Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle, Presiding Judges Allan L. Schmalenberger, Michael O. McGuire, Benny A. Graff, Debbie Kleven, M. Richard Geiger, and Judge David W. Nelson for Presiding Judge Robert W. Holte, and Judge Richard W. Grosz for Presiding Judge John T. Paulson
Absent: Presiding Judge Robert W. Holte but represented by Judge David W. Nelson, and Presiding Judge John T. Paulson but represented by Judge Richard W. Grosz
Guests: Judge Frank L. Racek
Staff: Keithe Nelson, Ted Gladden, Greg Wallace and Jim Ganje
Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. He extended a welcome and recognized three new presiding judges, Judge M. Richard Geiger, Judge Michael O. McGuire and Judge Debbie Kleven. He also extended a special welcome to Judge Richard W. Grosz and Judge David W. Nelson who were representing their presiding judges. Judge Frank L. Racek was also welcomed. It was moved and seconded that the minutes of the November 20, 2000 meeting be approved. Carried.
Greg Wallace reported that the Bar Association has agreed to take responsibility for training attorney guardians ad litem. They will also track attendance on annual training. He has worked with the training center at UND to establish the necessary custody investigator training. The training will consist of the 18-hour course previously developed. Training costs for 2001 to July 2002 are $32,436. After discussion, by consensus it was agreed that no tuition will be changed for attendees. Qualifications of custody investigators were discussed. The rule suggests minimum requirements, not mandatory requirements. Judge Benny A. Graff moved that current providers be grandfathered and that the training of the new investigators be approved. Judge Schmalenberger seconded the motion. Carried.
Greg Wallace discussed that in certain areas, the assistant state trial court administrators will need to communicate directly with clerks of court. While Administrative Rule 46 states that clerks will report to the presiding judge, the role of the trial court administrative personnel is not clarified. Greg and Ted felt that it was not fair to dump a number of new tasks on the administrative personnel. In certain areas, direct communication will be necessary. He emphasized that it is not an attempt to cut trial court administrative personnel out of the business of the court.
Greg Wallace outlined the first of four transcript issues. The first issue deals with problems with transcripts in municipal transfer cases. The question is, should the city pay or should the state pay transcript costs on an appeal? The second issue in the same area is, in those circumstances should court reporters be paid for preparing the record? There is nothing in the municipal contracts that deal with this although defense and other issues are born by the city, so it would appear that the logical answer is that the city pay for transcript costs. Judge McGuire moved that the sample municipal contract be changed and that it be made clear that the city is to bear this expense and that the reporter will be paid. Judge Geiger seconded the motion. Carried.
The second issue dealt with whether reporters should be paid for transcripts for indigent persons who need the transcript for impeachment of another. The general theory of the rule is that if the state pays the bill, then the court reporter is not paid because it is "business of the court". Judge Geiger moved that any transcript requested by indigent defense and approved by the judge is business of the court. Judge Kleven seconded the motion. After discussion, Judge Geiger withdrew the motion, Judge Kleven withdrew the second and by consensus the issue was referred to staff.
The third issue is whether a transcript has to be prepared when a prisoner requests it. After discussion, it was pointed out that by statute the judge is given the discretion in these cases and that is where it should remain.
The fourth issue dealt with payment for expedited transcripts that are the business of the court. It was the consensus of the Council to not allow additional payments.
Ted Gladden pointed out that there is great disparity on how clerk of court personnel are involved in collection of fines, fees and costs. State's attorneys have the responsibility by law to collect fines, fees and costs. Through the years, clerk of court personnel have assumed this responsibility in many courts primarily because the state's attorneys in some counties did not do the collections. By consensus, it was agreed to return this matter to Ted Gladden to reconvene the ledger card committee. Jim Ganje will work with the committee on a redraft. The redraft will be brought back to the Council for action.
The proposed forms along with comments received during the comment period were discussed. Judge McGuire moved to instruct staff to revise the forms to include both comments during discussion and comments received during the comment period. After revision, the comments are to be sent out to the members of the Council of Presiding of Judges for review after which the forms will be final. Judge Geiger seconded the motion. Carried.
Greg Wallace presented Policy 511, Court Recording Procedures. Attached to the policy are procedures to be followed when recording. Judge Allan L. Schmalenberger moved to approve both the policy and the procedures. Judge Graff seconded the motion. Carried. After discussion, Greg was directed to include court reporters in electronic recording training.
Ted Gladden speculated that he expects in the near future for sheriffs to start charging for service of process. This change will probably be brought about by the change of 11 counties from being county funded to being state funded. He suggested that we should start using U.S. Mail. The Council asked Ted to make a list of items that could effectively be served by First Class Mail and to present it at the next meeting.
Judge Graff nominated Judge Debbie Kleven to be the Board's representative on the Juvenile Policy Board. This was seconded by Judge Geiger. Carried.
Ted Gladden presented Policy 505, Management of Probate, Supervised Trust, Guardianship/Conservatorship, and Spousal Support Cases. This policy was discussed previously and was sent out for comment. No comments were received. Judge Schmalenberger moved adoption. Judge Kleven seconded the motion. Carried.
Ted Gladden explained that there is a need for a transition plan moving restitution from the clerk of court office in state-funded offices to the state's attorney. He proposed that the transition plan be developed with a 1 July transfer date and that the plan would include instructions, training and access to UCIS by state's attorneys where restitution efforts can be assisted using UCIS. By consensus, it was agreed that Ted should proceed.
Chief Justice VandeWalle asked that Jim Ganje present a legislative update at the April 30, 2001 meeting,
Ted Gladden announced that the Human Services Child Support Unit had agreed to take all spousal support cases with an enforcement provision on April 1. He pointed out that if there is no enforcement provision specifically stated in the order, Policy 505 will direct how clerks are to instruct parties they must proceed as is any other civil action.
No issues were raised.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.