Present: Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner, Chair Justice Daniel Crothers Judge Richard Geiger Judge Steven McCullough
Absent: Judge Gary LeeJudge Patrick Weir
Staff: Sally Holewa
The Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference met on February 24, 2012. Chair Kapsner
called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.
Judge McCullough moved to approve the minutes of the November 21, 2011 meeting. The
motion was seconded by Judge Geiger. The motion carried and the minutes were approved.
Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education, explained that the State Bar Association has decided
to reduce the length of its annual meeting which has an impact on when we can hold the
education portion of the Judicial Conference. She explained that usually we have held the
Judicial Conference for 90 minutes on Thursday afternoons following the Law School Luncheon
and prior to the General Assembly session. She said that this year she has already committed to
the Department of Human Services that we will have a session on courts communicating with
foster parents and caregivers. She has also been asked to include a session on the changes to the
Code of Judicial Conduct. She does not believe that a 90 minute session is sufficient to cover
both these topics plus the business meeting of the Judicial Conference. She is also concerned
that keeping this schedule will conflict with educational sessions the State Bar is planning that
judges may want to attend..
In response to a suggestion that we consider using Wednesday morning or afternoon, Ms.
Barnhardt explained that Legal Services has already scheduled a CLE for that morning, and that
several committees are scheduled to meet in the morning and afternoon of that day.
After further discussion, Justice Crothers suggested that we keep to the schedule we’ve
previously had for the June Judicial Conference and hold it on Thursday afternoon. He suggested
that we could limit the business meeting and the overview of the changes to the Code of Judicial
Conduct to 15 minutes each and give the Dept. of Human Services the remaining 50 minutes. It
being the consensus that this is the best possible schedule we can achieve, Ms. Barnhardt was
directed to schedule the June Judicial Conference as follows:
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012 Location: Alerus Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota Time: 1 1:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Agenda: Business Meeting Overview of Changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct Court Communication with Foster Parents and Caregivers
Discussion then turned to the scheduling of future Judicial Conferences in conjunction with the
State Bar Association. Justice Kapsner suggested that our best option might be to plan on
holding future June Judicial Conferences on Wednesday mornings. Judge McCullough
expressed some reservations about Wednesdays but suggested that there was not likely to be
another day that would work better. Judge Geiger said he was surprised to learn that the State
Bar Association was shortening the annual meeting and eliminating the casual interactions
between members. He is concerned about the impact the shortened timeframe has on our time
for the Judicial Conference. Justice Crothers said his primary concern with Wednesdays is the
floating timeframe being given to the sports events. He said it will create conflicts with what we
are scheduling because we won’t know when they are being planned. He suggested that we
should consider holding future conferences on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.
After further discussion, Justice Kapsner asked the committee members to talk to other judges to
see if moving future June Judicial Conference to Wednesdays is palatable to them.
There being no further business to come before the committee, the chair adjourned the meeting at
Sally Holewa Executive Secretary to the Judicial Conference