Week ahead: Court technology/e-documents bills in MI, NH, VA; nonpartisan judicial elections in MD; veterans courts in MO

Coming into session

West Virginia 2/13/13

February 11

Missouri Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee

SB 118 Authorizes circuit courts or a combination of circuits to create veterans treatment courts

Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee

SB 811 Provides that any person who knowingly files a fraudulent lien or encumbrance in a public record against the real or personal property of another, knowing or having reason to know that such lien or encumbrance is false or contains a materially false or fraudulent statement or representation is guilty of a Class 5 felony.

SB 853 Elevates the  punishment for committing an assault and battery against a magistrate who is  engaged in the performance of his public duties from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, with a six-month mandatory minimum term of confinement. The bill incorporates SB 966.

SB 979 Permits the chief judge of a general district court to direct the clerk of that court to destroy documents related to civil and criminal cases that have been ended for a period of three years, provided that they have been microfilmed or converted to an electronic format. Currently, such documents must be retained for 10 years.

Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee

HB 1658 Revises various powers and duties of circuit court clerks for certification of records, assessment of fees, etc., such as (i) providing that the use of the term “copy teste,” “true copy,” or “certified copy” is prima facie evidence that a document is a certified copy of the official record kept in the clerk’s office; (ii) providing that a judgment for certain assessments or fees to be paid to the clerk of court shall be recorded as a judgment in favor of the Commonwealth if such assessments or fees are not fully paid on the date of sentencing; (iii) allowing the clerk to charge for copies of records provided to court-appointed counsel in criminal cases and requiring that such counsel be reimbursed for such charges by the Criminal Fund, (iv) allowing the clerk to charge up to $10 for any service rendered by the clerk that is not part of a court proceeding and for which no specific fee is provided by law; (v) defining “operational expenses,” which are funded by certain clerk’s fees, to include various technology maintenance and enhancements; (vi) clarifying that a clerk shall forward an abstract of certain convictions to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 18 days after such conviction or, in the case of civil judgments, within 30 days after the judgment has become final (vii) allowing the clerk to maintain records in adoption cases in electronic format; and (viii) repealing the requirement that a clerk verify the accuracy of a record made by him.

Tennessee Senate

SJR 2 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides governor may appoint anyone who meets age and residency requirements to appellate courts with legislative confirmation. Provides nominee is deemed confirmed if legislature fails to act on nomination within 60 calendar days of nomination or 60 days of start of legislative session (if nominated out of session). Provides for retention elections.Previously approved by 2011/2012 legislative session, Must be approved by 2013/2014 session.

February 12

Missouri House Veterans Committee

HB 309 Establishes the Military Veterans and Servicemembers Court Program to provide treatment and intervention to veterans and servicemembers charged or convicted of certain crimes.

New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee

HB 652 Increases court filing fees and increases the percentage of such fees to be deposited in the judicial branch information technology fund.

February 13
February 14

Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee

SCR 1608 (Constitutional Amendment) Specifies “The financing of the educational interests of the state is exclusively a legislative power under article 2 of the constitution of the state of Kansas and as such shall be established solely by the legislature.”

Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

SB 327 Provides candidate for orphans’ court may not be nominated in party primary, may not be nominated by other party process, and must be elected at general election on a nonpartisan basis. (Currently elected on partisan ballot).

 Michigan House Judiciary Committee

HB 4064 Allows for use of digital court records and electronically filing of court papers.

February 15