Monday, December 16, 2002
Council Room, Matheson Courthouse
450 South State Street
Salt Lake City, Utah
Chief Justice Christine M. Durham, Presiding
|MEMBERS PRESENT:||STAFF PRESENT:|
|Chief Justice Christine
Justice Matthew Durrant
Hon. James Davis
Hon. Ben Hadfield
Hon. Jerald Jensen
Hon. Clair Poulson
Hon. Robert Hilder
Hon. Lee Dever
Hon. Andrew Valdez
Hon. Gary Stott
Hon. Ronald Hare
Hon. K.L. McIff
Hon. Scott Johansen
C. Dane Nolan, esq.
|Daniel J. Becker
Myron K. March
D. Mark Jones
Justice Richard C. Howe
Hon. Tyrone Medley
Hon. William Thorne
Hon. Pamela Greenwood, Chair, Court Improvement Project
Hon. William Bohling, Chair, Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution
Hon. Charles Behrens, Co-Chair, Standing Committee on Children and Family Law
Hon. Judith Atherton, Co-Chair, Standing Committee on Children and Family Law
Elizabeth Neff, The Salt Lake Tribune
Katie Gregory, Utah Children
1. WELCOME & APPROVAL OF MINUTES: (Chief Justice Christine M. Durham)
All in attendance were welcomed to the meeting. The minutes of the Council's November meeting were discussed. The following motion was then made.
Motion: A motion was made to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
2. CHAIR'S REPORT: (Chief Justice Christine M. Durham)
Chief Justice Durham reported that she had nothing to share with the Council at that time.
3. ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT: (Daniel J. Becker)
Daniel J. Becker reported the following items:
Management Committee: (Chief Justice Christine M. Durham)Chief Justice Durham had nothing to report in addition to what was in the Management Committee's minutes.
Policy and Planning: (Hon. Lee Dever)Judge Dever reported that Policy and Planning met with three managing court reporters regarding present policies related to court reporter qualification and certification. The committee also received a presentation on digital audio systems, and discussed a resolution in support of justice courts.
Liaison Committee:It was reported that the Liaison Committee had not met.
Bar Commission: (C. Dane Nolan)Dane Nolan reported that the Bar is co-sponsoring the retirement reception for Justice Richard Howe, which will take place January 15th from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. at the Matheson Courthouse. It was reported that the Bar is reviewing admission policies, and that different types of questions will be included in the Bar Exam, which will become effective in February. Mr. Nolan also mentioned that discussions are taking place with other states concerning reciprocity.
5. RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF JUSTICE COURTS: (Tim Shea)
Chief Justice Durham provided background for the draft resolution Mr. Shea would be presenting by mentioning that the Council has long strived to include justice courts in the same realm as state courts in order to ensure independence and impartiality in the justice courts. Chief Justice Durham suggested that it might be a good time to reaffirm the Council's position in regards to justice courts.
Tim Shea reported that the Council asked for a resolution in support of justice courts at its last meeting, and that, in response, Policy and Planning was forwarding this draft resolution.
Discussion took place concerning the content and wording of the resolution. The following motion was then made.
Motion: Judge Dever made a motion to forward the resolution to the Liaison Committee for further consideration. Judge Hilder seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
6. BAR APPOINTMENT TO THE COMMITTEE ON PRIVACY AND PUBLIC COURT RECORDS: (Tim Shea)
Tim Shea reported that the Management Committee approved a number of appointments to the Committee on Privacy and Public Court Records, which appear on the Council's consent calendar. It was reported that the names forwarded by the Bar were received after the Management Committee met, therefore, it was requested that the Council select and appoint a Bar representative f
Motion: Judge Dever made a motion to appoint Thomas Mitchell to the Committee on Privacy and Public Court Records. Judge Hilder seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
7. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF STATEWIDE COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT EVALUATION: (Hon. Pamela Greenwood)
Judge Pamela Greenwood reported that an evaluation of Utah's Court Improvement Project was recently performed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The evaluation used both qualitative and quantitative analysis, and it focused on three components: a case file review, in-court observation, and stakeholder interviews. Overall, the evaluation indicated that, while there is room for improvement in certain areas, Utah's Juvenile Court is grounded in best practices for child abuse and neglect cases, and is generally compliant with statutorily and federally mandated time frames, as well as accountable for achieving safe, timely permanency for children.
The Council commended the Court Improvement Project on the positive results of this study, and discussed the importance of disseminating this information to the public.
8. ONLINE COURT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM PROTECTIVE ORDER DEMONSTRATION: (Kim Allard)
Kim Allard provided a demonstration of the new protective order application which will be added to the existing Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP). Ms. Allard reported that the protective order application was field tested in the Second District, and should be ready for release in January.
Justice Richard Howe joined the Council for lunch and shared remarks about his experiences on the Supreme Court and Judicial Council.
Motion: Judge McIff made a motion to have the Council approve a resolution of commendation and appreciation to Justice Howe for his many years of service in the Utah State Government. Judge Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
10. REPORT: STANDING COMMITTEE ON ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION: (Hon. William Bohling)
Judge Bohling, chair of the Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, provided an update to the Council. Judge Bohling reported the following items:
Judge Atherton, chair of the Standing Committee on Children and Family Law, introduced Judge Charles Behrens who was recently appointed co-chair of the Standing Committee. Judge Behrens will be replacing Judge Jeril Wilson who has announced his retirement.
Judge Behrens reported that the committee has been looking at the issue of public access to dependency proceedings, and mentioned that the committee recently heard a report from Judith Nord of the Minnesota Judiciary, which has also looked at this issue. In that report, a number of pros and cons to opening access to dependency proceedings were mentioned. The pros included things such as increasing stakeholder accountability, increasing public awareness of the frequency and egregious nature of child protection cases, and more "eyes on the child" which may lead to less repeat abuse and neglect, and maybe even prevention of abuse and neglect. Minnesota also identified a number of cons such as a potential for the child to be stigmatized, a possible chilling effect on both the reporting of abuse and neglect and on in-court admissions, and caseworker and GAL reticence to include information critical for a sound decision. Judge Behrens reported that a subcommittee of the Standing Committee feels that there should be greater openness than what currently exists, with the judicial discretion still available to close a hearing. Additionally, the subcommittee feels that court records and adoption proceedings should remain closed. The subcommittee is also considering if access to dependency proceedings should be first conducted on a pilot basis.
Judge Atherton reported that the committee is looking at creating the title of "Special Masters" in high conflict divorce cases. Additionally the committee is looking at encouraging settlement conferences in custody evaluations. The committee also provided a few forms to the Council for their approval.
Motion: Judge Valdez made a motion to approve the Table of Contents Child Custody Evaluation form. Judge Hilder seconded the motion. After discussion took place, the motion was withdrawn.
It was decided that the form should go before the District and Juvenile Boards for their input before the Council takes final action.
12. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON RACIAL AND ETHNIC FAIRNESS IN THE CRIMINAL AND JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM: (Hon. Tyrone Medley, Hon. William Thorne)
Judge Medley provided background on the history and work of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System. Judge Medley thanked the Council for their history of support of these efforts. It was mentioned that he hoped the recommendations of the Task Force and Commission will eventually be institutionalized. It was reported that the Commission was formed with the charge of implementing the Task Force's recommendations in the various areas of the justice system. It was mentioned that the Commission will issue its first annual report in January. A draft of the executive summary of the report was distributed to the Council. It was reported that many of the agencies, including the courts, have moved forward with implementing the recommendations. Judge Medley reported that he has been pleasantly surprised with the momentum this work has generated and expressed a hope that it continues.
Judge Thorne also expressed appreciation to the Council for their support, and then reported that the Commission is working on ensuring both actual and perceived fairness in the justice system. The Commission is also trying to increase the minority applicant pool, and educating youth about possible careers in the justice system. It was mentioned that all parties associated with the Commission are involved on a voluntary basis.
Judge Medley reported that Sandra Kinoshita, who has served as the program coordinator for the Commission, will be leaving her position with the courts. Judge Medley acknowledged her contribution to the Commission. The Council also expressed appreciation to Ms. Kinoshita.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION:
Motion: A motion was made to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: A motion was made to come out of executive session. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Stott made a motion to certify Judge Robert Braithwaite as a senior judge. The motion was seconded and carried.
Motion: A motion was made to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.