Judge Donald Jorgensen, Chair
Judge Zane Anderson
Judge Bruce Bohlman
Judge Richard Geiger
Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner
Judge Robert Keogh
Justice Dale V. Sandstrom
Chair Jorgensen called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and drew the members' attention to the first item on the agenda, the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference intent to submit a by-law change transferring the responsibility of judicial education back to the Judicial Conference.
Chair Jorgensen invited Justice Sandstrom to comment on the reasons for this by-law change. Justice Sandstrom explained that the responsibility for judicial education currently is stated in the statute, and the by-law change is only bringing the process in line with the requirements of the statute. Furthermore, he stated that he believed the responsibilities for the education of judges should remain with the conference. It provides the judges an open forum to discuss their educational needs. As relates to the Commission's responsibilities, he said that when the Commission forwarded to the Supreme Court their education goals that were developed at the 1999 Leadership Institute, certain goals posed concern to him. He did not believe the Commission should be expanding their responsibilities into areas such as judicial performance evaluations.
Judge Bohlman commented that the Commission has an institutionalized status. It signifies the importance of education within our system. He informed the members that many states have moved away from being placed under another body because it was not working. Under separate status, they discovered that it released them from the political control that can dampen the process by weighing it down and preventing projects and programs from moving forward. Judge Bohlman stated that the Commission and its workings should not be tampered with because its working well.
Carla Kolling explained that since the establishment of the Commission and AR 36, the judges have been invited, routinely, to submit educational topics for consideration at the Institute, Bench & Bar and the Five State. She explained that a limited number of judges respond ultimately leaving the majority of the responsibility for program planning with Judge Bohlman. As concerns the District Court Benchbook, Judge Geiger has carried the major responsibility for its updates since the Benchbook was developed.
Judge Geiger stated that the Mission Statement and its attached goals were provided to the Supreme Court for comment, and if the goals needed to be refined, the Commission would take the steps to revise it. Further, as relates to having input from the judges of the Judicial Conference, he explained that the Education Commission is made up of judges of the Judicial Conference and questioned why that was not sufficient.
Justice Sandstrom again stated that the statute reflects that the responsibility for the education of judges and court personnel belongs under the umbrella of the Judicial Conference and logically it belongs there.
Chair Jorgensen thanked Justice Sandstrom for attending.
Minutes of June 9, 1999 Meeting
The Minutes of the June 9, 1999 meeting were approved by consensus.
Judge McGuires's Request for CJE Credit
Chair Jorgensen drew the members' attention to Judge McGuire's request for CJE credit for his attendance at the Street Survival 99 course. He explained that Judge McGuire had first submitted his request in May of 1999 however the materials were incomplete and the reviewing commissioners had a difficult time awarding hours due to the lack of information. They, in turn, submitted it to the Commission for consideration. At the June meeting of the Commission, the members requested more information from Judge McGuire before any determination could be made. In response, Judge McGuire prepared a more detailed letter outlining the course content. His letter stated that he no longer had the conference materials or the agenda, therefore his comments were limited to his recollection of the course. Those materials were then forwarded back to the reviewing commissioners, Judges Holum and Anderson. On October 29, Carla Kolling received a letter from Judge Anderson stating that there exists a difference in opinion as to the number of hours to be awarded and therefore would like it to go before the Commission for review. He invited the members to review Judge McGuire's July 1, 1999 letter to Carla Kolling and his September 1, 1999 letter to Chair Jorgensen. Justice Kapsner requested that more time be given to the members to review the materials and perhaps have a conference call at a later date to discuss them. Chair Jorgensen requested Carla to schedule a conference call for the early part of January 2000.
Chair Jorgensen drew the members' attention to the education policies and explained that these are currently in place and are submitted to the members for their review. Carla stated that some of the policies required minor updates and the same have been noted. She stated that some of the policies do not reflect an adoption date and that those will be added then put into final form for the January conference call.
Recognition of Mike Ahlen
Chair Jorgensen asked for a motion from the members recognizing Mike Ahlen for his accomplishments and years of service with the Commission. He informed them that a planned recognition was originally scheduled during Homecoming however Mike had a medical appointment and was unable to attend.
Chair Jorgensen requested a motion accepting Mike's letter of resignation from the Commission for health reasons. A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Justice Kapsner to accept Mike Ahlen's resignation from the Commission. The motion unanimously carried.
Candidates to Fill Vacancy on the Commission
Chair Jorgensen informed the members that two candidates have expressed a willingness to serve as the law school representative on the Commission. Professor Candace Zierdt and Professor Tom Lockney have both agreed to serve. Judge Keogh explained that Professor Lockney currently serves on the education committee for the municipal judges and has devoted a great deal of time to the annual program. The members were informed that Professor Lockney had served on the education committee prior to it becoming a commission. A motion was made by Judge Bohlman, seconded by Bob Keogh to nominate Professor Candace Zierdt to fill the vacancy on the Commission and that her name be forwarded to the Executive Committee of Judicial Conference for consideration. The motion unanimously carried.
Chair Jorgensen invited Carla Kolling to update the members on the planning for the upcoming Leadership Institute.
Carla explained that the invitation has gone out under Chair Jorgensen's signature to the various education subcommittee members with the exception of the district judges who currently have no subcommittee in place. She explained that Dr. Pat Murrel from the University of Memphis and Professor Gordon Zimmerman from the University of Nevada will serve as faculty.
Chair Jorgensen invited Judge Bohlman, Judge Geiger, and Judge Anderson to contact the judges in their district to see whether they would be interested in serving on the education subcommittee for the district judges. Chair Jorgensen said that he would contact the remaining districts. He asked that the names be provided to Carla by December 10, 1999 in order that she could get the invitation to the Leadership Institute mailed to them. The members discussed having the judges serve on the subcommittee for a two-year term.
Municipal Judges - Compliance with Mandatory Education
Carla Kolling informed the members that we have ten judges who did not participate in this year's Municipal Judges program. She said that the AR 36 provides those judges who are not in compliance with the rule be granted an extension of time for completion of the requirements, however we only provide one educational opportunity a year. Judge Keogh suggested inviting those judges to sit in Judge Severin's court for a morning and have one of the attorney municipal judges speak to them in the afternoon. Carla agreed and she will work with Judge Keogh and Judge Severin on the arrangements.
Carla informed the members that she has trouble with one of the judges signing the registration list and then leaving shortly thereafter. Judge Geiger suggested that an announcement be made at the beginning of the seminar that we are aware that this is happening and that closer monitoring will take place. He suggested having the compliance reports signed at the end of the program and not during the program.
Five State Judicial Conference
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judge Anderson that a letter go out to all judges informing them that due to the fact that we are hosting the Five State Judicial Conference in the year 2000, there will not be a Judicial Institute but encourage them to attend. The motion carried unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.