WSR 01-01-051

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ December 11, 2000 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF PROPOSED NEW ARLJ 11 )

)

ORDER

NO. 25700-A-692

The District and Municipal Court Judges' Association having recommended the adoption of proposed New ARLJ 11, as amended, and the Court having approved the proposed new rule for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(f), the proposed new rule as attached hereto is to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, the Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Office of the Administrator for the Court's websites in January 2001.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(d), 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, 2001. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Lisa.Bausch@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 7th day of December 2000.
Richard P. Guy


CHIEF JUSTICE

GR 9 COVER SHEET



Proposed Rule 11


Administrative Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (ARLJ)


Misdemeanant Probation Department


(1) Background. This proposed rule is initiated by the Office of the Administrator for the Courts pursuant to Legislative mandate. RCW 10.64.120 states that the Office of the Administrator for the Courts (OAC) "shall define a probation department and adopt rules for the qualifications of probation officers based on occupational and educational requirements developed by an oversight committee." The oversight committee consisted of a representative of the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association, the Misdemeanant Corrections Association, the OAC, and the associations of cities and counties. In addition, the proposed rule resolves an issue discussed in the Washington State: Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Assessment Survey Report 1995-1997 (also known as the Wilson Report) regarding what entities are authorized to collect statutory probation services fees. This issue has increased in importance due to the Supreme Court's ruling in Hertog v. City of Seattle, 138 Washington 2d 265, 979 P.2d 265 (1999).

(2) Purpose. The 1996 Washington State Legislature mandated that the OAC adopt rules relating to the operation of local misdemeanant probation departments. Specifically, RCW 10.64.120, Chapter 298, Laws of 1996, requires that:

the Office of the Administrator for the Courts shall define a probation department and adopt rules for the qualifications of probation officers based on occupational and educational requirements developed by an oversight committee… The oversight committee shall consider qualifications that provide the training and education necessary to (a) conduct presentencing and postsentencing background investigations, including sentencing recommendations to the court regarding jail terms, alternatives to incarceration, and conditions of release; and (b) provide ongoing supervision and assessment of offenders' needs and the risk they pose to the community.

Pursuant to this statute, the OAC established the Misdemeanant Probation Oversight Committee in October 1996. The oversight committee met five times during 1996 and 1997. The statute requires the oversight committee to define a misdemeanant probation department and recommend a detailed list of qualifications for the position of probation officer.

The rule is proposed as an administrative rule for limited jurisdiction courts, because the definition and qualifications relate only to the internal structures and operations of the courts. Judges, court staff, and attorneys have historically relied on the administrative rules to contain a comprehensive list of procedures for a given area. As a result, the proposed rule contains more details than typically found in a general rule or a criminal rule.

The rule defines a misdemeanant probation department based on the type of services offered. Misdemeanant probation departments vary tremendously in the types of services offered and the method of delivering those services. In recognition of this fact, the presiding judge of the local court is granted authority under the rule to determine what services will be offered and how they will be delivered. Nevertheless, a department is still required to structure its services so that it will assist the court in the management of criminal justice with the intent of aiding in the preservation of public order and safety.

The oversight committee acknowledged that staff with higher levels of training and education should perform certain types of services. To ensure that appropriately qualified staff performs probation services, the oversight committee has divided typical probation services into two categories: (1) professional, and (2) clerical. Under the rule, staff may only perform core services that they are qualified to perform. Although, the rule does not require misdemeanant probation departments to employ professional staff (i.e. a probation officer), probation departments organized without a probation officer would be limited under the rule to performing only clerical type services.

The Legislature specifically required the OAC to adopt rules, which set the training and education qualifications for probation officers. Once again, the detail in the rule is somewhat extensive; however, the detail is mandated. In setting the qualifications for probation officers, the Legislature required the oversight committee to consider certain tasks that are likely to be performed by probation officers, such as pre-sentence background investigations and offender risk assessments. Following this mandate, the oversight committee has set forth specific educational and training requirements for probation officers based on this criteria, the qualifications utilized by county and city probation departments, and the Washington State Department of Corrections for its community corrections officers. The qualifications under this rule are waived for individuals previously employed as probation officers for two years prior to the effective date of the rule.

To emphasize the differences between probation officers and other probation staff, the oversight committee has also set forth a list of core services and qualifications for probation clerical staff.

In summary, the rule defines what constitutes a misdemeanant probation department under the statute. In addition, the rule establishes the types of services that may only be performed by professional probation officers, as opposed to clerical staff, and it establishes the education and training requirements for both probation officers and probation clerks.

(3) Washington State Bar Association Action. None.

(4) Supporting Material. Attached is a letter from the oversight committee in support of the proposed rule, a copy of the proposed rule, and a copy of RCW 10.64.120.

(5) Spokesperson. Mary McQueen, Office of the Administrator for the Courts, 1206 S. Quince St., P.O. Box 41170, Olympia Washington 98504-1170, (360) 357-2120; and The Honorable Janis Whitener-Moberg, President of the District and Municipal Court Judges' Association, 35 C St. N.W., P.O. Box 37, Ephrata, Washington 98823-0037, (509) 754-2011, ext. 379.

(6) Hearing. A hearing is not recommended.


Proposed Rule 11


Administrative Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (ARLJ)


Misdemeanant Probation Department


RULE 11 PROBATION DEPARTMENT


RULE 11.1 DEFINITION

A misdemeanant probation department, if a court elects to establish one, is an entity that provides services designed to assist the court in the management of criminal justice and thereby aid in the preservation of public order and safety. This entity may consist of probation officers and probation clerks. The method of providing these services shall be established by the presiding judge of the local court to meet the specific needs of the court.


RULE 11.2 QUALIFICATIONS AND CORE SERVICES OF PROBATION DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL

(a) Probation Officer Qualifications.

(1) A minimum of a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree that provides the necessary education and skills in dealing with complex legal and human issues, as well as competence in making decisions and using discretionary judgment. A course of study in sociology, psychology, or criminal justice is preferred.

(2) Counseling skills necessary to evaluate and act on offender crisis, assess offender needs, motivate offenders, and make recommendations to the court.

(3) Education and training necessary to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to interview and counsel offenders with a wide variety of offender problems, including but not limited to alcoholism, domestic violence, mental illness, sexual deviancy; to testify in court, to communicate with referral resources, and to prepare legal documents and reports.

(4) Anyone not meeting the above qualifications and having competently held the position of probation officer for the past two years shall be deemed to have met the qualifications.

(b) Probation Officer Core Services.

(1) Conduct pre/post-sentence investigations with face to face interviews and extensive research that includes but is not limited to criminal history, contact with victims, personal history, social and economic needs, community resource needs, counseling/treatment needs, work history, family and employer support, and complete written pre/post-sentence reports, which includes sentencing recommendations to the court.

(2) For offenders referred to the misdemeanant probation department, determine their risk to the community using a standardized classification system with a minimum of monthly fact to face interviews for offenders classified at the highest level.

(3) Evaluate offenders' social problems, amenability to different types of treatment programs, and determine appropriate referral.

(4) Supervise offenders with face to face interviews depending on risk classification system.

(5) Oversee community agencies providing services required of offenders with input to the judicial officer (e.g. alcohol/drug, domestic violence, sexual deviancy, and mental illness).

(6) Other Duties. The core services listed under both probation officer and probation clerk are not meant to exclude other duties that may be performed by either classification of employee or other court clerical staff, such as record checks, calendaring court proceedings, and accounting of fees.

(c) Probation Clerk Qualifications.

(1) High school or equivalent diploma.

(2) Efficient in all facets of basic clerical skills including but not limited to keyboarding, computer familiarity and competence, filing, and positive public interaction.

(3) Above average ability in dealing with stress and difficult clients.

(4) Ability to complete and perform multi-task assignments.

(d) Probation Clerk Core Services.

(1) Monitor compliance of treatment obligations with professional treatment providers.

(2) Report offender non-compliance with conditions of sentence to the court.

(3) Coordinate treatment referral information, and monitor community agencies for statutory reporting compliance.

(4) Anyone not meeting the above qualifications and having held the position of probation clerk for the past two years shall be deemed to have met the qualifications.

(5) Other Duties. The core services listed under both probation officer and probation clerk are not meant to exclude other duties that may be performed by either classification of employee or other court clerical staff, such as record checks, calendaring court proceedings, and accounting of fees.


RULE 11.3 STATUTORY PROBATION SERVICE FEES TO BE USED FOR

PROBATION SERVICES

All positions, which are funded by statutory probation service fees, shall be limited to working with individuals or cases who are on probation. Any additional funds raised from statutory probation services fees beyond what is necessary to fund the positions in the probation department shall be used to provide additional levels of probation services.

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

Washington State Code Reviser's Office