November 20, 2000
Present: Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle, Presiding Judges Norman J. Backes, John T. Paulson, Robert W. Holte, Allan L. Schmalenberger, Benny A. Graff, and Judge Debbie Kleven for Presiding Judge Lawrence E. Jahnke, and Judge M. Richard Geiger for Presiding Judge Lee A. Christofferson.
Presiding Judge Lee A. Christofferson participated via telephone conference call for most of the meeting.
Absent: Presiding Judge Lawrence E. Jahnke but represented by Judge Debbie Kleven, and Presiding Judge Lee A. Christofferson but represented by Judge M. Richard Geiger.
Staff: Keithe Nelson, Ted Gladden, Jana Thielges, Greg Wallace, Jim Ganje and Carl Wigglesworth.
Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle welcomed everyone to the meeting and in particular he welcomed Judge M. Richard Geiger and Judge Debbie Kleven. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. Judge John T. Paulson moved to approve the minutes as corrected on the bottom of page three, changing approved to approval. Judge Robert W. Holte seconded the motion. Carried.
Clerk of Court Budget Requests
Jana Thielges briefed that the clerk of court budget request was increased from the last time it was briefed to the Council of Presiding Judges as a result of the need to add funds for restitution if the Supreme Court decides that restitution is to be accomplished by the clerk of court offices.
District Court Budget Request
Jana Thielges briefed that the judges salary line was adjusted to provide a 6% salary increase on July 1, 2001, plus a 3% salary increase on July 1, 2002 at the request of the Judicial Compensation Committee. This is one-half of the original goal to equal South Dakota judicial pay. A letter will be sent explaining that the long-term goal is to increase judicial pay by 12% to equal the pay of South Dakota judges over a period of two bienniums.
The second change reflected an increase in juror pay to $50 for the second and following days. Consultation fees were reduced. As a result of discussions with the Supreme Court, the indigent defense increase for each district will be limited to 22%. This decrease will slightly reduce the budget. Forty thousand dollars was added in for ADR, and $80,000 was added for pass-through dollars to UND - Central Legal Research; both amounts are also found in the current budget.
Chief Justice VandeWalle asked Judge Kleven, Chair of the Indigent Defense Commission, to discuss the Commission's proposed legislation concerning a $25 up-front application fee for indigent defense services. The Commission has submitted the proposal to the Supreme Court for consideration. Judge Kleven said the fee could be waived by the trial judge and that the proceeds would be deposited in a special fund. Members of the Council of Presiding Judges questioned this and said they recommended at the last meeting it go to the general fund. Judge Kleven said that this can be changed to the general fund if determined appropriate by the Legislature, but, in the meantime, the proposal provides for it going to a special fund, appropriated back to the judiciary, as was originally drafted.
Bank Accounts (Policy 208)
Jana Thielges presented Policy 208. She indicated one comment was received during the public comment period. Judge Holte moved to recommend it be forwarded to the Supreme Court with a recommendation for approval. Judge Kleven seconded the motion. Carried.
Policy 209 (Director of Finance Authorization to Propose Policies)
Jana Thielges noted that at the last Council of Presiding Judges meeting, the Council asked Greg Wallace and her to draft a policy that would enable the Director of Finance to prepare a policy on fiscal operations. She presented the draft policy. Judge Norman J. Backes moved the policy be approved and forwarded to the Supreme Court with a recommendation for approval. Judge Benny A. Graff seconded the motion. Carried.
Policy 110 (Out-of-State Education)
This policy provides for approval by the Chief Justice or his designee before out-of-state education can be approved for employees. Judge Backes moved to forward the policy to the Supreme Court for approval. Judge Holte seconded the motion. Carried.
Policy 102 (Leave)
Policy 102 provides for a category of leave called "Educational and Conference Leave". This was approved by the Council of Presiding Judges at the last meeting subject to coordination with the Personnel Board. The coordination has been accomplished and the resulting modifications to Policy 102 is what was agreed to. By consensus, the Council agreed to forward this to the Supreme Court with a recommendation of approval.
Policy 510 (Caseflow Management Committee)
This policy was sent out for public comment as directed by the Council of Presiding Judges. The copy that was sent out inadvertently omitted judges from the membership of the committee. After calling this oversight to the attention of Keithe Nelson, the draft was changed to be in compliance with that previously recommended by the Council of Presiding Judges. No other comments were received during the public comment period. Judge Backes moved the policy be approved. Judge Kleven seconded the motion. Carried.
Jana Thielges briefed on the need to make a budget adjustment transferring funds from the unallocated portion of the district court budget to the South Central Judicial District where ITV was installed. Judge Graff moved the adjustment be approved. Judge Schmalenberger seconded the motion. Carried.
Bailiffs for Master Calendar
The use of bailiffs to support master calendar was budgeted by the Northwest Judicial District. Because this is a new use of personnel as far as the state is concerned, the item is on the agenda so all may be aware of what is requested. Staff was questioned as to what current policies are on temporary employees. After discussion, the topic was tabled and staff was directed to research policies to determine what limitations or approvals there are for temporary employees.
Uniform Ledger Card
Judge Lee A. Christofferson asked for clarification on the determination at the last meeting that clerks only monitor collections and not be further involved. Judge Christofferson stated that as he understood the guidance at the last meeting, it was a limitation only in criminal cases where assessed costs or fines are converted to civil judgements. He explained that the revised procedures go beyond that understanding. Judge Backes said the revised procedures could be construed to limit clerks of court and burden state's attorneys and that's not what was contemplated. Judge Paulson moved to reconsider the motion on page 4 of the September 1, 2000 minutes. Judge Graff seconded the motion. Carried. Judge Paulson moved to table further discussion until the next meeting. Judge Backes seconded the motion. Carried.
Staff was directed to survey the clerks of court and determine exactly what they are doing with respect to collecting fines, fees and costs, and monitoring non-financial conditions.
Appointing Custody Investigators and GALs
Greg Wallace has no new information but added he hopes to have more at the next meeting.
Policy 408 (Juvenile Court Officer Signing Petitions)
Greg Wallace presented Policy 408 for consideration. By consensus it was agreed that this policy should be sent out for public comment.
Policy 511 (Court Recording Procedures)
Greg Wallace reported that several comments have been received which require further development. He asked that this item be carried over to the next meeting. By consensus, the Council agreed.
Access to a Judge After Hours and On Weekends
The availability of a judge after hours and on weekends was questioned by David Boeck, an attorney in Bismarck. Judge Paulson, Judge Backes and Judge Graff all specified that they have never had a complaint about not being able to get a judge. By consensus, it was agreed that the presiding judges will write Keithe Nelson outlining their procedures to ensure judge availability after hours and on weekends.
Domestic Violence Response
At the last meeting, Ted Gladden outlined what he learned at a conference on domestic violence. The Council of Presiding Judges asked him to get a input from Bonnie Palecek which is attached as an agenda item. Ted Gladden announced that he will assign suggestions to appropriate committees and groups except those suggestions which require further development. Ted will work on these issues. Judge Geiger moved to proceed on all topics except number 5 "Explore the creation of districtwide domestic violence coordinating councils to bring stakeholders together to address and review case processing practices." Judge Graff seconded the motion. Carried.
It was agreed that topic number 5 needs further thought and development to ensure the judges are not placed in a position where there is a conflict of interest or perceived bias.
For the Good of the Order
Greg Wallace reported that funding arrangements for permanency hearings have been concluded. Guidance will be sent out in the near future providing for indigent defense representation for hearings involving the special language which is required by the federal authorities.
Judge Christofferson moved that Keithe Nelson be authorized to contract for family law mediators when approved by the presiding judge. All mediators would have to meet the criteria of Administrative Rule 28. Judge Holte seconded the motion. Carried. Chief Justice VandeWalle said that this is one of the options being considered by the Supreme Court. Judge Graff questioned the proposed $90 per hour because this is more than we pay for indigent defense counsel. Others replied that mediation costs are high and that $90 is on the low end of the scale. Judge Holte suggested that this motion be replaced by a recommendation to the Supreme Court to consider this option. Judge Christofferson agreed to the addition. Carried.
Chief Justice VandeWalle suggested the next meeting be on the 10th of January at 10:00 a.m. before the State of the Judicial Address to the Legislature. By consensus, the group preferred the night before. The meeting will be set for 6:00 p.m. on the 9th of January, 2001.
Keithe Nelson was requested to mail out a copy of the agenda to all judges, not the entire agenda book, just the agenda. Keithe Nelson agreed to do this in the future.
Keithe Nelson inquired what sort of a meeting schedule should be developed for the next year. By consensus, it was agreed that the meeting should be scheduled approximately every month and a half, with IVN meetings in the winter whenever possible.
Judge Backes moved to adjourn the meeting. Judge Holte seconded the motion. Carried. Meeting adjourned at 9:39 p.m.