Members present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair; Judge Robert McSeveney, co-chair; Judge Marlin Appelwick; Judge Stephen M. Brown; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Sara Derr; Ms. Ellen Dial; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge James P. Hutton; Ms. Janet McLane; Justice Barbara Madsen; Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall; Judge James M. Riehl; Judge Stephen Shelton; and Judge Dennis Sweeney
Call to order
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, chair.
Judge Fleck pointed out that her statement (page 5—Dispute Resolution Center) should have “or may even oppose” added to the end of her statement.
Judge Fitterer noted that (page 7) he reported that the Board had not met since the last BJA meeting.
Court Security Committee
Mr. Hall reminded the Board that Judge Paula Casey had attended the July meeting to request funding for the Court Security Committee in the amount of $200,000. He referred the members to Judge Casey’s August 21, 2006, letter to Chief Justice Alexander and Judge Robert McSeveney. He also noted that the motion for approval of the funding in the amount of $200,000 for the biennium had been tabled at the July meeting.
Mr. Hall pointed out that the Supreme Court has already approved all budget packages for the next biennium. The Board briefly discussed whether it is possible to secure funding for the Court Security Committee’s request this biennium.
It was moved by Judge Fleck and seconded by Judge Fitterer that BJA support the position of the Court Security Committee by adding $100,000 to the Supreme Court or the Administrative Office of the Courts’ budget for the next two years, with the proviso that it may be too late for this year, but BJA supports the concept.
Judge Churchill stated that Judge Casey should be invited at some time in the future to report to the BJA when the Committee has had time to gather more information.
2007 Meeting Schedule
The Board agreed to change the December meeting from the 21st to the 14th. Chief Justice Alexander noted that the January meeting usually coincides with the State of the Judiciary.
Best Practices Committee Appointments
Mr. Hall reported that Judge Eric Lucas, Judge Michael Lambo, and Ms. Tricia Crozier were nominated to positions on the Best Practices Committee. He reminded the Board that appointments require BJA’s approval.
Best Practices Committee
Judge Julie Spector, chair of the Best Practices Committee, reported that after reviewing over 100 measures, the Committee agreed to the development and pilot testing of the following:
The Board discussed whether to approve the measures piecemeal or as a wholesale approval once the measures are all approved by the Best Practices Committee. Judge McSeveney stated, given the discussion, BJA has agreed to piecemeal approval of the recommendations.
Justice In Jeopardy/Legislative Report
Mr. Hall reported that the Supreme Court approved the Justice In Jeopardy budget decision packages.
Mr. Hall advised that he is meeting with Eastern Washington trial court judges to inform them of the ongoing Justice In Jeopardy effort. Each judicial officer is given a copy of the Judge’s Resource Guide which provides tools to aid in the continuing effort.
Mr. Hall advised that the Executive Committee would meet late October, first of November to consider legislative proposals, including the addition of three new judges. Judicial officers have been requested for Whatcom County Superior Court, Island/San Juan Superior Courts, and Benton District Court.
Foster Youth and Alumni Leadership Summit
Chief Justice Alexander directed attention to Justice Bridge’s memorandum regarding the Youth Summit, October 7 and 8 at the Cedarbrook Leadership Center in Seattle. He reminded the Board that Justice Bridge had invited them to attend the Youth Summit.
Washington State Bar Association
Ms. Dial reported the newly formed Juvenile Law Section held its first meeting last week. The Bar is scheduled to move to its new location in the Puget Sound Plaza on 4th Avenue the first part of December. Ms. Dial advised that Jan Michels, the Bar’s Executive Director, has announced her retirement, effective May of 2007. The Bar is conducting a national search for Ms. Michel’s replacement, which they hope to hire by the end of the first quarter of 2007.
Ms. Dial said in June 2006 the Bar BOG had approved the creation of the Juvenile Law Section. This section will provide a forum to discuss issues of concern and act as an agent of change to improve the law and practice related to civil and criminal matters involving children and youth in Washington.
Ms. Dial directed attention to the WSBA Plan to Respond to Unjust Criticism of Judges. She reminded the Board that the policy had been adopted by the BOG in 2003. Ms. Dial briefly reviewed the Bar’s policy. She advised that the policy is one of being reactive instead of proactive. When the Bar is asked to review issues, officers have applied the policy. Ms. Dial added that the BOG is concerned about the tone taken in recent elections.
The Board discussed the primary judicial elections, particularly how to make changes to the system to restore stability to judicial elections. In addition, some degree of public funding and recusal rule were mentioned. This area will be looked at again following the November general election.
Judge Churchill indicated that the SCJA Judicial Selection/Contribution Committee will be looking into some public campaign financing, disclosures on PAC ads, recusal rule, limits on campaign financing by PACs and greater public education.
Chief Justice Alexander advised that the Court will be holding oral argument at Central Washington University in Ellensburg in October. He noted that while traveling, the Court takes questions from the audience following oral argument.
Court of Appeals
Judge Brown reported that the COA budget is moving along.
Judge Appelwick reported that the video conferencing equipment is in place and has been tested in Division I. He said that the equipment had been purchased by using the savings incentive fund. The hope is that Division I will reduce travel through video conferencing.
Judge Sweeney reported that Renee Townsley has been appointed to Division III’s clerk position, replacing Pat Crandall who recently retired. Ms. Townsley is currently the court administrator for Okanogan County District Court. She will begin at Division III in October. Judge Sweeney also announced the retirement of Frank Slak, long-time court commissioner in Division III.
Judge Churchill reported that the Board is working to formulate its approach to the 2007 legislative session, along with its support for the JIS Roadmap and the continued Justice In Jeopardy effort.
Judge Fleck provided a Judicial Retirement update, noting that a more in-depth report will be made during Tuesday’s Joint Business Meeting.
Judge Sweeney recognized the efforts of Judge Fleck and Judge Costello in their attempts to rectify the misunderstanding of the technical language.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Judge Fitterer advised the Board that the Bar’s Committee on Public Defense is proposing changes in the arraignment and plea rules which could result in significant changes for the district courts. The DMCJA Rules Committee will be meeting during Fall Conference. That Committee’s recommendation will then be forwarded to the DMCJA Board.
Chief Justice Alexander stated that Judge Leslie Allen, Wenatchee, is one of two board representatives to the Office of Civil Legal Aid. Judge Allen’s term on OCLA is expiring and she had indicated she is willing to be reappointed. Judge Allen currently serves as chair of the OCLA Board.
Mr. Hall noted that Judge Mark Huth did not seek re-election, so his position will also be up for appointment at the end of 2006.
The next meeting of the BJA is scheduled for October 20, Kilroy Tower, SeaTac.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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