SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

 

January 17, 2005   Hearing Room 343

1:00 p.m.     Tapes  1 - 2

Corrected 10/26/05

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Sen. Ginny Burdick, Chair

Sen. Charles Starr, Vice-Chair

Sen. Roger Beyer

Sen. Floyd Prozanski

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Vicki Walker

Sen. Doug Whitsett

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Bill Taylor, Counsel

Dale Penn, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD & WITNESSES: 

Measure Introduction – Work Session

Adoption of Committee Rules – Organizational Meeting

Overview of Oregon’s Judicial Branch and the State Court System

Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr.

Associate Justice W. Michael Gillette

Lane County Circuit Court Judge Karsten H. Rasmussen

Oregon Tax Court Judge Henry C. Breithaupt

Chief Judge David V. Brewer, Court of Appeals

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 1, A

002

Chair Burdick

Calls the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m.

010

Vice-Chair Starr

Senate District 13.  Introduces himself.

013

Sen. Walker

Senate District 7.  Introduces herself.

021

Sen. Whitsett

Senate District 28.  Introduces himself.

027

Sen. Prozanski

Senate District 4.  Introduces himself.

030

Chair Burdick

Introduces Sen. Ringo and Beyer as well as committee staff, Joe O’Leary and Bill Taylor.  Announces how the staff will interact with the committee during the session.

065

Chair Burdick

Opens a work session for the purpose of introducing committee bills.

MEASURE INTRODUCTION – WORK SESSION

067

Joe O’Leary

Committee Counsel.  Reads LC drafts for introduction (EXHIBITS A - K).

090

Chair Burdick

Announces this is a courtesy vote only.

096

Bill Taylor

Counsel.  Withdraws LC 1653.

107

Vice-Chair Starr

MOTION:  Moves LC's 174, 175, 888, 1204, 1264, 1298, 1438, 1474, 1476, 1480:  BE INTRODUCED as committee bills.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0- 1

AYE: In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

EXCUSED:  1 - Beyer

120

Chair Burdick

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

 

ADOPTION OF COMMITTEE RULES – ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

127

Taylor

Explains committee rules to be adopted by the committee (EXHIBIT L).

150

Vice-Chair Starr

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT the proposed Committee Rules.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0- 1

AYE:            In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

EXCUSED:  1 - Beyer

162

Chair Burdick

The motion CARRIES.

OREGON JUDICIAL SYSTEM – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

152

Wallace P. Carson, Jr.

Chief Justice, Oregon Supreme Court.  Submits Orientation Materials for the committee (EXHIBIT M).  Introduces Associate Justice W. Michael Gillette.

252

W. Michael Gillette

Associate Justice, Oregon Supreme Court.  Discusses the rule of law – what it means and why courts matter.  Touches upon the constitution which explains judicial powers.

276

Justice Gillette

Discusses origin of court systems in British monarchy, dispute solved by and for a King.

300

Justice Gillette

Says the role of the Judge as an individual outside the problem, was solving disputes.

350

Justice Gillette

Discuss creation of Articles of Confederation and eventually Constitution, declaring judiciary rights.

403

Justice Gillette

Explains the role of the Legislative and Executive branch in the judiciary.

417

Justice Gillette

Discusses tradition and responsibility of state government, legislators, compared to other branches of government.

475

Justice Gillette

Says the Bill of Rights and Constitution are the documents we serve.

TAPE 2, A

062

Justice Gillette

States his own pride and privilege of serving the Constitution, the judiciary.

100

Chair Burdick

Thanks Justice Gillette for speaking.  Asks about description of how to choose cases as a Judge.

108

Justice Gillette

Describes how they choose what cases are heard.

144

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the need for greater resources at the appellate level.

155

Justice Gillette

Responds it would be nice to have greater resources, but contends there are not enough lawyers to hear all cases so the work gets postponed.  Cites the burdens that occur each time something new becomes illegal.

183

Chief Justice Carson

Introduces the next panel of speakers, The Honorable Karsten H. Rasmussen, Henry C. Breithaupt, and David V. Brewer.

219

Karsten H. Rasmussen

Lane County Circuit Court Judge.  Gives a brief overview of the courts in Oregon with particular emphasis on circuit courts.  Refers to map of Oregon Judicial Districts on page 4 of section 1 of Exhibit M.

234

Judge Rasmussen

Explains the purpose of circuit courts.

275

Judge Rasmussen

Discusses the caseload of circuit courts. 

338

Judge Rasmussen

Gives statistics of appeals from Lane County and low level of overturned appeals.  Notes things may be changing as a result of the Blakely decision. 

381

Judge Rasmussen

Names different specialty courts that exist within Circuit courts, e.g., drug court, family court.  Speaks about tribal courts that exist in Oregon as well as constitutional common law courts.  Says circuit courts are bound by the decisions of the appellate courts.

479

Chair Burdick

Inquires how the circuit court is responding to Blakely.

491

Judge Rasmussen

Describes the questions they are also trying to answer regarding Blakely.  Hopes to get guidance from appellate courts.

TAPE 1, B

035

Chair Burdick

Asks how the drug courts in Lane County have impacted the meth problem.

040

Judge Rasmussen

Discusses how early intervention is the key in dealing with these people.

061

Sen. Ringo

Asks if all counties are operating small claims courts.

063

Judge Rasmussen

Responds, yes.

067

Sen. Ringo

Inquires if the amount needs to be changed.

071

Judge Rasmussen

Thinks it works well in Lane County; expounds.

080

Henry C. Breithaupt

Oregon Tax Court Judge.  Discusses Oregon Tax Courts which are statutory in nature.  Says Oregon was the first state in the union to adopt a special tax court in 1961.

128

Judge Breithaupt

Lists taxes seen by the court on a regular basis.  Describes magistrate division of the tax court which was created in 1997.

168

Judge Breithaupt

Discusses lack of communication that has occurred in the past between the government and a private citizen which has come before the magistrate division for resolution.  Indicates all reasoned decisions are made in writing.

216

Judge Breithaupt

Describes the appeal process which goes directly to the Supreme Court.  Says they have statewide jurisdiction and can travel to a particular county for dispute resolution.

235

David V. Brewer

Chief Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals.  Provides basic introduction concerning the 10-judge Court of Appeals.  Says view of the Court of Appeals goes directly to the Supreme Court.

264

Judge Brewer

Discusses the process they are using the fill the 10th seat on this court through appointment made by the Governor.  Says they average 4,000 appeals yearly with two goals: decide cases quickly and decide them correctly.

305

Judge Brewer

Describes increases in appeals due to legislative action and new Supreme Court decisions.  Says six Blakely cases have been decided in the last month which causes them to divert court resources.

369

Judge Brewer

Describes how appellate courts operate on a daily basis with judges reviewing all briefs and arguments before decisions are rendered.

388

Judge Brewer

Discusses reduction in backlog with only five cases under advisement for 12 months or more.  Discusses motions made in appellate courts as well as a motions panel which they have formed.

435

Judge Brewer

Mentions two programs: Appellate Settlement Program and holding oral arguments in schools.  Announces that the Appellate Court could come to any community.

452

Judge Brewer

Discusses priorities and decision making in the appellate courts. 

TAPE 2, B

044

Chair Burdick

Commends them for getting out into the community.  Announces that the committee will also be traveling into the community.

054

Chief Justice Carson

Describes the operations of the Oregon Supreme Court.  Discusses statutory docket priorities for courts (Appendix C) under section II of Exhibit M.

115

Chief Justice Carson

Discusses state court administration under tab VI of Exhibit I

136

Chair Burdick

Thanks all participants for the information they have provided today.

139

Sen. Prozanski

Indicates circuit court judge contact could be made through Judge Rasmussen.

157

Chief Justice Carson

Says Multnomah County is looking forward to the committee visit.  Encourages committee members to contact any members of the courts for help.

172

Sen. Walker

Notes she has been traveling to Klamath Falls; says the staff and judges are very helpful and dedicated public servants.

194

Chair Burdick

Adjourns the meeting at 2:45 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Introductions, LC 174, staff, 3pp
  2. Introductions, LC 175, staff, 7pp
  3. Introductions, LC 888, staff, 5pp
  4. Introductions, LC 1204, staff, 3pp
  5. Introductions, LC 1264, staff, 6pp
  6. Introductions, LC 1298, staff, 2pp
  7. Introductions, LC 1438, staff, 2pp
  8. Introductions, LC 1474, staff, 2pp
  9. Introductions, LC 1476, staff, 2 pp
  10. Introductions, LC 1480, staff, 2 pp
  11. Introductions, LC 1653, staff, 7pp
  12. Rules, Committee, staff, 3pp
  13. Judicial System, Orientation Materials, Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr., 137 pp