Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle
Presiding Judges: Benny A. Graff, John T. Paulson, Norman J. Backes, and Judge Gary Holum for Presiding Judge Robert W. Holte
Absent: Presiding Judge Lawrence E. Jahnke, Presiding Judge Lee A. Christofferson, Presiding Judge Allan L. Schmalenberger, and Presiding Judge Robert W. Holte who was represented by Judge Gary Holum
Staff: Keithe E. Nelson, Ted Gladden, Greg Wallace and Jan Thielges
Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. He welcomed all in attendance and singled out Judge Gary Holum who was representing Presiding Judge Robert Holte. Judge Norman J. Backes moved to approve the minutes of the January 20, 2000 videoconference meeting. Judge Graff seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Questions have surfaced as to whether the city or the state should pay jury expenses when the state's cut is 50% as it is in Section 1 and Section 3 options. Judge Graff said that we should not be in the business of billing for services performed, and it would be far better if we just paid the jury expenses. Judge Backes moved to modify the contracts to show that the state pays jury expenses in all cases and the city pays everything else such as indigent defense prosecution and the like. In exchange, the state would take 60% of the contract and the city and county divide the remaining 40%. Judge John T. Paulson seconded the motion. The motion carried. Keithe Nelson was directed to revise the contracts.
Chief Justice VandeWalle announced that the court is considering a court annexed but not mandatory ADR program with a list of mediators. He recommended that this issue be left on the agenda until a program is established and an intelligent decision can be made on how to best spend the money
appropriated for test programs.
Chief Justice VandeWalle asked if anyone knows how many people have signed up. Keithe Nelson reported that he has knowledge that one judge has signed up and that two others plan to attend. Judge Paulson moved that the judges who attend these courses make a report on their value. Judge Holum seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Ted Gladden reported that the policy has been broadened to include all infractions as per the Presiding Judges' direction at the last meeting. Both Judge Allan L. Schmalenberger and Ted worked to develop the redraft. Judge Paulson made a motion to circulate the redraft for comment. Judge Holum seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Greg Wallace reported that this subcommittee is developing time standards for juvenile cases. The subcommittee is chaired by Judge Lee Christofferson. The Committee will make a report and recommendation to the Council of Presiding Judges after they have developed the necessary standards.
Jana Thielges reviewed the Governor's budget guidance which was presented earlier in the week. The Governor did not limit budget input to 95% of the last biennium as he has done in the past. Jana presented a budget timetable. Chief Justice VandeWalle suggested that we use zero-based budgeting when we do the budget this year and identify programs and money that can be eliminated. He also expressed the hope that the clerk of court's budget portion will come in under $11 million which has been the estimate for the last six years. The Council of Presiding Judges agreed with the proposed time lines presented by Jana.
Ted Gladden reported that some judges use clerks to record cases, most do not. He questioned whether we should have a standardized policy with deviations permitted only in unusual cases. The proper use of clerk time is being considered by the Supreme Court in other areas. Chief Justice VandeWalle announced that a decision on clerk of court duties will be made in the near future and that perhaps this should wait until the dust settles.
A contract has been signed with the National Center for State Courts to perform what is now officially termed a "workload assessment study". Meetings will start in mid-April. There are two orientation sessions scheduled for anyone in the state who is interested in attending, i.e. clerks of court, commissioners, whoever. The contract also provides that the clerks of court will be briefed at their annual conference and the WAPC (Weighted Assessment Policy Committee) will meet with Center staff on four different occasions. The study will be concluded no later than the last day of August 2000. This will permit the budget to be put together after the workload assessment study has concluded.
The basic question that the Council of Presiding Judges was interested in is whether the Wide Area Network (WAN) will work for legal research. The minutes of the Committee reflect that it has been tested by two different judges in two different locations and the conclusion is that it is too slow and unwieldy to be of service at this time.
Ted Gladden reported that the Court Services Committee was unable to take action on the reorganization plan. It was moved and carried to table the issue. The plan was then sent to the Supreme Court for information purposes.
Greg Wallace reported that Jana Thielges now reports recoupment amounts monthly on the monthly budget report.
Ted Gladden reported that the fall docket currency report is done. He reported that judges across the state are doing a much better job of monitoring their cases. He expressed thanks to the Council of Presiding Judges for their support.
Ted next reported that he is working with the Child Support Enforcement Unit to standardize case handling and ease the workload of clerks of court. He then reported that the ITV Project is on track. A demonstration for judges is expected in early April. Four locations are being set up.
Greg Wallace reported that he has had two calls from people who are interested in training programs for guardians ad litem. He has been trying to call Sandi Tabor to find out how the need will be met. He will report further on this topic at the next meeting.
Ted Gladden reported that a uniform UCIS sentencing reporting form is needed. He pointed out in the past the judges have been unable to agree with a standard form. Judge Paulson moved that Ted work with a presiding judge, BCI and Corrections to develop a form to be presented to the Council of Presiding Judges. Judge Holum seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Keithe Nelson asked for Leadership Conference issues that could be passed on to the presenter for discussion at the Leadership Conference. Suggestions included discussion on how our structure will look in ten years and where the clerks of court should fit in; how many districts we should have, less than seven? How can we improve our public image; and how can we develop better relationships with the Legislature? Judge Holum stated that he does not like the rules coming out on ad hoc basis. It would be much better if everything were changed at one time during the year. Other topics suggested were governance and what is the role of the presiding judge; what is the role of the administrative assistant; and what should be the role of the Council of Presiding Judges? The Council urged Keithe Nelson to contact the district judges and ask for their input as well.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:25 p.m.