Board for Judicial Administration
Members present: Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander, co-chair; Judge Marlin Appelwick; Judge Stephen M. Brown; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Michael Cooper; Judge Sara Derr; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge James Hutton; Justice Barbara Madsen; Ms. Janet McLane; Judge Stephen Shelton; and Judge Dennis Sweeney
Guests present: Justice Bobbe Bridge; Judge Paula Casey; Ms. Pam Daniels; Ms. Patti Dudley; Mr. Bruce Knutson; Ms. Joanne Moore; and Mr. Paul Sherfey
Staff present: Mr. Gil Austin; Ms. Jude Cryderman; Mr. Doug Haake; Mr. Jeff Hall; Mr. Dirk Marler; and Ms. Regina McDougall
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Alexander, co-chair.
Chief Justice Alexander asked the attendees to introduce themselves.
The Board was advised that last week Chief Justice Gerry Alexander received the 2006 American Inns of Court Ninth Circuit Professional Award for his lifetime of services to the law.
Judge Brown noted that Judge Cooper made the correction to the May 19, 2006 minutes. Judge Brown was incorrectly identified.
Office of Public Defense Budget Request
Ms. Moore briefly recapped the Office of Public Defense's (OPD) budget request. She noted the request is the same amount as asked for the past three years. Ms. Moore advised that the OPD Advisory Committee approved the proposed budget request at its June 13, 2006 meeting.
2006-2007 BJA Dues
Mr. Hall explained that every two years, judges are invoiced $55 for BJA dues. He continued, this will be the first time part-time municipal and district court judges will be asked to pay dues.
Judge Fitterer noted that some of the part-time judges felt they should be making a contribution to the Board. He continued, the invoicing of part-time municipal can district court judges was received favorably at the board.
Mr. Hall reminded the members that the dues cover expenses related to the salary commission's public hearing, lunches with legislators, travel expenses related to judges testifying on certain types of legislation, etc.
It was moved to approve the 2006-2007 invoice be sent to all full and part-time judges. The invoice will be incorporated into a letter that provides a brief history and explanation of the uses of the dues. The motion was seconded by Judge Fleck and carried.
Commission on Children in Foster Care
Justice Bridge advised the Board that she co-chairs the Commission with Ms. Cheryl Stephani, Assistant Secretary of the Children's Administration Division of DSHS. In addition, represented are the Foster Parents Association, Senate Human Services, House Children and Family Services, Office of Public Defense, CASA, SCJA, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Northwest Intertribal Court System, and the Washington State Attorney General.
Justice Bridge gave a brief overview of the progress of the Commission, advising that a number of work groups have been created.
Legal Representation - The focus of the work group is to identify the legal representation of children–the need and how to address it.
Expedited Appeals - This work group will compile a list of potential reasons for appellate delay. They will continue interviewing appellate attorneys in an effort to create a comprehensive list.
Unified Family Court Expansion - The work group will conduct a survey of the superior courts to determine what, if any, barriers there are to implementation of the UFC program. They will also determine training needs and resources.
Performance Measures - The work group's proposal recommends that the Commission request AOC use the Federal Court Improvement Program funds for the purpose of implementing court performance measures.
Experts/Evaluators Evaluation Standards - This work group has prepared a survey that will be distributed to experts and evaluators to obtain input on evaluation/report standards. Once the survey results are compiled, recommendations for evaluation/report standards will be developed.
Justice Bridge further reported that events scheduled for the year include National Adoption Day and Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit. Justice Bridge indicated that additional information on the Youth Summit will be provided to the Board at a later meeting.
JIS Committee Update
Justice Bridge gave a brief overview of the JIS Roadmap. She stated the goal of the Roadmap is to meet the operational needs of the courts.
Justice Bridge advised that Tim Bates will begin as the ISD Director of AOC on August 1. Recently, Mr. Bates led a case management development project for the Bosnian court system.
Ms. McLane reported current activities include work by the following groups:
Data Integration and Exchange - Acquire software tools that allow the exchange of data and information among different courts and justice agencies.
Case Management System - Develop a request for proposal (RFP) to purchase a commercial case management system that will eventually replace the current JIS systems.
Access to JIS Information - Expand the availability of case related information for the public, with access through the Washington Courts' website. Create better reporting tools for court management.
The Board was advised that approximately $12.7 million will be requested from the JIS Revolving Account for the next biennium. No additional PSEA or General Fund money will be requested.
A portion of the appropriation will be used to 1) extensively test the most viable commercial case management systems, based on responses to the RFP; 2) contract with a vendor for system software and implementation services; and 3) begin configuration of the system in two pilot courts.
Court Security Committee
Judge Casey reported that the first meeting of the committee was held in March. She advised that a representative from the Juvenile Court Administrators Association and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs have been added to the Committee.
Judge Casey indicated the purpose of coming to BJA was to assure that the critical court security needs of our state's trial courts get on the BJA's “radar” as priorities of Justice in Jeopardy funds and legislative requests are set. She asked that BJA consider a small request (one-to-several hundred thousand dollars) for the next biennium – which could be awarded on a grant basis (similar to the Trial Court Coordinating Councils procedure) for one-time equipment investments, security assessments, or other projects.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Cooper to add $100,000 to the Justice in Jeopardy request for court security. The money is to be distributed in a fashion similar to that of the Trial Court Coordination Council.
The Board briefly discussed the motion before them. Mr. Hall informed the Board that the legislative request “decision package” for the Supreme Court has been finalized and it is too late to make changes or to include this request.
Becca Budget Request
Mr. Knutson provided a brief overview of the Full Becca Funding for Court Operations Decision Package. The following points were made:
Mr. Knutson stated that total operating expenditure request from the Public Safety and Education Account is $9,809,139 for the biennium. The members discussed Becca and the need for adequate funding.
Judge Cooper advised that the SCJA met with the Juvenile Court Administrators and the SCJA Board voted to approve the budget request.
A brief discussion followed regarding the specifics of Becca pass through account.
Dispute Resolution Center (DRC)
Ms. Dudley advised that the DRCs will be proposing amendments giving county authorities discretion to increase the amount of the surcharge on filing fees up to $20 for district court cases and $25 for small claims cases. This is a $10 increase over the current statute. In addition, it gives county authorities discretion to impose a new surcharge of up to $10 on superior court filing fees. The additional revenue from the surcharge increases and the new surcharge would go for funding of dispute resolution centers.
The members briefly discussed the request for the surcharge increases.
Judge Cooper advised that the DRC request was discussed at the last SCJA Board meeting. Although the SCJA supports the concept, they took no position.
Judge Fleck stated that it is fair to say that it's conceivable that both the BJA and SCJA may take no position or may even oppose.
Judicial Retirement Account
Mr. Hall reported that an initial discussion with the Attorney General's Office was held earlier in the week. Mr. Jim Pharis of the Attorney General's Office indicated that he would like to consult with another A.G. more familiar with retirement issues prior to advising the AOC on the plan revisions as presented.
Mr. Hall reported that the milestone progress charts on various commission/task force activities and recommendation is being updated. The charts will be used to introduce the high-level view of the judiciary's long-range plan and aid in promoting the plan.
The next step in creating the judiciary's long-range plan is defining a vision, mission, and major goals. This information will be available to the Long-range Planning Committee in September.
A report on the Committee's progress will be made at the September BJA meeting.
Report of the Courts
Court of Appeals
Judge Sweeney reported on the continuing problems with two or three of the court reporters/transcriptionists that are having difficulty getting their work out in a timely manner. He noted there is no way to sanction them for not producing the records.
The issue was briefly discussed, including the requirement of CR 8 that AOC is to set the standards and procedures for recording. It was pointed out that the narrow focus needs to be expanded.
Mr. Haake added there are a number of issues, such as long-term storage and software. He noted that in order to get a thorough record, there actually should be two clerks in the courtroom.
Judge Brown advised the Board that Division III's Clerk, Pat Crandall, announced her September retirement.
Judge Cooper reported at the Board's last meeting Mr. Hall and Ms. McLane had presented the Justice in Jeopardy initiatives.
Judge Fleck provided an update on the retirement package. She said a national firm has been hired to help them understand the buy-back issue.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Fitterer reported the Board had not met since the last BJA meeting.
Ms. Regina McDougall will assume Mr. Gil Austin responsibility for SCJA support as Mr. Austin prepares for retirement.
The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for Sunday, September 24 at Fall Conference in Spokane.
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