Hon. Allan L. Schmalenberger, Chair
Judge Benny Graff
Hon. Debbie Gordon Kleven
Hon. William W. McLees
Sherry Mills Moore
Steven D. Mottinger
Birch Peterson Burdick
Hon. Ralph Robert Erickson
Judge John Greenwood
Judge John McClintock
Chair Schmalenberger welcomed members to the newly formed Committee. He provided an orientation through a discussion of the advanced caseflow management seminar that he, Judge McLees, Judge McClintock, and Judge Haskell attended last spring. For any caseflow management system to be effective, accurate and timely data must be available to the decisionmakers to assist them in monitoring case processing times and identifying when cases "fall out" of the system. There needs to be a rigorous control of continuances, not only of trials, but intermediate proceedings through agreed on policies followed by all judges. Effective case management plans involve the use of differentiated case management strategies. This concept provides that cases receive different types and amounts of management based on the complexity of the case. A complex civil case needs more oversight and monitoring than a routine civil action. Using a "reverse telescope" approach, judges should only schedule trials for those cases that are ready to go to trial. As a result, following the management concepts in jurisdictions with very effective case monitoring policies, no trial date is given until all discovery is completed. At this point a firm trial date is set.
The discussion then focused on a letter from Judge Haskell relating to data needs of judges. He suggested revision to our current management reports to provide a new report for judges that would have all essential data included in one report.
In discussing the report format, the Committee discussed gathering data from each judicial district to determine how far into the future the district is currently scheduling cases. A request was made to survey the districts and find out how far into the future is requires to get a two-hour motion hearing or a two-day trial date scheduled. Discussion then focused on the different procedures being used in each judicial district. There was a sense that the use of the certificate of readiness has become somewhat meaningless if cases are monitored from the time they are filed. There was a sense that the rule needs to be reviewed and that most effective case management procedures would be to eliminate a certificate of readiness/non-readiness process and monitor the case from the date of filing providing for pre-trial conference dates and active court involvement in case oversight.
Discussion focused on case numbers and filing information. Ted Gladden circulated a copy of a case filed in Ward County as one case with five counts. The case was transferred under N.D.R.Crim.P. 20 to Pierce County for disposition. The clerk of district court in Pierce County opened five individual cases based on the five counts in one case transferred in. It was concluded the Committee needs to review case filing procedures and develop consistent practices statewide. This type of reporting distorts workload data and adds unnecessary tasks for clerk personnel.
There was discussion about service by publication timeframes being broader than that provided within some of the case management timeframes. Discussion then focused on N.D.R.Ct. 8.8. There was an agreement that this needs to be reviewed at the next meeting with forms to provide a procedure for monitoring cases as provided in Rule 8.8.
The Committee then discussed a number of the management reports and how criminal and juvenile cases are counted. The issue of counting reopened cases was brought up and it was concluded we need to have consistent practices for counting criminal, juvenile, reopened cases, as well as how to treat post-judgment motions.
Ted Gladden will work with the Chair of the Committee to develop suggested proposals for the June meeting.
Ted Gladden was directed to randomly assign terms for Committee members and notify all members.
The meeting was adjourned.