PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Consideration of whether to amend, to repeal or to leave as is, existing Rule 24 (b)(8) of the commission's rules of procedure relating to participation in commission deliberations and decisions by a member of the commission who has not heard all, or a part, of the evidence.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Washington Constitution, Article IV, Section 31, paragraph 10.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The current rule permits a member of the commission who has not heard all or a part of the evidence in a proceeding, to participate in commission deliberations or a decision only after the member personally considers the whole record or portion of the hearing from which the member was absent. The current rule, which has only been utilized once, is intended to be used in rare cases where a member might miss a portion of a hearing due, for example, to ill-health or bad weather, but can become informed about the missed portion by a review of the record, and thereafter fully participate. Being able to do so obviates the possible need to postpone the hearing due to that member's temporary absence, or, if a quorum would otherwise be lost by the member's temporary absence, possibly engage in a completely new hearing, at very considerable cost to the respondent, counsel, and the commission. The continued participate of such a member, however, may raise lack of due process concerns or the appearance thereof.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: No other federal or state agencies regulate this subject.
Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Send written comments by May 31 to Barrie Althoff, Executive Director, Commission on Judicial Conduct, P.O. Box 1817, Olympia, WA 98504, phone (360) 753-4585, fax (360) 586-2918.
The commission will hold a public meeting on this inquiry, at which in-person comments may be made, subject to time limitations, beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 10, 2005, at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Evergreen Room, 19621 International Boulevard, SeaTac, WA.
April 18, 2005