Board for Judicial Administration
Members Present: Chief Justice Gerry Alexander; Judge Robert McSeveney, Co-chair; Judge Marlin Appelwick; Mr. Stanley Bastian; Judge Stephen Brown; Judge Vickie Churchill; Judge Michael Cooper, Judge Ronald Cox, Judge Sara Derr; Judge Richard Fitterer; Judge Deborah Fleck; Judge James Hutton; Justice Barbara Madsen; Judge Larry McKeeman; Ms. M. Janice Michels; Judge Linda Portnoy; Judge Christine Quinn-Brintnall; Judge James Riehl; Judge Stephen Shelton; and Judge Dennis Sweeney
Guests Present: Ms. Pam Daniels, Ms. Paula Littlewood, and Mr. Ronald Ward
Staff Present: Ms. Beth Flynn, Mr. Doug Haake, Mr. Jeff Hall, Mr. Dirk Marler,
Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
Chief Justice Alexander thanked the following BJA members for their years of service as members of the BJA: Judge James Riehl, Judge Michael Cooper and Ms. Jan Michels.
Ms. Paula Littlewood was introduced as the new WSBA Executive Director. Mr. Ron Ward was also introduced.
Judge Ronald Cox, the Presiding Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, was welcomed as a new member of the BJA.
Mr. Jeff Hall distributed a handout detailing the status of the 2007 legislation the BJA took a position on.
The superior court judge bill (SB 5247) passed along with the toll violations bill (SSB 5391) and the retirement bill for judges (SB 5918). The interpreter bill (HB 2176), weapons definition bill (HB 2177) and municipal court elections/contracting bill (SB 5353) did not pass.
Based on conversations with legislators, Mr. Hall believes the budget will include proviso language essentially replicating the interpreter bill. Once the budget is passed, a process needs to be developed to determine how and to whom the funds will be distributed. Mr. Hall suggested that the task be turned over to the Interpreter Commission.
Mr. Hall explained that the interpreter funds will be used for: 1) language access planning and also some forms development in addition to staff from AOC on a two-year project to develop language access plans (LAP) throughout the state; and 2) direct interpreter services. The mechanics of invoicing and payments, etc. are questions that will need resolution. The toughest part will be deciding who gets the funding, how much, and what criteria will be used to make that determination. In the most recent proviso language, courts must have an LAP plan to get the money.
Judge Fleck thanked all the judges around the state, along with the members of the BJA, for their assistance in passing the retirement bill for judges. She was very pleased to have the Governor sign the bill yesterday.
Judge Marlin Appelwick was pleased to report that the legislative budget chairs were persuaded early on to back the COA travel bill which aided in its success. Seven members of their court have to travel and a significant portion of their paychecks were going toward travel expenses.
Judge Appelwick advised that the bill allowing COA commissioners to perform wedding ceremonies passed.
Justice in Jeopardy Initiative
Judge Fleck introduced Mr. Ward who presented an update on the Justice In Jeopardy Initiative.
Mr. Ward provided materials indicating how the JIJ Initiative began, where it is now and where it needs to go.
Soon after the effort began, it became clear that the Legislature was not well informed on court funding issues. Substantial funding has been secured and a significant amount is being received from the general fund. It is now at the five-year mark and from the beginning they realized this would be a multi-biennium and multi-year process and would possibly take ten years to fully fund.
The Initiative has made a lot of progress but has a long way to go. Along the way, they have learned some lessons—we, as a justice system, have to stay together and remain unified to be successful.
In order to move forward, they need to update their data (context chart, nexus diagram), review how the landscape has changed, establish five-year goals, develop strategies, incorporate new stakeholders, and evaluate how OPD and OCLA are working. Therefore, they are recommending a one-day retreat in October to lay out a future course.
Judge Fleck stated they need a timeline to identify what steps need to be taken, how much money those steps will require, and present the information to the Legislature. The goal is that in five or six years that if the Legislature funds JIJ projects in the requested order, there won’t be further funding requests.
The process of re-evaluation was initiated by bar leaders and the WSBA BOG endorsed the retreat at their last meeting.
Trial Court Improvement Account Report
Copies of the Trial Court Improvement Account Report have gone out to all the legislators in the state. Copies of this will also be sent to members of the Court Funding Task Force in the next few weeks along with a summary of the 2007 legislation.
Overall, the funds have been put to good use and are making a difference in the courts. Over the next couple of years, they should continue to grow and be put to more substantive use.
Mr. Hall indicated that in at least one jurisdiction there is some question regarding how the funds have been budgeted. Mr. Hall stated that it had been suggested that this be forwarded to the State Auditor for review. There was a consensus that the State Auditor should be advised to include TCIA budgets and expenditures in their audits of counties and cities to ensure compliance with the statute establishing the accounts and authorized uses.
Trial Court Coordinating Council Grants – Report
A summary of the status of the trial court coordinating council grants from last year was included in the meeting materials. Some of the highlights included:
There have been some good outcomes from the investment by the Board. It is anticipated that AOC will set aside some monies to continue to do this and determine how to use some of these funds to develop more coordinating councils.
UFC Principles Workgroup Update
Mr. Hall shared that the membership of the UFC Workgroup has been finalized and Judge Michael Trickey will chair the Workgroup. A roster was distributed. Three meeting dates have been set with the first meeting occurring May 8.
Washington State Bar Association
Mr. Stan Bastian highlighted a couple of WSBA issues relevant to judges and distributed the April edition of Newsflash.
The Board of Governors (BOG) met in Longview and considered one of the subcommittee reports from the Committee for Public Defense. Assuming the BOG eventually adopts the entire report, the next step will be implementing the recommendations which will include legislative changes, rule changes, etc. It’s an exciting project and they’re finally starting to see some action.
Access to Justice Board
Mr. Dirk Marler reported on the Access to Justice Board in Mr. Wayne Blair’s absence. The ATJ Board had a presentation from Judge Roosevelt Currie from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The individuals served by the Access to Justice community are more likely to have cases at OAH than in the judicial branch.
The Board began discussions about the work of the Committee on Public Defense and had great interest in the proposed rules on counsel at arraignment.
Salary Commission Update
Mr. Marler attended the Salary Commission meeting last night along with Judges Sara Derr, John Schultheis and Kathleen O’Connor. He was happy to report that the judiciary is in excellent shape with the Commission. The recommendation everyone is familiar with is solid and the Chair went around the room and talked with each of the members asking if they had any problems with the proposal. There were no reservations with the judicial salaries.
The next, and final, meeting is May 15 at SeaTac where the Commission will adopt the final salary schedule.
Reports from the Courts
Supreme Court: Justice Barbara Madsen reported that the ABA issued a revision to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. At the last En Banc, they referred the issue to the Supreme Court Rules Committee with the proviso that the Rules Committee would solicit input from all the court levels.
Justice Susan Owens and Justice Madsen were appointed as liaisons to WSBA task forces regarding the ABA recommendations on the disciplinary system for lawyers.
Justice Owens is in Washington DC with a legal services delegation and they are educating Congress on the need for legal services funding.
At the last En Banc, they approved expenditures for sexual harassment and diversity training for the Supreme Court staff.
Court of Appeals: Judge Ronald Cox stated that he was pleased with the legislation that passed regarding COA judge travel and the commissioners being able to perform wedding ceremonies (see Legislative Update section above).
Superior Court: Judge Michael Cooper gave his personal thanks to Judge Fleck for her efforts with the retirement bill.
The SCJA hasn’t met as an association since the last BJA meeting because they have their Spring Conference starting on Sunday at Semiahmoo.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction: Judge Richard Fitterer shared that Mr. Tim Bates, from AOC, gave the DMCJA a thorough update on the Case Management System and RFP.
The Association wants to do some outreach with the WSBA and the Office of Public Defense (OPD) on the issues of criminal defense and public defense to clear up any old misconceptions or misunderstandings, and go forward together in that area of the law.
Below is how the DMCJA faired during the legislative session:
The DMCJA Long-Range Planning Committee is finishing their work on the issue of Infraction and Criminal Penalties set by Court Rule, and bail forfeitures.
Proposed CrRLJ 4.1, the arraignment rule proposed by the Association, has been published for comment.
BJA Account Report: The quarterly summary of the BJA private account was distributed. Mr. Hall wants to begin reporting on the status of the account on a more regular basis.
There was a question of dues and if any dues remain outstanding. Mr. Hall will check on that and report back at a future meeting.
Adjournment: There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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