Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle; Presiding Judges Schmalenberger, McGuire, Graff, Kleven, Geiger, Holte, Paulson.
Staff: Keithe Nelson, Ted Gladden, Greg Wallace, Jim Ganje, Jana Thielges.
Chief Justice VandeWalle called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. The minutes of the March 16, 2001, meeting were approved.
Keithe Nelson stated that the requirement that the city pay all transcript costs has been added to the contract. Judge Schmalenberger asked that two contracts be prepared instead of the one which is confusing. The two contracts would be for the transfer of all municipal cases to the state and the second one for those instances where the defendant has requested, in writing, within twenty-eight days after arrangement to transfer to the district court for a jury trial. Keithe Nelson stated that would not be a problem. By consensus the Council directed Keithe Nelson to prepare the two contracts.
Jana Thielges handed out the new leave and time record form that has been developed. She briefed the changes in Policy 102 which dealt with compensatory time, leave, education, conference leave, and leave without pay. After a brief discussion, the Council of Presiding Judges agreed that this policy should be forwarded to the Supreme Court for approval. This decision was by consensus.
Jana briefed the change in this policy concerning attendance at out-of-state courses and conferences. The changes are in Section C. These changes affect employees only and not judges. The approval of the chief justice or his designee is required for out-of-state training for employees. By consensus it was agreed to forward this to the Supreme Court for action.
Jana Thielges briefed the change which is found in paragraph B1 concerning overtime. The major change is that overtime compensatory time has to be forwarded to the Supreme Court rather than maintained at district level. By consensus it was agreed that this should be forwarded to the Supreme Court with a recommendation of approval.
Greg Wallace presented a revised Policy 206 which was changed to define "business of the court." The change is in paragraph A3 which now reads "business of the court means transcripts prepared as the direct result of a criminal, juvenile, or other court-ordered transcript where the state will pay the cost of the transcript. Transcripts prepared as part of discovery in a related case will not be considered business of the court. Judge Graff moved to approve the modification. Judge McGuire seconded the motion. Judge Geiger moved to amend by adding paragraph 5 as follows: If a transcript is prepared during the regular work hours of an employee for which compensation is authorized, that compensation must be paid to the state of North Dakota and not to the employee. Judge Paulson seconded the motion to amend. After vote, the amended motion failed. The motion as originally drafted was approved.
Ted Gladden reported that he will have a proposal at the next meeting of the Council of Presiding Judges.
Ted Gladden reported that the revised forms will be presented at the next meeting of the Council.
Ted Gladden reported that the following documents could be served by first class mail.
Criminal OSC (enforcement proceedings)
1st Appearance notices on City transfer cases
Administrative traffic hearing notices
Small claims hearing notices that are scheduled with the judge
Small claims hearing notices scheduled with referee by certified mail
Notice of Registration (child support) by certified mail
Child support enforcement hearings
This topic, Council agreed, will be discussed at the next meeting.
Greg Wallace presented alternatives and data for the distribution of indigent defense funds by district. Chief Justice VandeWalle reviewed the history of our 1999-01 appropriation that required indigent defense funds to be allocated based on a formula. Greg said that he would work with Jana Thielges and the trial court administrative personnel to determine the distribution amounts. Chief Justice VandeWalle stated that it should be based on a formula. The results will be discussed with the Council of Presiding Judges in a telephone conference call.
Chief Justice VandeWalle brought to the Council's attention the need for guardians for the elderly. With our growing senior population, the need is growing. In the discussion that followed, the need for child custody investigators was also discussed. These topics will be discussed at a future meeting.
Greg Wallace discussed House Bill No. 1358 which contains several time standards for temporary custody orders, shelter care hearings, filing of the petition, and commencement of the proceedings. Greg stated that he will discuss this individually with judges and district court juvenile personnel. No action was taken at the meeting.
Jim Ganje outlined the Court Services Committee position that the Court Records Management Subcommittee be abolished and that a separate committee be set up under the auspices of the Council of Presiding Judges. He pointed out that forms development could also be included as a committee responsibility. Judge Paulson moved that staff develop a proposal for a new committee to replace the Court Records Management Committee. Judge Kleven seconded the motion. The motion was carried.
Judge Kleven asked if a policy should be developed for processing and collecting the indigent defense application fee. After discussion, Jim Ganje was asked to develop an application form.
Ted Gladden presented rules he has developed with the clerks for management visits. It consists of times a clerk should always be in the courtroom such as jury orientation, criminal and civil jury selection, and criminal and jury trials after closing instruction to swear bailiffs and organize exhibits prior to jury deliberation. The following are times where the clerk is not and should not be required to be in the courtroom. For divorce proceedings, juvenile proceedings, to operate courtroom equipment, take minutes or notes, preliminary hearings, adoption hearings, pretrial conferences, felony bond hearings, organize court files, and filling out court forms. The third category lists times when the clerk may be needed in the courtroom, civil jury trial with numerous exhibits, at the request of the assigned judges, criminal initial appearances for future scheduling and notice of service, misdemeanor bond hearings for future scheduling and service of notice or not guilty pleas, and child support and criminal orders to show cause to testify as to the record. Judge Schmalenberger moved that these principles be drafted into a policy and presented at the next meeting. Judge Graff seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Ted Gladden reported on the need for a standardized bond envelope to be used by all counties. If this were done the state could print them up and provide them to all counties. Judge Geiger moved that Ted and Jim Ganje draft envelope language and present it at the next meeting. Judge Paulson seconded the motion, motion carried.
Jana Thielges briefed on the legislative action on our budget.
Jim Ganje provided an extensive budget update. Chief Justice VandeWalle asked Jim to distribute the outline that he has put together along with a copy of all applicable emergency bills to all judges.
Ted Gladden presented revised Policy 505 (Management of Probate, Supervised Trust, Guardianship/Conservatorship, Criminal Foster Care, and Spousal Support Cases. After discussion of the changes, Judge Graff moved to send the policy out for comment. Judge Schmalenberger seconded the motion, carried.
Greg Wallace asked for guidance on attendance at the mandatory court recording sessions which are scheduled. Specifically he asked if it was necessary for secretaries who never record and deputy clerks of court who never record to attend one of these sessions. The answer is that they must go unless they use a different kind of system in their court such as digital recording. Judge Paulson moved and Judge McGuire seconded that those who do not attend one of these sessions will be denied their next step increase. The motion was carried.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.