Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair; Judge Robert McSeveney, co-chair; Judge Marlin Appelwick; Judge Stephen M. Brown for Judge Mary Kay Becker; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Michael Cooper; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge Ken Kato; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Alicia Nakata; Judge Linda Portnoy; Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall; Judge James Riehl; Judge Evan Sperline; and Judge Trickey
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, co-chair.
Chief Justice Alexander explained that the Supreme Court Personnel Committee will recommend a means by which the selection process for the State Court Administrator will be used; a nationwide search is anticipated.
Chief Justice Alexander introduced Judge Steven Brown, Court of Appeals, Division III and Judge Linda Portnoy, Lake Forest Park Municipal Court.
Corrections were made to the minutes of the February 20, 2006 minutes as follows:
Page 2-Legislative Report
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Quinn-Brintnall to
Page 4-Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, last sentence corrected as follows:
She indicated those bills were of concern because the presiding judge becomes a named defendant in a probation supervision lawsuit.
ATJ's "Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities: A Guide for Courts"
Judge McSeveney reminded the members that Judge Ellington had presented the Guide at the January meeting. Since the January meeting, the members had been provided an updated Guide for review. He also reminded the members that the ATJ Impediments Committee had asked for BJA's endorsement of the Guide.
Ms. Michels advised the Board that the Washington State Bar Board of Governor's had voted to provide funding for publication of the Guide.
Judge Nakata voiced concern of the DMCJA in that there is no clear guidance or case law setting out the use of juror interpreters in trials and during deliberations. She also pointed out funding is not available for local jurisdictions to provide for aids and personnel to meet the guidelines.
A brief discussion followed.
Mr. Hall provided a brief overview on the following bills:
Other Legislation of Significant Interest
Judge Nakata thanked the members of the Board for their support of the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction legislation this session. She went on to thank the Bar Association and the SCJA lobbyist for the support they provided.
Chief Justice Alexander advised the members that a recent New York Times article used Washington as an example of one of the states with the longest list of fees that are assessed to criminals. In addition, the article stated that Washington takes away the right to vote until the court costs and various fees are paid. After a brief discussion, Chief Justice Alexander asked that AOC staff provide the New York Times article to the Board members electronically.
The Board briefly discussed whether a group should be assembled to look at collateral consequences in a more deliberate way. The Board will discuss whether to set up a separate group or refer to an existing committee at its next meeting.
Justice in Jeopardy
Mr. Hall reviewed the Justice in Jeopardy supplemental budget requests. He advised that the Office of Public Defense had received $4.5 million for parent representation and $3.0 million for indigent criminal defense. The Office of Civil Legal Aid was allotted $0.6 million. The Jury Fee Research Project was allocated $0.6 million.
Ms. McLane advised that the Washington State Center for Court Research will be managed by Dr. Carl McCurley. The Center's advisory committee will meet next month to begin development of a plan to initiate the jury research project. A presentation will be made during the April BJA meeting.
General discussion followed about the supplemental budget allocations.
2005 Trial Court Improvement Account Report
Mr. Hall reported that of the 39 reports sent to the counties, 31 have responded. Of the nine reports to the cities, four have responded. He advised that a full written report and summary will be presented at the April meeting.
Best Practices Committee
Judge Sperline reported the Committee had met Thursday afternoon. He advised the Committee has approved 14 performance measures, six of which will be used for pilot testing. The measures to be used in the pilot testing include:
The other eight measures, approved but not ready for pilot testing are:
Of the eight measures, the first three are to be discussed by the County Clerk's Association at its executive board meeting the end of March.
Judge Sperline advised that a subcommittee has been assigned to develop specific formats for interviews and surveys.
AOC staff has been assigned the development of the protocols. The Committee will meet again prior to the May BJA meeting.
Office of Public Defense
Ms. Moore advised the Board that the Office of Public Defense had requested almost $27 million in their supplemental budget request; $11 million for parent's representation and $15.9 to implement HB 1542. Of the funding requested in the supplemental budget, OPD received $4.5 million for parent's representation and $3 million for indigent criminal defense. Ms. Moore advised that steps are being taken to identify those counties that will be included in the next phase of the parent representation program which will be implemented on July 1.
Ms. Moore stated that the application process for counties and grant process for cities to be awarded money under HB 1542 for indigent criminal defense will be in place in August. Ms. Moore advised that ten percent of the HB 1542 money has been set aside for grants to the cities.
Ms. Moore advised that OPD is beginning their work on next session's budget request. She stated that the final figures will be available in the late summer to early fall.
Gender and Justice Commission
Justice Madsen provided copies of the Gender and Justice Commission's 2005 Annual Report. Justice Madsen pointed out the section in the Annual Report that identified the projects completed in 2005 using grant funds. In addition, seven new projects were awarded grant funding and 15 judicial officers received scholarship funds to attend the National Judicial Institute Workshop on Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases.
Justice Madsen advised that STOP Grant dollars will fund ten proposals for 2006-2007. Awards range from $3,900 to $15,750.
Justice Madsen thanked BJA for their continued support.
Washington State Bar Association
Ms. Michels shared the sad new of the deaths of Joy McLean, director of the Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel and Katherine Johnson, an investigator in the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Practice of Law Board. Ms. McLean and Ms. Johnson were recently killed in a car accident. Ms. Michels expressed the tremendous loss to the Bar and the friends of Ms. McLean and Ms. Johnson.
Ms. Michels reported that at the March BOG meeting, they had voted not to support the proposed Legal Technician Rule proposed by the Practice of Law Board. Although the BOG is not ready to adopt non-lawyer practice at this time, they left the door open for the possibility of a pilot. Ms. Michels advised that the Practice of Law Board could forward the proposed rule to the Supreme Court Rules Committee, notwithstanding the BOG's position.
Ms. Michels advised that Governor Gregoire had signed the medical malpractice bill that passed nearly unanimously.
Ms. Michels advised of the newly created Judicial Election/Selection Task Force. The Task Force was established to examine merit selection and evaluation of judges in Washington State and will be chaired by Doug Lawrence.
Reports from the Courts
Court of Appeals
Judge Brown reported that Teresa Kulik had been sworn-in in February. Judge Kulik will sit for the first time next week.
Judge Quinn-Brintnall reported that Judge Morgan's time as Presiding Judge will be covered by herself and Judge Houghton.
Judge Appelwick reported that following the Appellate Judges' Spring Conference, he will become the Chief Judge, andJudge Schindler will be the Acting Chief Judge.
Judge Trickey said they had finished their long-range planning with sentencing issues being the focus.
Judge Trickey advised the pension bill had passed, but it has not been signed by Governor Gregoire, yet. Mr. Dave Nelsen, Department of Retirement Systems, is the designated contact for the judges.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Nakata informed the Board that Judge Linda Portnoy will complete the term of Judge Stephen Holman. She also reported that Judge Sara Derr was submitting her name for re-appointment to the BJA and Judge Brett Buckley will also be on the ballot.
Judge Sperline expressed thanks to Judge Fleck and Judge Trickey for their efforts in the passage of the pension bill.
Judge Fleck advised that Judge Costello was the leader, along with Judge Trickey. In addition, Judge Bathum assisted in the effort.
The next meeting of the Board is set for Friday, April 21 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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