The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m., November 20, 2000. Executive Secretary Keithe Nelson called the role which reflected the following members of the Judicial Conference were present:
Gerald W. VandeWalle
William A. Neumann
Dale V. Sandstrom
Mary Muehlen Maring
Carol Ronning Kapsner
Benny A. Graff
Bruce B. Haskell
Donald L. Jorgensen
Burt L. Riskedahl
Thomas J. Schneider
James M. Vukelic
Robert O. Wefald
Robert W. Holte
Glenn Dill, III
William W. McLees
Everett Nels Olson
M. Richard Geiger
John C. McClintock, Jr.
Bruce E. Bohlman
Joel D. Medd
Allan L. Schmalenberger
Ronald L. Hilden
Maurice R. Hunke
Norman J. Backes
Ralph R. Erickson
Lawrence A. Leclerc
Michael O. McGuire
Frank L. Racek
James M. Bekken
Ronald E. Goodman
John E. Greenwood
Ralph J. Erickstad
Sherry Mills Moore
James S. Hill
Bruce Romanick, Judge Elect for South Central Judicial District
Chair Dale V. Sandstrom introduced Bruce Romanick who recently won election as a judge in the South Central Judicial District.
Judicial Stress Management
Chair Sandstrom introduced Dr. Isaiah M. Zimmerman who presented the topic Judicial Stress Management. This session lasted all day until 4:30 p.m. It was well received by the judges and spouses present.
The conference reconvened at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday November 21, 2000.
The conference was divided into two groups with the first group participating in an ADR Presentation managed by the NDSU Computer Decision Center and their computers. The other group participated in a discussion with Dr. Albert F. Samuelson on the topic of Dealing with Psychiatric Terms. At 10:30 a.m. the two groups switched with each going to the other presentation that they had not previously participated in.
Chair Sandstrom called the business meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. Chair Sandstrom asked the group to stand and observe a moment of silence for three long-term members of the Judicial Conference who passed away:
Jury Standards Committee Report
Judge Robert W. Holte who chairs the committee acknowledged the assistance of Jim Ganje and the assistance of Judge Joel D. Medd who aided in review of the ABA standards relating to juror management. Judge Holte presented draft legislation that would increase the pay of jurors on the second day and thereafter to $50 per day. Discussion followed. Several members of the conference recommended that this be changed to $25 for voir dire and $50 for the trial. Discussion followed which pointed out that not all trials last for one full day on voir dire and, in fact, some do not even last for half a day. It was moved, seconded and carried to forward this draft legislation to the legislature.
Judge Holte presented proposed legislation on juror harassment making jury harassment or intimidation a class A misdemeanor. Judge Lawrence A. Leclerc drew attention to Minnesota caselaw that calls into question statutes that indicate criminal liability on the mental state of the victim. It was moved, seconded and carried that this legislation be presented to the Legislative Assembly with the understanding the staff will review Minnesota cases to ensure there is a standard present in the legislation.
Administrative Rule 9 and Standards Relating to Juror Use and Management
Judge Holte presented changes to Administrative Rule 9 which would incorporate, and thereby formalize, the Standards Relating to Juror Use and Management as an appendix to the rule. The changes to Administrative Rule 9 were accompanied by revisions to the Standards intended to reflect recent changes to the ABA Model Standards. It was moved, seconded and carried that the proposed amendments and revised standards be forwarded to the Supreme Court for consideration with a recommendation of approval.
Performance Audit Report - Child Support Enforcement Program
Ted Gladden presented informational briefing on three major recommendations that came out of a performance audit report on the Child Support Enforcement Program. Change one is that the Regional Child Support Enforcement Offices be converted to a state-funded organizations. Ted indicated that he believed the Association of Counties will support this finding. The second finding is that the hearing process should be converted to the Executive Branch of government. Ted is not aware of any plans to go ahead with this change in the next legislative session. If this recommendation is followed, it would affect the workload of judicial referees and judges in those districts where there is not a judicial referee. The third change is that enforcement be moved from clerks of court to Child Support Enforcement Unit. No action was taken by the conference on this report. Information only.
Paragraph 1 of the proposed bylaw changes, which would include a general qualifier as to the application of paragraph 1 to committees, was approved by the conference.
Paragraph 2 creating the structure of the education committee and as a result doing away with the Continuing Judicial Education Commission. The proposal was defeated.
Paragraph 3 of the proposed bylaw would formally establish the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee as a committee of the Judicial Conference. The committee has been operating under the auspices of the Judicial Conference but not formally recognized. Judge Debbie Kleven moved that the two- year term provided for committee members in the proposed change be modified to three years. Judge Ralph R. Erickson seconded the motion. The motion was carried. It was moved, seconded and carried that the proposed bylaw change, as modified, be approved.
Judge Christofferson was absent but had prepared and placed in the agenda book a report on the number of telephone consultations written, advisory letters and formal opinions for the years 1990 through 2000.
It was moved, seconded and carried to seek introduction of and support a bill to permit web page forms for Small Claims Court.
Judge Haskell reported on the Pilot Drug Court Program in the South Central Judicial District. He also summarized draft legislation which is being prepared by the Department of Corrections.
The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.