Judicial Education Commission
February 15, 2008
Justice Mary Muehlen Maring, Chair
Dean Paul LeBel
Judge DeNae Kautzman
Judge Sonna Anderson
Judge Steven McCullough
Judge David Reich
Judge John Irby
Lee Ann Barnhardt
Lee Ann Barnhardt called the meeting to order. A motion to approve the November 20, 2007 meeting minutes was made by Judge McCullough and seconded by Judge Anderson. Motion carried.
I. Staffing: Education and Special Projects Coordinator - Update
Lee Ann Barnhardt was named the Director of Education and Communication effective December 1, 2007. The job description and qualifications for the Education and Special Projects Coordinator was revised and approved by the Personnel Policy Board. The position has dropped one pay grade from a 16 to a 15. The next step is approval by the Supreme Court.
A. Bench and Bar - The Seminar is scheduled for Sept. 11-12, 2008. It will be a Criminal Law Symposium jointly sponsored by the Court, the State Bar Association of North Dakota, the State's Attorneys Association, and the Indigent Defense Commission. Topics include: handling expert witnesses, evidence, technology in the courtroom, forensic DNA analysis, update on Crawford and related issues, eyewitness identification and child sexual abuse cases. The Department of Corrections will also be conducting a presentation, which is yet to be determined.
B. Advanced Faculty Development - April 30 - May 2, 2008. The agenda has been set and approximately 15 registrations have been received to date. All of the members of the Judicial Education Commission are asked to attend.
C. June Judicial Conference - Ethics & Pro-se Litigants - Update
Lee Ann Barnhardt asked for confirmation to plan a session on ethics and pro-se litigants for the June conference based on the curriculum that Judge Reich and Judge Foughty brought back from the conference at Harvard School of Law. Dean LeBel offered to host the Judicial Conference at the Law School, however transportation may be an issue. This topic is up for consideration and will be brought to the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference for discussion.
III. Travel Policies for Education Purposes Review
Policy 126 for Judges - Administrative Council recently passed amendments to Policy 126 related to travel for judges. Lee Ann Barnhardt suggested that there is no need for further review of the travel policy by the Commission because it allows for approval by the Chief Justice for travel outside the district travel budget. Out-of-state education-related training opportunities can be submitted to the Chief Justice for approval.
IV. Proposed Amendments to AR 36 and AR 9
Judge McCullough discussed with the commission proposed changes to A.R. 36.
Rule 1 - The Commission has proposed changing the name from the Continuing Judicial Education Commission to the Judicial Branch Education Commission. This change is recommended to reflect that the Commission provides judicial education opportunities for all employees of the judicial branch, not just judicial officers.
Rule 1. Item 2 - Support staff of the courts of record or employees of clerk of court or trial court administration offices.
By consensus, a change to have "offices" moved to the end of the sentence.
Discussion: Judge Kautzman asked if the change included clerks of court at the city level as well.
Judge McCullough stated that it had not been discussed, but the intent wasn't the clerk of court for the municipal level. The members decided to leave the wording as clerks of court, and if there is ever an instance where there is a municipal court clerk that would be a good addition to the commission, there is an option to add that clerk.
Rule 1. Item C - The state court administrator, the Director of Education and Communication, and the head of the judicial branch's IT department, or their designees, are ex officio members of the commission, but may not vote.
Rule 2. Item B - The state court administrator shall, with available funds, provide staff assistance to the commission including the Director of Education and Communication.
Rule 3. Item 1 - Assist the commission in planning an integrated education program for all personnel involved in providing judicial services to the citizens of North Dakota from any municipal, district or appellate court of the State of North Dakota, or any municipal subdivision thereof.
Rule 4. Item B - Each municipal judge must complete at lease 18 hours of approved course work in continuing education during each three-year period of tenure, commencing July 1, 2008. In addition, each new municipal judge must complete a judicial orientation course within the first three months of taking office. Municipal judges serving at least one year, but less than two, from the end of the last three-year reporting period will be required to report six continuing education hours; those serving at least two years, but less than three, will be required to report 12 continuing education hours. Continuing education requirements for those with less than one full year of service will be waived.
Discussion: Judge Kautzman said most of the municipal judges are part time and work approximately one day a week and some judges do not have cases all year long. She isn't opposed to six hours, but thought that four hours might be better, but six would be workable. She also recommended a three-year reporting period, the same as in Rule 4, Section (as). Judge Kautzman said she would like to see some flexibility in the way municipal judges can earn their continuing education credits.
Lee Ann Barnhardt said the current guidelines for Municipal Judge training are limited for those who are not law trained. She stated that the commission will need to look at the guidelines at its next meeting.
Members also discussed the possibility of allowing Municipal Judges to attend the Fall and Summer Judicial Conferences. Justice Maring said this commission has some control over the continuing education at the judicial conference, with approval of the executive board of judicial conference, but the membership is set by statute. Technically, judicial conference has only been for statutory judicial conference members. In the past there has been some history of inviting people who aren't members of judicial conference to the continuing education portion of judicial conference. Justice Maring said the Commission can recommend allowing Municipal Judges to attend, but it would be up to the Executive Board of Judicial Conference to decide whether they want to open it up.
Judge Kautzman asked if the October Municipal Judges meeting could be conducted through IVN and have various locations throughout the state. She asked if there is a training library with tapes or DVD's that municipal judges could access if they miss a training.
A motion to amend the language to read that each municipal judge must complete at least 18 hours of approved course work in continuing judicial education during each 3 year period of tenure and to include the language in Rule 4 D regarding the reporting period was made by Judge Kautzman and seconded by Judge Anderson. Motion carried.
Rule 4. Item C - Each magistrate appointed under Section 27-05- 31, NDCC, must attend a continuing education program every odd calendar year as provided by the Judicial Branch Education Commission.
Discussion: Lee Ann Barnhardt said she has concerns about the rule for Magistrate training because the duties assigned to magistrates vary across the state, making it more difficult to provide the appropriate training. The Chief Justice is aware of this problem and has asked her to do some research on how magistrates are being utilized. The statute authorizing magistrates states that education requirements will be set by the court. The Chief Justice has asked Lee Ann to survey the magistrates to determine which of the duties they are performing and how often to get a sense as to how they are being utilized. If the court determines that changes to this rule are needed, it will also require changing AR 20, which includes language regarding continuing education.
Rule 4. Item D - Each juvenile court director and court officer must complete at least 40 hours of approved course work during each three-year period, commencing July 1, 2005. In addition, each new court officer must complete an orientation program within the first six months of taking office. Officers employed at least one year, but less than two, from the end of the last three-year reporting period will be required to report 13 continuing education hours; those employed at least two years, but less than three, will be required to report 26 continuing education hours. Continuing education requirements for those with less than one full year of employment will be waived.
Rule 5. Item 1 - Develop high quality judicial branch training and continuing education programs in this state for individuals involved in providing judicial services to the citizens of North Dakota from any municipal, district or appellate court of the State of North Dakota, or any municipal subdivision thereof, to enhance performance of their duties in the unified judicial system and their professional growth, and to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to fulfill any mandatory continuing educational requirements.
Rule 5. Item 2, Item 3, Item 4, Item 5, Item 6, Item 7, and Item 8 insert judicial branch training;
Rule 6. Judge Irby made a request in writing to add the American Institute for Justice as a presumptively approved sponsor as Rule 6. subsection B 22.
Discussion: Dean LeBel questioned whether the new organization being added to Rule 6 B item 22 is the American Justice Institute or the Institute for Justice? Judge McCullough stated Judge Irby's request is for the American Institute for Justice. Website: www.AIJINC.org. Justice Maring said that in the past the Supreme Court had not supported amendments to add additional organizations to the presumptively approved list in AR 36.
A motion was made by Judge Kautzman to not include the American Institute for Justice in Rule 6 subsection B 22. The motion was seconded by Dean LeBel. Motion carried, 6-1.
Rule 7. Added references to continuing judicial education.
Rule 12. Change the effective date of the rule.
A motion was made to approve AR 36 as amended by Judge Anderson, seconded by Judge Kautzman. Motion carried, 6-1.
Amendments to Administrative Order 9 - Court Technology Committee
The change is to approve the language in paragraph A 1 to read: The Chief Justice, in consultation with the Supreme Court, appoints judges and administrative staff of the judiciary to serve on the Committee. No more than 11 members shall be appointed for three year terms. A member may not serve more than three consecutive terms. A former member who served three consecutive terms is eligible for reappointment after a six-year break in service. The Director of Education and Communication shall be an ex officio member of the Committee.
A motion was made by Judge McCullough to change the language and seconded by Judge Kautzman. Motion carried..
The proposed amendments will be forwarded to the Supreme Court.
V. Report: Status of Education and Conference Center Proposal
Lee Ann Barnhardt said a subcommittee was formed at the last Commission meeting to develop a proposal for the education and conference center. Step 1 was research and Lee Ann has compiled background information regarding the current conference needs and needs of standing committees of the court. Judge Reich, Judge Anderson and Shawn Peterson are on the subcommittee. A meeting will take place before the May Commission meeting. August is the deadline for a proposal.
I. Report: Children's Justice Conference - Children's Justice Conference, supported by Court Improvement Education Grant money, is scheduled for July 22-24, 2008 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. The grant subcommittee will meet in March to finalize the agenda and will get information out to judges and juvenile court officers, as well as social workers, guardians ad litem, law enforcement, and treatment providers. Judge Reich is the Commission representative on that sub-committee. The grant plan includes a state wide conference around child welfare issues to be held every two years.
II. Education Conference Planning:
A. Fall 2008 Judicial Conference - Dean LeBel stated the Law School has clinic facilitators who would like to present at the Fall Conference in regards to types of cases they are handling. Lee Ann stated this would be beneficial and could allow 60 minutes. Lee Ann said the Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota would like to present a session on child development issues related to custody reviews and visitation, specifically when there has been abuse or allegation of abuse. It was suggested that offer sessions related to custody and family law and also on the new mediation program.
B. Fall 2008 Municipal Judges Conference - Lee Ann asked for suggestions for the next municipal judge seminar. She reported she will invite Judge Karl Grube back as he was very well received at the 2006 conference. She also said she would like to offer the Courtroom 101 Session every other year.
C. Spring 2009 Judicial Institute - The theme of this conference was discussed. The commission decided that mental health would be a good topic as it can be an issue across all case types.
III. Other Business
There was no other business to report.
IV. Meeting Adjourned 10:40 a.m.
The next meeting of the Judicial Education Commission is scheduled for May 16, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in the Front Conference Room of the Supreme Court.