WSR 07-22-078

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ November 1, 2007 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENTS TO ER 1011 [1101] (c)(4) )

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ORDER

NO. 25700-A-879


The Superior Court Judges' Association having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendment to ER 1011 [1101] (c)(4), and the Court having approved the proposed amendment for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendment as attached hereto is to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Office of the Administrator for the Court's websites in January, 2008.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(e), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.

(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than April 30, 2008. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Camilla.Faulk@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 1st day of November, 2007.
For the Court
Gerry L. Alexander
CHIEF JUSTICE


GR 9 Cover Sheet

Suggested Changes to ER 1101 (c)(4)



(C) Purpose: The Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Act (Act), chapter 74.34 RCW, provides a number of protections for vulnerable adults. One section of the Act provides that vulnerable adults may seek orders of protection from acts of abandonment, abuse, exploitation, or neglect. (RCW 74.34.110.) In 2007, the Legislature amended the process for obtaining these protection orders. Among other changes, "interested persons" may now petition for the orders on behalf of a vulnerable adult, court filing fees are waived, and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is directed to create mandatory forms and instructions, in English and other languages, for use in obtaining these orders.

The SCJA proposes amending ER 1101 (c)(4) to add vulnerable adult protection orders to the existing rule which provides that the rules of evidence, other than with respect to privileges, need not be applied in protection order proceedings under RCW 26.50 (domestic violence) and RCW 10.14 (harassment). The same reason that it has been made easier for parties to present evidence in domestic violence and harassment protection order hearings exists with vulnerable adult protection orders; there is a need for a simplified process for these proceedings, to make sure the protection of the courts is available to all persons who need such assistance.

In testimony to the Legislature when the 2007 amendments to the Act were being considered, it was noted that "[t]his bill makes the process easier, which is important because the current law is cumbersome, inefficient, and expensive." (H.B. Report on Engrossed Second H.B. 1008, 60th Leg., Reg. Sess., p. 5 (Wash. 2007).) Amending ER 1101 (c)(4) to include vulnerable adult protection orders will assist in making the procedure for obtaining such an order easier for the parties. Adding vulnerable adult protection orders to the rule will also aid the courts by making the procedures consistent with other similar case types in which protection orders may be issued. An increase is expected in the number of filings for vulnerable adult protection orders as a result of the legislative changes, particularly the requirement that AOC create new standardized instructions and forms for this proceeding, the use of which is mandatory as of October 1, 2007, and the change allowing an "interested person" to petition on behalf of the vulnerable adult.

This suggested rule change also contains a suggested revision to the caption of ER 1101 (c)(4), to clarify the scope of the subsection. The present caption of the subsection is "Applications for Domestic Violence Protection." However, the present subsection actually applies to both domestic violence proceedings and to harassment protection orders and the suggested rule change would expand the subsection to include vulnerable adult protection orders. The suggested caption, "Applications for Protection Orders", more accurately describes the subsection.



WASHINGTON RULES OF EVIDENCE (ER)


RULE 1101. APPLICABILITY OF RULES


(a) - (b) [No changes.]

(c) When Rules Need Not Be Applied. The rules (other than with respect to privileges) need not be applied in the following situations:

(1) - (3) [No changes.]

(4) Applications for Domestic Violence Protection Orders. Protection order proceedings under RCW 10.14, and 26.50 and 10.14 74.34. When a judge proposes to consider information from a domestic violence database, the judge shall disclose the information to each party present at the hearing; on timely request, provide each party with an opportunity to be heard; and, take appropriate measures to alleviate litigants' safety concerns. The judge has discretion not to disclose information that he or she does not propose to consider.

(d) [No changes.]

Reviser's note: The brackets and enclosed material in the text of the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office