WSR 02-09-014

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ April 3, 2002 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF NEW GR 26 AND AMENDMENT TO CJC 3 (A)(1) )

))

ORDER

NO. 25700-A-733


The Board for Judicial Administration having recommended the adoption of New GR 26 and CJC 3 (A)(1), and the Court having determined that the proposed new rule and amendment will aid in the prompt and orderly administration of justice;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That the new rule and amendment as attached hereto are adopted.

(b) That the new rule and amendment will be published in the Washington Reports and become effective July 1, 2002.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 3rd day of April 2002.
Alexander, C.J.


Smith, J.


Ireland, J.


Johnson, J.


Bridge, J.


Madsen, J.


Chambers, J.



Owens, J.



PROPOSED NEW GR 26

MANDATORY CONTINUING JUDICIAL EDUCATION



Preamble. The protection of the rights of free citizens depends upon the existence of an independent and competent judiciary. The challenge of maintaining judicial competence requires ongoing education of judges in the application of legal principles and the art of judging in order to meet the needs of a changing society. This rule establishes the minimum requirements for continuing education of judicial officers.

(a) Minimum Requirement. Each judicial officer shall complete a minimum of 45 credit hours of judicial education approved by the Board for Court Education (BCE) every three years, commencing January 1 of the calendar year following the adoption of this rule. If a judicial officer completes more than 45 such credit hours in a three-year reporting period, up to 15 hours of the excess credit may be carried forward and applied to the judicial officer's education requirement for the following three-year reporting period. At least six credit hours for each three-year reporting period shall be earned by completing programs in judicial ethics approved by the BCE. The fifteen credit hours that may be carried forward may include two credit hours toward the judicial ethics requirement.

(b) Judicial College Attendance.

1) A judicial officer in a District Court, Municipal Court, or Superior Court shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College program within twelve months of the initial appointment or election to the judicial office.

2) A judicial officer who attended the Washington Judicial College during his or her term of office in a court of limited jurisdiction shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College within twelve months of any subsequent appointment or election to the Superior Court. A judicial officer who attended the Washington Judicial College during his or her term of office in the Superior Court shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College within twelve months of any subsequent appointment or election as a judicial officer in a court of limited jurisdiction.

3) A judicial officer of a District Court, Municipal Court, or Superior Court who has been a judicial officer at the time of the adoption of this rule for less than four years but has not attended the Washington Judicial College shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College program within twelve months of the adoption of this rule.

(c) Accreditation. BCE shall subject to the approval of the Supreme Court establish and publish standards for accreditation of continuing judicial education programs and may choose to award continuing judicial education credits for self-study or teaching. Judicial education credit shall be given for programs BCE determines enhance the knowledge and skills that are relevant to the judicial office.

(d) Compliance Report. Each judicial officer shall file a report with the Office of the Administrator for the Courts (OAC) Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) on or before January 31 each year in such form as the Office of the Administrator for the Courts Administrative Office of the Courts shall prescribe concerning the judicial officer's progress toward the judicial education requirements of sections (a) and (b) of this rule during the previous calendar year. By April 15, BCE shall send a reminder of the requirements of this rule to any judicial officer who has not filed the annual progress report. OAC AOC shall publish a report with the names of all judicial officers who do not fulfill the requirements of sections (a) and (b) of this rule. The OAC AOC report shall be disseminated by means that may include, but are not limited to, publishing on the Washington Courts Internet web site, publishing the information as part of any voter's guide produced by or under the direction of the Office of the Administrator for the Courts Administrative Office of the Courts, and releasing the information in electronic or printed form to media organizations throughout the State.

(e) Delinquency. Failure to comply with the requirements of this rule may be deemed a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct that would subject a judicial officer to sanction by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

(f) Definition. The term "judicial officer" as used in this rule shall not include judges pro tempore but shall otherwise include all full or part time appointed or elected justices, judges, or court commissioners and magistrates.


CANON 3--JUDGES SHALL PERFORM THE DUTIES

OF THEIR OFFICE IMPARTIALLY AND DILIGENTLY



The judicial duties of judges should take precedence over all other activities. Their judicial duties include all the duties of office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply:

(A) Adjudicative Responsibilities.

(1) Judges should be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it, and comply with the continuing judicial education requirements of GR 26. Judges should be unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.

(2) Judges should maintain order and decorum in proceedings before them.

(3) Judges should be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom judges deal in their official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of the staff, court officials, and others subject to their direction and control.

Comment

The duty to hear all proceedings fairly and with patience is not inconsistent with the duty to dispose promptly of the business of the court. Courts can be efficient and businesslike while being patient and deliberate.

(4) Judges should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or that persons lawyer, full right to be heard according to law, and, except as authorized by law, neither initiate nor consider ex parte or other communications concerning a pending or impending proceeding. Judges, however, may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law

applicable to a proceeding before them, by amicus curiae only, if they afford the parties reasonable opportunity to respond.

Comment

The proscription against communications concerning a proceeding includes communications from lawyers, law teachers, and other persons who are not participants in the proceeding, except to the limited extent permitted. It does not preclude judges from consulting with other judges, or with court personnel whose function is to aid judges in carrying out their adjudicative responsibilities. An appropriate and often desirable procedure for a court to obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on legal issues is to invite the expert to file a brief amicus curiae.

(5) Judges shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.

Comment

A judge must perform judicial duties impartially and fairly. A judge who manifests bias on any basis in a proceeding impairs the fairness of the proceeding and brings the judiciary into disrepute.

(6) Judges should dispose promptly of the business of the court.

Comment

Prompt disposition of the courts business requires judges to devote adequate time to their duties, to be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters under submission, and to insist that court officials, litigants and their lawyers cooperate with them to that end.

(7) Judges shall not, while a proceeding is pending or impending in any court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its fairness or make any nonpublic comment that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing. The judge shall require similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control. This section does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court. This section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in a

personal capacity.

(8) Judges shall not commend or criticize jurors for their verdict other than in a court order or opinion in a proceeding, but may express appreciation to jurors for their service to the judicial system and the community.

Comment

Commending or criticizing jurors for their verdict may imply a judicial expectation in future cases and may impair a juror's ability to be fair and impartial in a subsequent case.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office