Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle
Presiding Judges: Benny A. Graff, John T. Paulson, Lee A. Christofferson, Allan L. Schmalenberger, Robert W. Holte, Norman J. Backes and Judge Bruce E. Bohlman for Presiding Judge Lawrence E. Jahnke
Absent: Presiding Judge Lawrence E. Jahnke but represented by Judge Bruce E. Bohlman
Staff: Keithe E. Nelson, Ted Gladden and Greg Wallace
Guests: Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner, Wally Kowitz, Kim Nelsen and Doug Johnson
Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle called the meeting to order at 9:08 a.m. The November 22, 1999 minutes were approved after correction of the word Center to Central in the second to the last paragraph of page 3.
Ted Gladden outlined the plans and agenda for the Courthouse Security Seminar scheduled for March 20-22, 2000. The first half day covers liability issues and a court security overview. County commissioners, state's attorneys, sheriffs and judges are urged to attend this session. Ted asked the Presiding Judges to visit with county officials in support of attending and attend or send a judge from their district.
Ted Gladden briefed on the jury management statistics attached in the agenda book. We are getting better but there were still six cases settled on the day of trial causing the jury to come in, be paid and not hear a case. Two of the cases were civil cases. Judge John T. Paulson suggested Ted talk to the judges involved. Ted said he would.
Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle announced the Supreme Court is considering ADR, and he asked the Council of Presiding Judges to delay discussing how to best use the $40,000 funded for ADR until the next meeting. This issue will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Ted Gladden proposed the following initiatives:
Establish judicial oversight process on caseflow management under the Council of Presiding Judges
Review Docket Currency timeframes, possible rule amendment
Each district to establish a district-wide process and caseflow plan
Establish a reporting process on backlog index by judicial district and judge to Council of Presiding Judges
Work with each district on a caseflow management analysis process T/A
Review case management reports in UCIS for formatting:
1. Add continuance by party by event
2. Add median age to disposition
Develop statewide data standards
Have judge representatives attend the Institute for Court Management's seminar on Advanced Caseflow Management to be held May 3-5, in Scottsdale, AZ (see attached)
Judge Benny A. Graff and Judge Allan L. Schmalenberger both spoke in favor of the need for Presiding Judge involvement. Judge Lee A. Christofferson spoke of the need to develop a policy to prevent granting a continuance without a new specific date. Chief Justice VandeWalle urged the Presiding Judges and the other judges to attend the May Advanced Caseflow Management Course. Judge Christofferson moved that Ted Gladden be asked to develop caseflow management policies on granting continuances. Judge Paulson seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Several people suggested Policy 509 be redrafted and broadened to include all applicable infraction violations and not only the over-the-road truck cases. Ted Gladden suggested this should be done and that he would work with Judge Schmalenberger on revisions. Judge Schmalenberger moved that it be done and he offered to help redraft. Motion carried.
Keithe Nelson outlined the contents of the two existing Court Services Contracts:
I. Cases where the city has requested and the presiding judge agrees that the state will try all municipal cases. In these cases the city provides the prosecutor, indigent defense counsel and pays jury and witness expenses. The state receives 50% of all amounts collected.
II. Cases where the municipality has a municipal judge and the defendant has requested in writing a transfer to district court within 28 days after arraignment. In these cases the city provides a prosecutor and pays prosecution witness costs but the state provides an indigent defense counsel and pays defense witness and jury costs. The state receives 70% of all amounts collected.
A third option has been requested:
III. To modify the cost sharing in II above and shift the provision of indigent defense counsel and payment of defense witness and jury costs from the state to the city. The state will receive 50% of all amounts collected in this arrangement. Judge Robert W. Holte moved that this third option be approved. Judge Schmalenberger seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Judge Holte explained the clerk has a problem with dividing the money when there is a backdated contract and the amount to be transferred changes. Chief Justice VandeWalle directed Keithe Nelson to talk to the clerk.
Judge Holte next brought up the problem in cases where there is a fee assessment for funding crime victims and witness programs. Clerks have questioned if these assessments should be divided between the city and county. Chief Justice VandeWalle directed Keithe Nelson to look into it and report back to the Council.
Keithe Nelson outlined the Information Technology Plan. Judge Christofferson questioned the need to develop a computer program for out of district assignments made by the Chief Justice. The small number involved would justify the use of a spreadsheet rather than a computer program.
Judge Schmalenberger moved the plan be approved as drafted. Judge Graff seconded the motion. Motion Carried.
Judge Christofferson questioned why one tower for legal research available to all judges has not been installed. Ted Gladden said the Trial Court Legal Research Assistance Committee has been testing this concept. Judge Schmalenberger said research is impossibly slow without a T1 line and even slow with a T1 line. Additionally, there is no licensing benefit as the license fee must be paid for all users wherever they are. The minutes of the Trial Court Legal Research Assistance Committee will be included in the agenda book for the next meeting.
Greg Wallace announced we will soon be starting on the development of the 2001-03 budget. Jana Thielges will be sending out the budget development guidance in March.
At the last meeting, the Council of Presiding Judges established a committee to review the standards relating to handling juvenile court cases. The subcommittee, chaired by Judge Christofferson, includes Judge McLees, representatives from the Department of Human Services, a judicial referee, two juvenile court department heads, an assistant state's attorney and trial court administrative staff. The committee has met once by conference call and set out a schedule of tasks that will allow recommendations to the Council in June 2000.
Ted Gladden reported he will be working with trial court administrative personnel to provide better computer training on UCIS. In addition, he will work with the districts to develop consistency and insure the ledger card component is being used in all jurisdictions.
Judge Christofferson volunteered to serve on a task force to standardize UCIS case/count data but he cannot attend the May seminar.
Keithe Nelson announced Chief Justice VandeWalle asked him to inquire into the possibility of a NCSC clerk of court weighted caseload study. He reported the center is willing to do a Delphi Survey Study, provide Tim Fautsko as facilitator and complete the study by September 1, 2000. Study guidelines, price and the contract are being worked out. Clerks from each district will participate in the study. Chief Justice VandeWalle suggested adding two trial court administrators. Judge Christofferson suggested adding some judges. Judge Paulson suggested that Tim Fautsko attend the May 24 and 25, 2000 Clerk of Court Conference.
Keithe Nelson next briefed on the Leadership Conference on April 12-14, 2000 in Carrington, ND. The conference will feature Dr. Dale Lefever as facilitator. He is a nationally recognized expert on leadership in professional organizations and an outstanding speaker. A golf match will kick off the conference at noon on April 12, 2000 (weather permitting). Refreshments will be available at 6:30 p.m. at the golf clubhouse followed by an incredible meal at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Lefever will introduce the topic of judicial leadership following dinner. Rooms have been reserved for lodging at the Chieftain Hotel. The conference will meet at the Chieftain all day on April 13 and the morning of April 14 concluding at 12:00 noon. A banquet will be served at the Chieftain Hotel on Thursday evening along with a short unique program. Chief Justice VandeWalle said it is important that all judges attend and calendars should be cleared for this event now.
Judge Christofferson asked that the following be on the March agenda.
1. An update on the Court Services Administrative Reorganization Plan.
2. A report from Greg on recoupment.
Judge Paulson asked that the budget report include indigent defense recoupment as it did in the past. Keithe Nelson said it will be done.
Chief Justice VandeWalle asked the judges to provide an input on the use of IVN for the meeting. Judge Christofferson said he liked it because it saved six hours of travel time and moved the September meeting be on IVN. Judge Paulson seconded the motion. Judge Backes said the meeting was cold and he didn't like sitting alone in a room. Some were left out and Judge Backes said he missed the interaction with others. Judge Schmalenberger agreed. Judge Graff agreed but mentioned what helped him was the presence of six others in the room. The motion was carried.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.