Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge Robert McSeveney, member-chair; Judge Mary Kay Becker; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Stephen Holman; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Alicia Nakata; and Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair.
Chief Justice Alexander recognized Judge Deborah Fleck for her many contributions to the Board during her tenure as member-chair.
Office of Civil Legal Aid (OCLA) Appointments
Judge Robert McSeveney briefly explained the creation of the OCLA, which will have an 11-member oversight committee of which BJA has two appointments. He reminded the members that during the June meeting, they agreed that the Executive Committee should select the BJA appointments and bring their recommendation to the whole Board.
The Executive Committee met via conference call, at which time they selected Judge Mark Huth and Judge Leslie Allen for the Board's consideration.
Judge O'Connor said three areas of recommendation are before the BJA for approval:
1) Selection of Judges -- water court judges should be selected by retention elections, although each newly-created judge position should initially be filled by gubernatorial appointment from a slate of nominees submitted by the Supreme Court.
2) Terms of Judges -- water court judges should serve eight-year terms due to the length of time it takes for new judges to get up to speed on these cases. The terms should be initially staggered so that the judges are not all subject to election in the same year.
3) Affidavits of Prejudice -- affidavits of prejudice should not be available in general adjudications. Parties in general adjudications would still have the right to seek a judge's recusal based on a showing of actual prejudice, bias, or conflict of interest.
In addition, Judge O'Connor advised that it appears unlikely that the legislature will pass any water court legislation during the upcoming session. The executive and legislative branches need to undertake two additional steps before water court legislation would be ready to move forward:
1) Buy-in from the tribes, and
2) Something must be done about the current legislation--relinquishment of rights statute.
The Board was given a brief overview of the recommendations.
The members briefly discussed the election and terms of office recommendations. They agreed to hold taking action until the September meeting at Fall Conference.
Mr. Hall reviewed the membership and role of the legislative committee. Mr. Hall indicated that he was originally going to recommend the elimination of the pre-session legislative committee; but based on court rule, rather than eliminate the committee, designate the executive committee for that role.
It was moved by Judge Fleck to designate the executive committee to serve as the legislative committee. The motion was seconded by Judge Churchill. Following a brief discussion the motion and second was withdrawn.
The Board agreed that the change necessary to designate the executive committee as the legislative committee should be made in the bylaws rather than an amendment to the court rule. That bylaw proposal will be circulated prior to the August meeting.
Office of Public Defense (OPD)
Ms. Moore reported that OPD had received 24 requests from counties to be added to the expansion of the parents' representation program. She said they are in the process of making the final selection of the counties that will be included in the program.
Ms. Moore advised that criteria for the expansion of parents' representation program includes:
Ms. Moore explained the goal of the Indigent Criminal Defense Pilot Project is to improve representation and demonstrable success. This would be accomplished by contracting for first appearance/arraignment attorneys.
Next Ms. Moore spoke about the public defense county liaisons which have been established to provide better data, new relationships and improved public defense contracts.
Ms. Moore then advised, of the resource attorneys; one attorney would be half-time felony and the other attorney a half-time misdemeanor resource attorneys. In addition, OPD will provide money for trial level public defender training.
Ms. Moore also talked about OPD's need to show efficiencies and overall improvements to the legislature.
Ms. Michels added that the Washington State Bar Association envisions a model contract from OPD or at least some type of quality control mechanism.
Court Funding Implementation Committee
Mr. Hall reported that two new committees were created at the June meeting of the Implementation Committee.
Once the committees have completed their work, they will report to the Implementation Committee, and then to BJA.
The Board briefly discussed the shifting of the setting of traffic penalties from the Supreme Court to the Legislature.
Mr. Hall advised that one of the next steps for the Implementation Committee is to determine whether to pursue jury fee increases. He briefly talked about a study/pilot project approach.
Trial Court Coordination Projects
Judge Holman reported that two of the counties have completed their projects. Okanogan County has encountered construction delays, so their final report will be made in September. Judge Holman reminded the Board that each of the projects received $25,000.
Judge Holman reported that King County's project goal was to coordinate services for customers of the three courts in downtown Seattle in an effort to provide information in a way that is accurate, consistent, and easily understood.
During the last reporting period King County was able to accomplish:
1) Customer information was finalized, printed and distributed to appropriate agencies.
2) Web pages now include the ability to download a legal advice definition document and a guide for self-represented litigants.
3) Channels of communication were increased.
4) A customer service curriculum was developed and 48 staff members attended training.
Judge Holman said that Kitsap's goal was to provide all law enforcement, prosecutors, courts and victim advocacy agencies within Kitsap County 24-hours- a-day, seven days-a-week access to all domestic violence related orders.
Judge Holman advised that the development of the website was a major benefit. An additional benefit was the auditing of the orders, which resulted in the discovery that over 60% of the existing orders were not valid. In turn, the court took on a project to hold hearings to eliminate all redundant orders. He continued that another project to develop procedures to eliminate inconsistent orders is in the works.
Washington State Bar Association
Ms. Michels stated that a full report would be made at the August meeting.
Judge Holman reported that Mr. Ward and Ms. Michels had recently attended the Kitsap County Bar Association monthly luncheon. Mr. Ward spoke to the Bar members and received a standing ovation.
Court of Appeals
Judge Becker said they had no report this month.
Judge Fleck reported efforts are continuing to make improvements to the judicial retirement accounts.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Nakata advised that their Board had not met since the June BJA meeting. She noted many DMCJA committees will be very busy this summer, with reports anticipated for September.
Chief Justice Alexander reported that along with Wayne Blair, Ron Ward and Jan Michels, they will make a presentation to the Bar Presidents at the ABA Conference.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|