|Members Present |
Judge Allan Schmalenberger, Chair
Judge Ralph Erickson
Judge John Greenwood
Judge Debbie Kleven
Judge William McLees
Sherry Mills Moore
|Members Absent |
Judge Benny Graff
Judge John McClintock
|Others Attending |
The minutes of the November 30, 2001, meeting were approved with the deletion of the last sentence, page 3, under the section "Rule 8.8 Discussion". The language deleted is "At the meeting, Christine Hogan of the State Bar Association provided an overview of Rule 8.8 and its implications."
Juvenile Case Management
Greg Wallace reviewed the juvenile case monitoring procedures that have been developed. He indicated every district has developed written procedures for monitoring juvenile cases. Since the East Central judicial district is on a different information system, he will review operating procedures to make sure these cases are being monitored within that district. This problem will disappear as that district is converted to UCIS within the next nine months. He indicated one problem that occurs, primarily in rural areas, is that of a delay in the decision of whether or not to file a formal petition on many juvenile matters.
Juvenile court docket currency standards are presently before the Supreme Court for adoption. Procedures that have been implemented statewide will support the standards as submitted which will result in no management changes being necessary in the juvenile courts.
Mr. Wallace indicated that deprivation proceedings that involve criminal charges are difficult to resolve when the deprivation is handled before the criminal charges have been disposed of. The Committee requested that Mr. Wallace report back to the Committee after more data has been gathered on how adequately the case management and monitoring procedures are working.
Criminal Case Counting
Ted Gladden discussed the problem we have with counting cases in a uniform fashion. The main area where this occurs is in check cases. While these do not take a lot of court time, the difference in charging practices raises many questions about the credibility of the data in our information system that is used to make many management decisions. Check cases are the ones that are causing the greatest problems. He also indicated that the reopened status of cases causes a problem. Cases are reopened according to different standards in different locations in the state.
In regard to criminal matters, he indicated that one consideration would be to count defendants, not cases, unless the proceeding goes to trial within a certain time period. This would apply to misdemeanor and infractions, only. We could look at doing a calculation for cases within a three-month time period. After discussion, it was agreed that if the state moves forward with a revised weighted caseload study, we should direct them to provide a definition of terms as part of the study. This should address the issue of case reopenings, as well as the counting of misdemeanors and infractions. Mr. Gladden was asked to prepare definitions for Committee consideration to go to the National Center for State Courts for inclusion in the study, if conducted.
There was discussion that the Committee would like to look at misdemeanors by case type using Century Code citations. There was a sense that cases requiring toxicology analyses tend to lag in the system. There is also appears to be a delay in DUI case processing due to a substantial number of jury trial requests being made by defense counsel. Mr. Gladden was asked to contact each district to determine what procedures are used for scheduling and monitoring misdemeanor cases.
Judge Erickson indicated in the East Central judicial district, all criminal cases are on a 12-week rotation. He indicated with this rotation there is an arraignment week, misdemeanor week, and felony week for each judge. One day is set for all initial appearances. Thus, cases, if continued, are only continued for a three-week period. He indicated that felony cases realistically take about 15-weeks to process, well within the 180 day time standard for case processing established by Administrative Rule 12.
Civil Case Processing
Judge Schmalenberger presented information on the use of differentiated case management (DCM) for use in the state. He indicated he, Judge McLees, Judge Haskell, and Judge McClintock had attended an advanced caseflow management seminar about a year and a half ago. At the seminar they developed a civil case processing plan. The plan contemplates management of the case from the point of filing. It contemplates the use of scheduling orders for all cases and the assignment of cases to different tracks, depending on the complexity of the cases. Discussion focused on the plan that had four separate tracks for case types. The concept contemplates that the scheduling would be fit to the needs of the case. The objective is that parties would begin the assessment of their cases early on with continual court monitoring.
During the discussion, it became apparent that our present certificate of readiness/note of issue rule really fits with the old call of the calendar system. It was suggested we need to revisit the issue of mandatory filing in the state to ensure court management. However, the thrust of the civil caseflow management plan presented contemplates that no trial scheduling is done until all pretrial work is completed. Once pretrial work is concluded, a trial date is set within three months of the date of the final pretrial conference. Steve Johnson indicated that there is a need for case management deadlines on all participants if the system is to work effectively. He stated the use of a scheduling order would really help in case processing. There is a sense among some of the bar that there is a need for greater structure for the management of cases and a DCM system would provide for differential case management, the continual monitoring by the court. There was a sense that a scheduling order should occur in all civil cases with the scheduling order being issued within 30 days of filing.
There was a discussion that guidelines need to be established for which cases fit on which tracks. All cases would fit on a standard track unless specified for a different track.
There was discussion that N.D.R.Ct. 8.8 does not prohibit disposition before 90 days. There were a number of modifications to the plan suggested. There was a suggestion that the first sentence of the plan be amended to provide that unless a matter has been scheduled for final disposition. All actions listed in Appendix A must have a scheduling conference held within 90 days. Under the procedures for track assignments, it was suggested that appeals from decisions from administrative agencies be deleted from the expedited track.
There were a number of changes suggested on the civil offense codes that were listed. Staff was directed to make the amendments to the plan proposal and Appendix A and circulate the redraft to Committee members, as well as administrative offices and clerks of district court for their input.
Discussion of Status of Rule 8.8
The Committee reviewed the district responses regarding plans for implementing Rule 8.8. All districts have reviewed the rule and have some procedure in place for monitoring cases under Rule 8.8.
The meeting adjourned.
Future meeting dates are:
June 28, 2002
September 27, 2002
November 22, 2002