Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge Deborah Fleck, co-chair; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Leonard Costello; Judge Stephen Holman; Judge Eileen Kato; Judge Kenneth Kato; Judge Faye Kennedy; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Robert McSeveney; Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall; Judge James Riehl; and Mr. Ron Ward
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair.
ABA Recommendation Regarding Budget Submission
Judge Fleck reminded the members that the ABA Recommendation was originally brought before the Board at its September meeting. She directed attention to A (2) of the Black Letter Recommendations. That recommendation reads “There should be direct submission of the judicial branch budget to the funding authority.”
Mr. Hall explained that charter counties have three branches of government. In charter counties the county executive can require that courts cut their budget and the county executive can change the courts’ budget. Mr. Hall advised that John Bell, legal analyst for AOC, drafted a memorandum discussing the issue of whether a statute change would trump county charters.
It was moved by Judge Kennedy and seconded by Judge Churchill that the statutory fix that provides for the judicial branch’s budget submission directly to the funding authority be made part of the 2006 legislative agenda. The motion passed unanimously.
Legislative Report – Water Courts
Judge O’Connor reported she had spoken with the House Judiciary, Senate Agriculture and Water and the Department of Natural Resources. She said the report was well received by both Committees.
Judge O’Connor advised that the election and appointment of judges was well received at the legislative hearings. She said she left with the sense that the election of judges to the water courts may cause undue pressure, thus discouraging good people from applying.
Judge O’Connor suggested that it may be appropriate for the Water Courts Work Group to revisit the election issue. She briefly discussed the possibility of using the federal bankruptcy appointment process as a potential model. A brief discussion followed.
It was moved by Judge Costello and seconded by Judge Kennedy to ask the Water Courts Work Group to look at the appointment/election issue and report back to the BJA at its next meeting. The motion carried.
Trial Court Coordination Progress Report
Judge Holman provided a status report for the three counties that were awarded grant money.
King County’s project goal is to coordinate services for customers of the three courts in the downtown Seattle area (superior, district and municipal) by analyzing, developing, and providing the information they need in accurate, consistent, and easily understood ways.
To be completed:
Kitsap County’s goal is to provide all law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and victim advocacy agencies within Kitsap County twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, access to all domestic violence related orders issued by the several courts of Kitsap County which are still in full force and effect. Order information will be available via internet access to a secured website maintained by the Kitsap County District Court.
To be completed:
Okanogan County’s goal is to construct a secure courtroom for in-custody felon and misdemeanant defendant hearings. Also to conduct a pilot project to hold intermediary type hearings over the Internet. Test WebCam equipment for use in holding hearings between defendants in the Okanogan County Jail and a judge located in a city in the Seattle area who has a housing contract agreement with Okanogan County.
To be completed:
Ms. McLane reported that Mr. Owen had provided a brief overview of his interviews with members of the judiciary to Ms. Byington, Salary Commission Chair; Ms. Sayer, Salary Commission Executive Director; Chief Justice Alexander; Justice Madsen, Judge Costello and herself. Mr. Owen will make a formal presentation to the Commission on January 27.
Ms. McLane advised that the judges will make their presentation at the January 27 Commission meeting. The presentation will be made by Justice Madsen, as Chief Justice Alexander is attending the Conference of Chief Justices mid-year meeting. Judge Elaine Houghton, Judge Costello and Judge Eileen Kato will also attend the Olympia meeting. The judiciary has been allotted 25-30 minutes for that presentation. The Commission will adopt its preliminary salary schedule during the January meeting.
Ms. McLane advised that the recommendation will be for a cost of living increase for the next two years, plus an additional one to two percent increase in an effort to gain parity with the federal bench. The recommendation will endorse the equal increments between court levels.
It was moved by Judge Eileen Kato and seconded by Judge Costello to support the recommendation of the cost of living for the next two years, retaining the equal increments between court levels, and an additional increase toward parity with the federal bench. The motion passed.
Mr. Hall reported that the Supreme Court had hosted the Law School for Legislators lunch the first part of January. Approximately 20 new legislators attended.
Mr. Hall advised that BJA is sponsoring nine bills, including:
Mr. Hall reported next that he is working on sponsorship for the following bills:
The Board was advised several court funding presentation were last week by Janet McLane and Judge Fleck. The Board briefly discussed priorities of the court funding bills.
Mr. Hall advised that AOC internal legislative tracking will be available via extranet in a week or two. The system will allow the judges to view information regarding the positions taken on any bills tracked by AOC.
SeaTac Facility Report
Mr. Radwan reported the SeaTac facility will be available for use beginning February 1. He advised that the new space is 60 percent larger, but costs less money, than the Two Union Square facility.
Mr. Radwan explained parking and the Wally Park shuttle service.
Reports from the Courts
Court of Appeals
Judge Quinn-Brintnall reported they have a staff attorney position open.
Judge Kennedy reported a memorial service for Judge Ringold has been scheduled for March 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Judge Ken Kato reported that Division III will be sitting in Kennewick and Yakima in the January and February.
Judge Costello reported following the recent swearing-ins, there are currently 179 superior court judges.
The Superior Court Judges’ legislative committee has begun their Friday afternoon meetings. This year, retired Judge Wartnik is screening the bills for the Association.
The Board cancelled their January meeting and will combine with February. The Association will hold their Long-range Planning retreat in LaConnor during March and their Spring Conference is scheduled for April at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson.
District and Municipal Courts
Judge Eileen Kato indicated their January Board meeting was also cancelled.
Judge Eileen Kato reported that Judge Paja is working hard on this year’s legislation.
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp reported their Board had met on January 7. He advised that Judge Steve Gonzalez and attorney Greg Dellaire were nominated as new members of the Board.
Judge Tripp thanked the BJA and the Bar for their continued support.
Judge Tripp reminded the members that the Goldmark Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, February 18.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Ward pointed out that the News Flash provides a brief overview of the Board of Governors’ activities.
Mr. Ward advised that the BOG’s semi-annual meeting with the Supreme Court takes place on Friday, January 21. Items schedule for discussion include: practice of law, discipline, law week, diversity program, profession development, implementation of Casemaker.
Mr. Ward reported the Bar had received over 60 applicants for their Fellowship Program. Of the 60, 10 will be selected for the Program.
Mr. Hall briefly reviewed the fourth quarter report of the BJA account.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 18 at the SeaTac Facility.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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