joint meeting with Court Management Council. It will be held at the Prime Hotel across from SeaTac.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.
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