Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge Deborah Fleck, member-chair; Judge Mary Kay Becker; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Leonard Costello; Judge Stephen Holman; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Robert McSeveney; Judge Alicia Nakata; Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall; Judge Evan Sperline; Judge Michael Trickey; and Mr. Ron Ward
Guests present: Ms. Jan Michels; Ms. Pat Swartos; Ms. Renee Townsley; and Judge Gregory Tripp
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Doug Haake; Mr. Jeff Hall; Ms. Yvonne Pettus; and Ms. Ann Sweeney
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair.
Chief Justice Alexander introduced Judge Mary Kay Becker, Presiding Chief Judge, Court of Appeals.
It was moved by Judge Churchill and seconded by Judge Costello to approve the minutes of the March 18, 2005, meeting as published. The motion carried.
Ms. Pettus advised that the work group recommendations were discussed during the Court of Appeals' business meeting at their recent spring conference. The Court of Appeals voted to recommend to the Board for Judicial Administration that the Board support the recommendations of the work group.
Judge Quinn-Brintnall said that there is no problem with the mandate form, although there is some confusion among the members of the Court of Appeals. She indicated she has concerns about how this will work statewide.
The Board discussed the best way to handle the matter and whether it is the responsibility of the Court to calendar the matter. Issues raised include:
Brief discussion followed. The motion passed.
Ms. Pettus will provide this information to the Work Group.
Ms. McLane announced that Ms. Pettus will leave AOC after 19 years to become the court administrator at Tacoma Municipal Court. Ms. McLane continued, Yvonne has been at the center of many of the improvements over the years as demonstrated by her lead of the performance standards and technical teams. The Board acknowledged the contributions of Ms. Pettus.
Judge Fleck directed attention to pages 11 and 12 and briefly reviewed those changes in the plan. The Board briefly discussed the reorganization of the courts of limited jurisdiction into regional courts. It was agreed the reorganization recommendation should be removed from the long-range plan and put on a future agenda.
The following editing changes were made to the long-range plan:
With those changes it was moved by Judge Costello and seconded by Judge Quinn-Brintnall to approve the Long-range Plan with the changes as noted above. The motion carried.
Trial Court Coordinating Councils
Judge Holman briefly reviewed the written status report.
Mr. Hall reviewed the summary of bills of interest to the Board.
5903 - which would have officially put parental representation into the purview of OPD is dead, but funding was provided.
1542 - providing indigent defense has passed both houses, but a null and void clause was added in the House. Mr. Hall expects that it will not be referenced in the budget bill so it will lapse.
1747 - creating the Office of Civil Legal Aid has passed both Houses and is headed to the Governor's desk for signature.
5454 - passed out of the House as amended by the House and will return to the Senate for concurrence. Work is being done to ensure that the Senate doe not concur with the House amendment.
Mr. Hall said that he spoke with Senator Prentice and Senator Kline, who indicated there will be sufficient funds to fund everything we want - parental representation, civil legal services and indigent defense and the inclusion of the judges' salaries and trial court improvement accounts. He continued, there is some question as to how much of the judges' salaries will be funded.
A brief discussion followed regarding judges' salaries. Judge Fleck spoke about the editorials and articles in support of court funding that have appeared in several Washington papers.
BJA Member-chair Election
Chief Justice Alexander reminded the members that the election of the next BJA member-chair will take place at the June meeting. The Board requested that the nominations be provided a week prior to the June meeting.
Judge Fleck felt the member-chair should be elected from the trial court level, even though the bylaws are not specific about the member-chair being from the trial court level.
Mr. Hall directed attention to the draft responses to frequently asked questions regarding the public disclosure reporting requirement of lobbying activities by elected judges. He briefly reviewed those questions. Judge Sperline requested that Mr. Hall include a reference to the authority for each answer.
Public Guardian Data Collection
Ms. McLane reminded the Board that following Judge Eadie's March report, they wanted to get a better sense of the problems that Judge Eadie thinks are in our system in terms of incapacitated people without guardians or services.
Ms. McLane advised that she had a conversation with Paul Sherfey, King County Superior Court, and Judge Vicki Hogan, chair of the Certified Profession Guardian Board. Judge Hogan suggested that the Board could be of assistance in crafting a questionnaire. Judge Hogan will take this to next week's Board meeting. AOC will work with Judge Hogan to formulate the questionnaire.
Judge Sperline stated it may be an opportunity for providing assistance and resources to non-professional guardians such as public guardians.
Ms. McLane reported the Commission is down to its last two meetings: Wenatchee and Seattle. She advised that Judge Costello, Judge Harris, Judge Bridgewater and Judge Eileen Kato attended the Vancouver hearing. She continued, although the judiciary did not make a presentation, they did have an opportunity to interact with some of the Commission members.
Ms. McLane advised that Judge Paula Casey will attend the National Security Summit next week in Washington, D.C.
Ms. McLane briefly reviewed the draft security questionnaire. The questionnaire will not be finalized until Judge Casey returns from the conference.
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp reported since its inception, the Board has always been called the Access to Justice Board. The Board has changed its name to the Alliance for Equal Justice (AEJ). He said AEJ is working with the Practice of Law Board on the licensing of legal technicians.
Judge Tripp advised that AEJ will provide a list of candidates to the Supreme Court to assist them in the selection of the director of the Office of Civil Legal Aid.
Judge Tripp reminded the Board that the Access to Justice Conference is June 5-7 at the Doubletree in Bellevue.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Ward reported the Board of Governors approved an amendment to CR 23 to direct 25 percent of class action residual funds to civil legal services. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Supreme Court Rules Committee.
Mr. Ward advised that the loan repayment assistance program will commence in the Fall. He noted that the average debt load for a graduate of a Washington law school is $80,000. Mr. Ward said that the purpose of the program is to assist in the reduction or elimination of portions of the debt in exchange for civil legal services.
Mr. Ward said he has been making an effort to connect with the non-legal community and as a result a member of the banking community now sits on the LAW Fund for Washington. Mr. Ward stated he has also attended several county bar association meetings recently.
Reports from the Courts
Court of Appeals
Judge Becker said, the Court is following all decisions relating to Blakely. Judge Becker advised that the Sentencing Guidelines Commission is rethinking the SRA as a whole. They have asked some of the former members to participate in this review. Judge Becker also advised they participated in the Appellate Judges' Spring Conference in Walla Walla.
Judge Quinn-Brintnall indicated, in the past, when the Supreme Court reversed a COA decision they would provide a copy of the opinion or order to the COA judges, that is no longer is happening. Judge Quinn-Brintnall requested that a copy of the opinion be included with the mandate.
Judge Costello informed the Board that the SCJA Spring Conference begins Sunday at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson.
Judge Costello advised that it is time for the changing of the guard. As of Tuesday, April 26, Judge Michael Trickey will take over as President of the association. It is anticipated that Judge Mike Cooper, Kittitas County, will become the President-elect.
Judge Costello reported that the association's legislative committee has spent a huge amount of time making phone calls and writing letters in support of Court Funding.
District and Municipal Courts
Judge Nakata said they have had great success in the legislature this session, in particular anti-harassment and additional judge bills.
Judge Nakata advised that they are reviewing the IRLJs and are close to forwarding the rule changes to the Supreme Court for review.
The next meeting is May 20 at the SeaTac facility.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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