It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the May 21, 2003, and June 30, 2003, meetings be approved as distributed. Motion carried.
Policy on Court-Ordered Expenses
Discussion focused on the draft policy for court-ordered expenses. After discussion, it was moved and seconded to insert the word “legal” before rationale under B(1). Motion carried Discussion then focused on procedure 4. It was moved and seconded to eliminate section 4 of the policy. Motion carried.
The draft policy was then considered. It was moved and seconded to adopt the policy, as amended. Motion carried.
Reductions-in-Force and Impact of SB 2423
Ted Gladden reviewed SB 2423 and its potential impact on the judiciary. He indicated that staff had prepared guidelines for consideration by the Council of Presiding Judges regarding review of all positions. Judge Geiger stated it is important to compare workload ratios between judicial districts. The impact of reducing personnel in one office may have a bigger impact than in another office. There was a sense that some standard needs to be developed. Chief Justice VandeWalle indicated that we need some standard regardless of action taken as it relates to legislation in SB 2423. In response to a question of whether a decision of the State Court Administrator should be brought back to the Council, it was clarified that any recommendation that is made would go to the Chief Justice. It was agreed that any recommendation made by the State Court Administrator would have to state in writing the rationale for that recommendation. After considerable discussion of the three options for reviewing positions, it was agreed that option 1 should be adopted wherein all positions would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It was moved and seconded that option 1 would be the standard that would be applied. Motion carried.
Discussion then focused on revisions to Policy 514 for implementing a review of staffing standards. It was moved and seconded to approve the policy. Following considerable discussion, the motion was withdrawn. It was then moved and seconded to insert in No. 4 the words “among others” and strike “in part”. Motion carried. It was moved and seconded to insert “clerk of court” in No. 5 to further enumerate what would be included in a unit of measurement. After further discussion, the motion was withdrawn, and it was moved to take out all of the proposed language in No. 5 and add section E to include that consideration will be given to the clerk of court and juvenile court workload standards. Motion carried. It was then moved and seconded to adopt Policy 514 as amended. Motion carried.
Chief Justice VandeWalle indicated that the same standard and approach would apply to review of supreme court positions.
Discussion of Motion at May 21, 2003, Meeting Regarding Purchase of AudioSync
Ted Gladden indicated that he was requesting the Council to reconsider action taken at the May 21 meeting regarding AudioSync. He stated that the discussion of AudioSync had been included with the position paper for realtime and dealt with as issues relating to taking the record. He did not feel that everybody understood the impact of the motion taken. It was requesting that it receive further discussion and consideration. He informed the Council the cost to purchase AudioSync, which is an audio backup for stenographic record taking, would be $1,000 per machine. With 27 court reporters, it would mean a maximum potential liability of $27,000. No funds have been budgeted for this purchase. It was moved and seconded to table any action on the proposed policy until further information is gathered. Judge Backes indicated he wanted to visit with the court reporters in his district and requested that this matter be carried over to the future meeting. Motion Carried.
Preparation of Juvenile Court Petitions and Service Costs
Ted Gladden reviewed issues relating to the role of juvenile court personnel preparing petitions. He referred the Council to the memorandum Jim Ganje prepared stating that there is still uncertainty over what the appropriate role of juvenile staff is. Greg Wallace indicated that he has requested time on the agenda at the annual state’s attorney’s meeting to visit with them about the role of juvenile court staff. There is a policy that states that juvenile court staff shall not sign petitions, but the actual preparation process is still unclear. There is concern that if juvenile court staff are preparing petitions, they may be practicing law without a license.
Discussion then focused on the cost of service. Mr. Gladden directed the Council members to the cost for service by publication where over $28,000 was expended during the 01-03 biennium. The largest cost for service by publication was in the South Central Judicial District where over $17,000 was expended. Judge Graff indicated he was very concerned about the amount that is being expended. There was discussion that we may need a statutory amendment to clarify the language regarding service and who should be charged. As there are different standards that are being applied and procedures followed in the state, Greg Wallace was directed to prepare a survey instrument to gather information from every juvenile court in the state to find out the specific role of juvenile court personnel in the preparation of juvenile court petitions and service procedures that are being used. Judge Schmalenberger indicated that in the Southwest Judicial District, they are serving parties by notice which can be done by first class mail. After further discussion, staff was directed to prepare a survey instrument, analyze the data and provide recommendations for action at the September Presiding Judges meeting.
Game and Fish Disposition Fee Schedule
Ted Gladden reviewed the proposed amendments to the Game and Fish disposition fee schedule. He provided information obtained from enforcement supervisors of Game and Fish over action they were requesting being taken. It was moved and seconded to approve the amended schedule as presented to the Council of Presiding Judges. Discussion then focused on the fiscal impact and amount the costs will be raised for the violators. After further discussion, the motion was carried.
Ted Gladden then distributed a copy of the summons and complaint form by Game and Fish and their Rule 43 form. He indicated that the Department of Game and Fish is in the process of amending their form and are seeking input on any suggested revisions to the form. It was concluded that Mr. Gladden should contact Game and Fish indicating that the only changes suggested would be to have separate lines for bail bond and fines and costs would be consolidated and it would be the amount assessed that would be completed. The unassessed figure would be provided from the disposition fee schedule by the enforcement personnel.
Northeast Judicial District Recoupment Procedures
Ted Gladden reviewed the recoupment procedures used in the Northeast Judicial District. He provided it as a point of information to the members indicating that they had developed good procedures for recouping funds from criminal defendants. He indicated that the Northeast District recoups more money than any other judicial district.
Judge Geiger then spoke about the procedures and indicated that they are working quite well district wide.
City Transfer Cases
Two questions were raised by Jim Ganje in his memorandum concerning administration fees in municipal court transfer cases.
1.Will the new administration fee be imposed in district court upon disposition of the transferred case?
2.If the new administration fees are imposed, how will the fee revenue be handled?
After considerable discussion, it was moved and seconded that the new administrative fee should be imposed. Any revenues received should go to the state and should not be shared with the municipality. Motion carried.
Reporting Indigent Defense Matters
Greg Wallace provided a handout concerning indigent defense time reporting. The document provided for standards that should be applied or reported on all hours. It was moved and seconded to accept the standards that were provided by Mr. Wallace with an amendment to No. 2 to read “revocations and any other post-conviction proceedings should be considered a new assignment.”
After further discussion, the reporting standards were approved.
Assistant State Court Administrator for Trial Operations Reports
Greg Wallace discussed the administrative review of indigent defense applications that is being put in place statewide. He provided a timetable for the Council and indicated that everyone is moving forward with the administrative process and it appears to be working well.
Ted Gladden asked the Council to be sure and let the state court administrator’s office know if they are aware of any problems or concerns with this administrative process so that concerns can be addressed timely.
Ted Gladden then indicated that the status of the management reviews of district administrator and clerk of court offices. He indicated that a team was going to be in Fargo on July 23-24 to conduct a management review. Following that review, there are four remaining offices that need to be reviewed. They are Grand Forks County, Richland County, Burleigh County, and Stark County. There has been some type of review in all but Stark County so these offices would not require a complete review but more of an update.
For the Good of the Order
Inquiry was made about the use of ITV for future meetings. While it is possible to schedule the meetings, the issues becomes the coordination of holding the meetings where seven sites are connected. The Chair indicated that this is something that should be reserved for shorter meetings and for use during winter time.
There was a consensus that this should be considered for future meetings.