Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge Deborah Fleck, member-chair; Judge Mary Kay Becker via telephone; Judge Sara Derr; Judge Stephen Holman; Judge Eileen Kato; Judge Ken Kato; Judge Gerald Knight; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Alicia Nakata; Judge James M. Riehl; Judge Evan Sperline; Judge Michael Trickey; and Mr. Ron Ward
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair.
Ms. McLane reported the Salary Commission had met yesterday to adopt a final salary schedule. The Salary Schedule for 2005-06, as adopted May 19, 2005, provides for a two percent cost of living adjustment and an additional one percent equity increase for judges for each year.
Ms. McLane pointed out that Dale Carlisle was key in his support of the recommendation made by the consultant and the information the judiciary presented regarding the loss of judges to private judging and the federal bench. Judge Eileen Kato added that Mr. Carlisle provided additional support through his behind the scenes work.
Chief Justice Alexander and Judge Fleck thanked Ms. McLane and her office for their support.
Ms. McLane indicated she would write thank-you letters to all of the Commission members.
Work Group on Mandates on Appeals
Judge Bridgewater reported that the Work Group had met via conference call on May 12, 2005 to review the amendments proposed by the BJA during its April 15 meeting.
Judge Bridgewater reviewed the three specific issues which commonly arise following issuance of a COA opinion reversing or remanding superior court decisions on criminal charges:
1) WSP's inability to correctly and efficiently update criminal histories;
2) Delay/neglect of trial court re-adjudication upon remand; and
3) Occasional delay/neglect of actual release of a defendant whose conviction has been overturned.
Judge Bridgewater advised that the Work Group and invited participants had met and considered BJA's recommendation that it is the state's responsibility to place the action on the motion calendar. They also discussed the prosecutors' suggestion that the prevailing party should bear the responsibility of putting the action on the motion calendar. The Work Group agreed that not only is it difficult sometimes to determine which party is the prevailing party, but a pro se defendant might not know how to proceed. The Work Group also was presented with the possibility that the Office of Public Defense (OPD) could extend the appellate attorney contracts until the matter is placed on the calendar. The appellate attorney would not draft the order or appear on behalf of the defendant in the trail court, but would effectuate passing the “torch” along by securing appointment of counsel at superior court.
Judge Bridgewater stated that the Work Group considered BJA's proposal that the state be responsible for placing the action on the motion calendar, but after careful consideration concluded that their original recommendation that the trial court should take responsibility for noting cases for hearing should stand.
Brief discussion followed.
It was moved by Judge Sperline and seconded by Justice Madsen to accept and approve the recommendations of the Work Group on Mandates on Appeals and thank the Work Group for its efforts. The motion passed with one vote in opposition.
National Summit on Court Security and Safety
Judge Paula Casey reported she attended the one day National Summit on Court Security and Safety on behalf of Washington State. She said approximately 100 judges, court administrators and law enforcement officials attended the Summit, which was organized by the National Center for State Courts.
Judge Casey said the Summit focused on access to justice issues, i.e., if people do not feel safe and secure at the courthouse, they will not use the courts to resolve legal problems. She continued there was not much focus on specific standards or how courthouses handle specific security issues, but centered more on the process.
Judge Casey pointed out that many states have standing courthouse security committees which have developed statewide security standards. Those standards have been instrumental, in some cases, in securing funding for court security.
Judge Casey suggested that BJA reconstitute a standing statewide security committee charged with updating the standards and guidelines to ensure implementation across the state.
Ms. McLane advised that the draft security survey is ready to go, but we were waiting for Judge Casey's report to determine if any changes to the survey are necessary.
Judge Trickey stated that something needs to be done statewide, not only in-court security, but out-of-court security. He said there should be a method in place for the coordination of in-court security and law enforcement in the areas where the judicial officers reside. He indicated the need for the coordination of law enforcements statewide.
The members discussed the possible funding sources which included Gender and Justice VAWA money and federal grant money.
Mr. Ward noted security has been a matter of personal concern for a long time. He stated he was unable to understand how court security does not have one of the highest priorities in the judicial system. He went on to say the judicial system should be proactive instead of reactive. He emphasized the need to articulate statewide standards.
Judge Riehl stated that the BJA has taken a leadership role in many areas such as funding and salaries and it is time for the BJA to take the lead in reviewing and updating the security standards.
Judge Sperline noted that dollars from the Trial Court Improvement Accounts will go to staff, improvements, and operation. He said statewide security standards would be helpful in obtaining some of the local money. Judge Sperline went on to point out that the courts mandate the citizens' participation in juries and it is their obligation to provide a safe environment for all citizens.
Judge Fleck agreed there is a need to have some group whether ad hoc or a formal BJA committee authorized to review and update the standards and perform security audits.
Chief Justice Alexander said he is not opposed to a standing committee to address court security, but we cannot approach the legislature asking for additional funds in competition with the Court Funding Task Force recommendations.
Judge Sperline moved to suggest the chair appoint a couple of members of the BJA to develop a proposal regarding the auspices, charge, membership and funding sources of a court security committee. They will report back to the BJA. Justice Madsen seconded the motion, which passed.
Chief Justice Alexander asked which members were interested in serving on the small group. Judge Derr, Judge Casey, Judge Sperline and Justice Madsen and Supreme Court bailiff Steve Englehorn (by request of J. Madsen) will comprise the group.
Best Practices Committee
Judge Sperline advised the Committee met on May 6 to discuss the attorney survey and performance audit measures.
Judge Sperline stated there are three scenarios that could trigger a court audit:
Judge Sperline indicated that the Committee will continue to fine tune the performance measures. They are also continuing their work on the survey instruments. The Committee will tackle how the process is different in a court with only one judge, who receives not only all of the praise, but all of the criticism.
Judge Sperline advised the Board that the departure of Yvonne Pettus from AOC to Tacoma Municipal Court has had a big impact on the Committee. He asked that BJA consider expanding the Committee's membership to include one more municipal court administrator. He indicated that Ms. Pettus is willing to serve.
It was moved by Judge Sperline that BJA authorize the expansion of the Best Practices Committee to include an additional administrator from the District and Municipal Court Management Association. The motion was seconded and passed.
Ms. McLane directed attention to the document outlining the bills of interest that passed this session. She briefly reviewed those bills.
Mr. Radwan reviewed the key points of E2SSB 5454 relating to the state's contribution to district court and qualifying municipal court judges' salaries.
Mr. Radwan explained that the salary contribution will be paid prospectively on a quarterly basis. Cities will be required to certify that they have passed an ordinance setting the salary of the municipal court judge at 95% of that of a district court judge. Certification forms will be available on the internet.
Judge Costello asked whether Ms. Sophia Byrd, Association of Counties, is in the process of preparing a draft ordinance. Ms. McLane responded that Ms. Byrd is drafting the ordinance, which will then be circulated to the counties.
The Board discussed the impact that indigency may have on the account. They also talked about whether it is necessary to develop standards, statewide forms and just generally having a more unified approach to the waiver of fees. Chief Justice Alexander advised that he had a conversation with Ms. Siri Woods during which he suggested the clerks provide a draft for BJA review.
The Board next discussed the importance of the state beginning to pay a portion of the district court judges' salaries.
Judge Eileen Kato thanked all of the people that spent time getting the bill passed. Chief Justice Alexander recognized the efforts of Mr. Jeff Hall.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Regional Courts
Ms. McLane reminded the Board that in October they had adopted the short term recommendations of the CLJ Work Group. The long term recommendation of the CLJ Work Group was the reorganization into regional courts.
Ms. McLane indicated that work will continue, including election issues, under the umbrella of the Court Funding Implementation Committee. Ms. McLane said that Representatives Kagi and Sommers have indicated their interest in discussing the operation of the courts, particularly courts of limited jurisdiction.
Task Force on Non-economic Damages
Written report was provided.
Chief Justice Alexander said that Judge Robert McSeveney had sent an email indicating his interest in the member-chair position. The Chief said at this point, Judge McSeveney was the only member that has indicated interest.
Office of Civil Legal Aid
Chief Justice Alexander advised that the Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA) will have an 11-member oversight committee. Two of the members of the oversight committee are to be appointed by the BJA.
The Board briefly discussed the best way to disseminate the information relating to the appointments to the judges. The Chief asked that the listservs be used to disseminate the information with responses to Judge Fleck. He asked that this item be placed on the June agenda.
Access to Justice
Judge Tripp thanked the BJA for their continued support.
Judge Tripp reported that the ATJ Board held their retreat last week. During the retreat the 22 applications received for OCLA's director position were reviewed with seven being forwarded to the ATJ Board. The Board will interview three and forward those names to the Chief Justice for consideration.
Judge Tripp advised that the ATJ Board began their strategic planning for the money appropriated by the legislature. They are in the process of preparing a proposal for the Supreme Court.
Judge Tripp invited the BJA to attend the ATJ annual conference in Bellevue, June 3-5.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Ward reported that the Bar Board of Governors' discussed at length the pros and cons of splitting the 9th Circuit into two or three circuit courts, voting in the end to oppose the split.
Mr. Ward reported that the proposed new character and fitness rules would assist potential members in understanding the criteria and considerations of being licensed in Washington. The proposed rules will be published for comment following the June Board meeting.
Mr. Ward acknowledged the work of the Bar Board of Governors, the Chief Justice, Judge Fleck, Judge Costello, Judge Kato and other judges throughout the state that work hundreds of hours during legislative session. He also recognized the efforts of Ms. Gail Stone.
Mr. Ward announced that the award committee had completed its work. The annual meeting and awards dinner has been scheduled for September 15.
The Chief Justice stated that the Bar was steadfast with their support of this year's legislative efforts.
Court of Appeals
Judge Becker indicated they had nothing to report.
Judge Trickey reported that the superior courts continue to be interested in sentencing reform.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Eileen Kato indicated the next step in changing the membership of the Commission on Judicial Conduct is to get the amendment on the ballot, then the passing of the amendment.
Judge Eileen Kato advised their spring conference is scheduled for June 7-10 in Blaine at Semiahmoo.
Judge Eileen Kato encouraged support of Judge McSeveney's election as co-chair. She stated he is very deserving of the position.
Judge Kato acknowledged that this is her last meeting. She thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve with them. Judge Kato advised that Judge Fitterer will be the next president-elect of the DMCJA.
Chief Justice Alexander acknowledged the many contributions of Judge Costello and Judge Eileen Kato during their term on the Board.
The next meeting of the BJA is scheduled for Friday, June 17 at the SeaTac facility.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Work Group Recommendations Approved at May 20, 2005 BJA Meeting
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