Indiana’s Commission on Courts, made up of legislators, judges and others, met last Friday (10/26) to adopt its recommendations to the 2013 legislature. On the agenda were requests for additional judges and magistrates. A review of Administrative Law Judges in the state was delayed until the 2013 interim.
Archive for the ‘Interim Activities’ category
Wyoming Joint Judiciary Interim Committee meets, will examine court reporters and transcript fees, purchasing by state supreme courtOctober 26th, 2012
The Wyoming legislature’s joint judiciary interim committee is meeting October 25 & 26. On the agenda is an examination of court reporters and transcript fees, recording of court proceedings, and transcripts in criminal cases. In addition the committee will discuss the purchase of official reporter and session laws for libraries or other offices by the Supreme Court.
Other topics include juvenile sentencing, eminent domain, seismic exploration, regulatory takings, private transfer fees, the Community Juvenile Services Act, child support guidelines tables, law enforcement officer authority and liability on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and wiretap authority.
The New Mexico legislature’s Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee is set to meet today and Friday. On the committee’s agenda:
- Prison Population Forecast
- Program Evaluation: Reducing Recidivism, Cutting Costs and Improving Public Safety in the Incarceration and Supervision of Adult Offenders; and Presentation of a Cost-Benefit Model
- Sex Offender Parole and Parole Hearings
- Sex Offender Registration and Notification
- Office of the Medical Investigator
- Changes to the Sunshine Portal Transparency Act
- Missing Persons and Identification of Human Remains
West Virginia’s legislature is having its monthly interim committee meetings this week. Topics to be discussed include:
Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee B: Regulation of Fireworks
Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee A: Workplace bullying & Unemployment Insurance coverage Gap
Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee C: Presentations regarding DUI offenses
Full Committee: Reports of the subcommittees
The Louisiana Constitution provides (Article V, Sections 4 & 6)
Section 4. The state shall be divided into at least six supreme court districts, and at least one judge shall be elected from each. The districts and the number of judges assigned to each on the effective date of this constitution are retained, subject to change by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house of the legislature.
Section 6. The judge oldest in point of service on the supreme court shall be chief justice. He is the chief administrative officer of the judicial system of the state, subject to rules adopted by the court.
The meaning of these provisions, however, are in dispute as two separate justices of the state’s Supreme Court claim to be the “oldest in point of service on the supreme court.” The New York Times summarizes the situation thusly (h/t Gavel Grab)
Louisiana elected single justices from five districts, and two from a separate district in which black voters were grouped with whites so that no black candidate won. The 1991 United States Supreme Court decision found that this arrangement diluted black votes in breach of the Voting Rights Act, which it said applied to judicial elections.
To avoid displacing the two white justices elected from the special district, the 1992 consent decree added an eighth justice that year from a new black district. After the 10-year terms of the whites expired in 2000, the court was to revert to seven justices. The decree said the justice from the new district would “participate and share equally in the cases, duties, and powers” of the court.
Justice Johnson was elected to represent the new black district in 1994, 2000 and 2010. But the current chief justice, Catherine D. Kimball, argues that Justice Johnson’s service as the eighth justice between 1994 and 2000 does not count toward her seniority because the seat was temporary and not one of the seven specified by the Louisiana Constitution.
The Louisiana Senate’s Judiciary B Committee met earlier today in the New Orleans Council Chambers to consider the issue. During the testimony Justice Johnson is reported to have stated she rejected a plan that would have had her wait until 2017 to take the seat as chief justice.
NH House committee advances plans to impeach judges for their decisions in domestic relations cases; 4th time in 5 years NH judges threatened with removal from office over custody or divorce case decisionsJuly 25th, 2012
I’ve mentioned the numerous impeachment efforts made against state court judges over the last 2 years for their decisions, including an effort in New Hampshire (HR 7 of 2011) that targeted the entire bench of the main trial court (Superior).
Now comes word that the New Hampshire House’s Redress of Grievances Committee, a committee that according to the Concord Monitor was revived in 2011 after a century in disuse, has voted to recommend impeachment against several judges, one of whom is retired, because of their rulings in custody cases.
Petition 45, filed by GOP state Senate candidate Joshua Youssef alleges misconduct on the part of three judges, two martial masters, and a guardian ad litem as part of a custody dispute. According to the Concord Monitor, Youssef testified alone and was the sole witness; the judges and others against whom the petition had been lodged declined to appear. Moreover only those portions of the court file provided by Youssef were considered (the article notes other portions were less favorable towards Youssef).
The 8-2 vote on the Youssef complaint comes only days after the same committee voted 9-1 to investigate for impeachment a retired judge. Petition 11 was filed by another father in another custody case who disagreed with the judge’s determinations as it pertained to custody and visitation. The judge has subsequently retired. That petition was advanced on a 9-1 vote.
This marks the 4th time in the last 5 years the NH House has attempted to remove a judge or judicial-branch official from office because of their rulings in custody or divorce proceedings. Prior efforts included HR 7, noted above, as well as attempts in 2010 and 2006 (detailed here).
Michigan House and Senate Judiciary met July 18, examined veterans courts, trial court concurrent jurisdiction, military custody issuesJuly 19th, 2012
Both the Michigan House and Senate Judiciary Committee met yesterday (July 18).
The Senate committee started at 9 AM with an examination of several bills previously approved by the House, including:
- HB 5124 Requires plans of concurrent jurisdiction in judicial circuits to be adopted by majority vote of all the judges, rather than allowing such plans to be adopted by a majority vote of each group of judges. Allows a plan of concurrent jurisdiction to include agreements involving the operation of the participating trial courts, as approved by the Supreme Court. Specifies that a concurrent jurisdiction plan that was adopted, approved by the Supreme Court, and in effect on December 31, 2012, would be valid and in compliance with the bill’s requirements. Specifies that a plan of concurrent jurisdiction would be effective upon the Supreme Court’s approval of the plan. Deletes exceptions to concurrent jurisdiction, which give exclusive jurisdiction over certain matters to the probate or district court.
- HB 5159 Requires the State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee to monitor the effectiveness of veterans treatment courts and present annual recommendations regarding them to the Legislature and Supreme Court. Adds a circuit or district court judge who had presided over a veterans treatment court to the Advisory Committee.
- HB 5162 Requires a veterans treatment court to comply with the modified version of the 10 key components of drug treatment courts. Requires a court that adopted a veterans treatment court to enter into a memorandum of understanding with certain parties. Requires a veterans treatment court to participate in training required by the State Court Administrative Office. Provides for participation of veterans from outside of the court’s jurisdiction, under certain circumstances. Establishes requirements for a person’s admission to a veterans treatment court, and allow admission of an eligible participant who was subject to discharge and dismissal under another provision of law. Requires a preadmission screening and period evaluations of veterans treatment court participants. Provides for the confidentiality of a statement or other information obtained as result of an individual’s participation in preadmission screening or a veterans treatment court program. Requires the State Police, upon request, to give the court certain information contained in the Law Enforcement Information Network. Requires a veterans treatment court to accept the guilty plea of an individual admitted to the court, and allow deferral of proceedings. Requires a veterans treatment court to maintain jurisdiction over a participant until final disposition of the case. Specifies services that a veterans treatment court would have to provide to a participant. Requires a participant to pay certain costs and fees, but allow the court to waive all or part of them under certain circumstances. Establishes requirements for the adjudication and sentencing of participants, or the discharge and dismissal of charges, as applicable. Establishes data collection and reporting requirements. Authorizes the Supreme Court to spend State funds for the establishment and operation of veterans treatment courts, and require the distribution of Federal funds provided to the State for the operation of the courts.
The House met at 11 AM and considered HB 5163 which contends with how courts are to handle change-of-custody requests when one parent is an active duty service member. The committee also heard a presentation on the Governor’s Indigent Defense Advisory Commission Report.
Cross-posted at Court Technology Bulletin
At this point, at least some courts in nearly every U.S. state have some form of e-filing of court documents (details can be found at the National Center for State Court’s e-filing Resource Guide), including Texas. That state’s system was the subject of an interim meeting of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. The
July 11, 2012 hearing focused on questions typically asked in many states, such as:
- How do you pay for an e-filing system?
- How much do e-filing systems cost?
- Should each county/trial court have its own system or a single, unified one?
- Is it better to try to buy “off-the-shelf”, develop the software with the judicial branch (or a particular court), license existing software, or something else?
- Is e-filing the right way to go for every court and county?
- Should the state take on the entirety of financing for e-filing?
Testimony on these and related issues were provided by from David Slayton, Administrative Director of the Texas Office of Court Administration and Martin Zelinsky, General Counsel for the state’s Department of Information Resources.
Supreme Court Justice to testify to interim legislative committee July 12 on Kentucky Access to Justice Commission’s Veterans Task ForceJuly 10th, 2012
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott, chair of the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission’s Veterans Task Force is set to testify July 12 to the the state legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection.
The task force has looked at efforts to identify through information acquisition systems whether a veteran is a party in case and if appropriate, as determined by the judge, partnering with Veterans Administration to try and help. This includes training judges to be knowledgeable about what services are available to vets and a pilot veterans court in Jefferson County. The point is not to change the law, but to address neurological effects of modern combat and match vets with services.