Judge Donald Jorgensen, Chair
Judge Zane Anderson
Judge Bruce Bohlman
Judge Richard Geiger
Justice Carol Kapsner
Judge William Severin
Judge Bruce Bohlman
Keithe Nelson (ex officio)
Chair Jorgensen called the meeting to order at 12:15 P.M. and welcomed all new members to the Commission.
He then drew the members' attention to the first item on the agenda, the minutes of the January 26, 2000 conference call. A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judge Anderson to approve the minutes as drafted. The motion unanimously carried.
Municipal Judges Seminar - Makeup Program
Carla Kolling explained that a "make-up" seminar for those municipal judges who were unable to attend the October 1999 seminar was scheduled for March 27, 2000 in Bismarck. She informed the members that the judges will spend a morning observing Judge Severin's court followed by a question/answer session. She expressed concern over the fact that attendance was low, and there were judges that failed to call in to inform her as to why they could not attend. She consulted with Judge Jorgensen, and he attempted to contact the judges to encourage their attendance. Judge Jorgensen explained that he has three judges left to contact and suggested that we hold another program for those who could not attend the March 27 program, giving them one more opportunity to fulfill their education requirement.
Carla expressed concern over offering yet another opportunity for judges to comply. She fears that if the word gets out about us sponsoring make up programs for judges, we are going to have numerous judges not attending the original program. Judge Severin agreed, he believes one program is sufficient, and we should not have to hound them to attend, the responsibility lies with them to make sure they satisfy their education requirement.
The members inquired whether the AR 36 provided guidance on how to proceed if judges do not comply with the education requirement. Carla explained that the rule provides that if a judge does not fulfill his education requirement, their name would be submitted to the Judicial Conduct Commission. Judge Geiger suggested sending a letter to the mayor and the city commission informing them of the judge's status.
Judge Jorgensen indicated that he will make one last effort to contact the three remaining judges who are not in compliance.
Judge Jorgensen drew the members' attention to the five education plans and informed them that once Gordon Zimmerman has completed reviewing them, they will be put into final format for the Commission's review. He explained that the next few meetings will be used to put the contents of the plans into a reasonable permanent plan for the team to take to Memphis in June.
Administrative Rule 36 - Mandatory Education Rule
Carla Kolling inquired whether the Commission wished to amend the rule to include a Clerk of District Court representative. Justice Kapsner commented that if the rule were to be amended to include a clerk, the judges will be a minority to the Commission. Judge Jorgensen questioned whether its essential to have judges be a majority. Judge Geiger stated that he did not think it mattered. He said by requiring that judges be the majority, it is assuming that all the judges will agree on the same issues and that may not happen. The Commission agreed that the Chair needs to have the tie breaking vote.
Carla commented that there is no need to make a decision at this time since the clerk's will not be part of the system until next year and that there may be other amendments to the rule that the Commission may want to consider. She suggested tabling the issue until a later time. A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judge Anderson that the issue be placed on the agenda of a future meeting. The motion unanimously carried.
Juvenile Court Conference
Judge Jorgensen invited Jim Fish to comment on the upcoming Juvenile Court Conference. Jim explained that the agenda items, especially the segment on cross cultural awareness, falls in line with the four-year education curriculum that the Juvenile Court Education Committee developed.
Judge Severin suggested having a program on cross cultural awareness for the Municipal Judges. He stated that it would be a topic that could apply to both law and non-law trained judges.
A motion was made by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Anderson to approve the agenda for the Juvenile Court Conference. The motion unanimously carried.
Judge Jorgensen suggested that the agenda reflect the education credits assigned to the program prior to submitting it to the Commission for approval together with an estimate of the costs associated with sponsoring the program.
Carla Kolling informed the Commission that prior to each legislative session, she prepares a detailed budget for each education program for the Commission's approval. She said that each program has an itemized cost breakdown and that she follows that budget when contracting with faculty. Judge Geiger commented that he did not believe it should be necessary that the Commission receive an itemized breakdown of the costs for each program when the agenda is provided. He said that is an administrative issue that the Commission should not have to deal with unless there was a problem. He said that the Commission signed off on the original budget and that was sufficient. Judge Severin commented that it would add one more layer of paperwork unnecessarily. Other members agreed that it was unnecessary to provide that information unless a problem arose. Judge Jorgensen requested that Carla include the proposed number of hours on each program agenda prior to submitting it to the Commission.
Clerk of Court Conference
For informational purposes, Carla Kolling provided the agenda for the Clerks of Court Conference and explained that the attendees include district and municipal court clerks and representatives from the tribal courts.
Juvenile Court Promotional Video
Carla Kolling explained that the Juvenile Court promotional video is near completion. She said that Chief Justice VandeWalle agreed to be the narrator for the video and did an excellent job. She informed members that she hopes to have the video available for viewing at the Judge's Leadership Conference in Carrington in April.
Advanced Leadership Institute in Memphis
Carla Kolling informed the members that the Leadership Institute will be providing full funding for two members of the Commission to attend and partial funding (lodging, meals and tuition) for the other three members. She explained that the team will be responsible for delivering a presentation on their statewide education plan that was developed this past year together with its implementation plan. Carla explained that it will be necessary to have that plan in order prior to attending the Leadership Institute. Chair Jorgensen said that the next meetings will be devoted to finalizing the plan and preparing for the presentation.
Bench & Bar Seminar
Carla Kolling informed the members that the Bench & Bar Seminar is scheduled for October 12-13 in Fargo and its topic is Stranger and NonStranger Sexual Assault. She said that Judge Bohlman has been working with Justice Maring and Carol Vondrachek at the State Bar on faculty and the logistics for the program.
Items for Consideration
Carla Kolling provided a list of items for consideration by the members.
1. Eliminating the mandatory education requirement for magistrates;
2. Procedure for reporting noncompliance of education requirement for municipal judges;
3. Out of state education opportunities for judicial personnel;
4. Multi-state education seminars, and
5. Mandatory education for clerks of district court and judicial personnel.
Chair Jorgensen informed the members that he would anticipate a conference call in May with a face-to-face meeting during Judicial Conference. Carla informed the members that traditionally the Education Commission has scheduled a dinner meeting the evening of Judicial Conference which in June it will be on the 14th. Carla will contact Keithe and will coordinate a meeting time in conjunction with the Conference.
The meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.