Week ahead: judicial selection in AR, TN, TX; forcing FL Supreme Court to speed up executions; false liens on MD judges

April 1

Arkansas Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments

HJR 1005 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides for merit selection system for state supreme court justices. Explicitly prohibits justice from engaging in partisan/party activity.

HJR 1012 (Constitutional Amendment) Placeholder, bill to be amended to deal with “amending the process for selecting justices of the Supreme Court and amending Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution and other constitutional provisions concerning the litigation of civil claims.

HJR 1014 (Constitutional Amendment) Placeholder, bill to be amended to deal with “amending the process for selecting justices of the Supreme Court and clarifying the Supreme Court and clarifying substantive and procedural law and rights under Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution.

SJR 5 (Constitutional Amendment) ORIGINAL: Removes Supreme Court’s rulemaking power and transfers to legislature. AS AMENDED: provides “General Assembly shall delegate nonexclusive authority to the Supreme Court” regarding rulemaking. Provides laws enacted by General Assembly supersede rules adopted by Supreme Court.

Florida Senate Judiciary Committee

SJR 570 (Constitutional Amendment) Increases mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75, but only for judges elected or appointed after January 1, 2014

SJR 1740 (Constitutional Amendment) Removes supreme court’s rulemaking authority with respect to death penalty cases. (click here for detailed prior coverage)

Texas House Elections Committee

HB 1857 Ends straight-ticket voting for county and precinct officers, including trial and court of appeals judges.

Texas House Judiciary Committee

HB 2302 Provides for either a $5 or $15 fee, depending on court type, on civil filings and criminal convictions to pay for electronic filings in state courts.

Texas Senate State Affairs Committee

SB 103 Eliminates straight-party voting for judicial offices.

SB 577 Retains partisan judicial elections for initial terms. Replaces partisan re-elections with nonpartisan retention elections.

SJR 34 (Constitutional Amendment) Retains partisan judicial elections for initial terms. Replaces partisan re-elections with nonpartisan retention elections.

April 2

Indiana Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee

HB 1393 Establishes the judicial technology oversight committee (committee) to: (1) conduct a continuous study of information technology applications for Indiana’s judicial system; (2) develop a long range strategy for technology and automation in Indiana’s judicial system; and (3) make recommendations to the supreme court concerning the implementation of policies, standards, and rules that promote the effective use of technology and automation in Indiana courts. Increases the automated record keeping fee from $5 to $10 for all civil, criminal, infraction, and ordinance violation actions with certain exceptions. Provides that the automated record keeping fee is $5 for all civil, criminal, infraction, and ordinance violation actions resulting in the accused person entering into a: (1) pretrial diversion program agreement; or (2) deferral program agreement.

Maryland House Judiciary Committee

SB 770 Prohibits a person from filing false liens or encumbrances against judges, court staff, and other public/elected officials.

April 3

Tennessee Senate Government Operations Committee

SB 1058 AS AMENDED: Removes all judicial performance evaluation commission members. Replaces with 9 members, none of whom are judges (currently there must be 3 out of 9). Provides new JPEC allowed to rewrite any existing evaluation criteria (current criteria are set by Supreme Court Rule 27). Provides if JPEC recommends against judge, judge in not allowed to run for retention election (currently may run even if JPEC recommends against).

Texas House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee.

HB 2147 Allows any county officer to carry a firearm in a courthouse.

April 4

April 5