WSR 11-01-021



[ December 2, 2010 ]





NO. 25700-A-972

The Judicial Information System Committee having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendment to GR 30-Electronic Filing, and the Court having approved the proposed amendment for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby


(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendment as shown below is to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Administrative Office of the Courts' websites expeditiously.

(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 60 days from the published date. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 2nd day of December, 2010.
For the Court

Madsen, C.J.



Proposal to Amend General Rule 30

Concerning Electronic Filing


The ETRIP initiative started as an effort to reduce redundant data entry, reduce time required to create and file documents with courts and other agencies, and ensure the correctness of data. ETRIP allows law enforcement officers to electronically create and send collisions and citations to the appropriate state agency. ETRIP consists of the SECTOR (Statewide Electronic Collision & Traffic Online Records) application, the JINDEX (Justice Information Network Data Exchange), and many enhancements to applications at AOC (Administrator for the Courts), DOL (Department of Licensing), and DOT (Department of Transportation).

SECTOR is currently available free of charge to all local law enforcement in Washington. It is being used by over 150 agencies and courts including Washington State Patrol (WSP), tribal agencies, and other local law enforcement agencies.

ETRIP and SECTOR benefit law enforcement officers, court staff, and DOL and DOT staff by reducing filing time and data entry time, and by providing more accurate data. Unfortunately, the current language of GR 30 (d)(2) reduces SECTOR's effectiveness.

SECTOR consists of a client application that resides on a law enforcement officer's computer which allows them to quickly and easily capture data related to citations and collisions. This data is sent to the SECTOR BackOffice application which resides at WSP. The SECTOR BackOffice application stores and sends the data to the AOC, DOL, and DOT as applicable, where it is processed accordingly.

Background and Proposed Change to GR 30 (d)(1)(A)

Law enforcement officers that receive SECTOR training receive the user ID and password after electronic filing training is completed. They do not receive the user ID and password from the electronic service provider. Rather, they receive them from their local system administrator. The proposal to GR 30 (d)(1)(A) eliminates the words "applied for" and "provider," and adds that officers receive their passwords from a government agency. This will allow law enforcement officers to use electronic filing as long as they have a user ID and password. This change in the rule does not affect the overall intent of electronic filing: that electronic filers must maintain and use a user ID and password to electronically file their cases.

Background and Proposed Change to GR 30 (d)(2)(D)

When an officer creates an incident/eTicket, using SECTOR, they sign onto the client application to create the incident. Once the incident is created, the ticket(s) may be served on a defendant and electronically filed with a court, or may be routed to a prosecutor for review and filing with a court. Defendants are no longer required to sign their copy of a ticket and an officer's signature on the ticket or citation is achieved by them using their user ID and password, following GR 30. See GR 30 (d)(2)(D).

Many counties and cities do not authorize police officers to directly file criminal charges. Instead, the prosecuting authorities in these jurisdictions require the police officers to forward their reports for prosecutor review. The prosecuting authority then makes an independent charging decision after reviewing the criminal history of the suspect, considering available defenses, the prosecutorial standards set forth at RCW 9.94A.411, and local charging standards. If the prosecuting attorney determines that charges will be pursued, the charging decision is memorialized by the filing of a complaint pursuant to CrRLJ 2.1(a).

Unfortunately, GR 30 (d)(2)(D) does not provide that documents completed by the officer in the SECTOR system that are sent to the prosecutor for charging purposes will be presumed to have been signed by the officer for purposes of the perjury statute. The same issue applies with respect to any documents attached to the eTicket and filed with the court.

In addition, GR 30 (d)(2)(D) does not provide that documents attached to eTickets are presumed to meet the requirements of RCW 9A.72.085 that, in addition to signature, they must include the date and place of signature.

This proposal treats any document completed by an officer with his or her user ID and password that is transmitted through the SECTOR system to a prosecutor or to a court to be "signed under penalty of perjury."


(a) Definitions

(1) "Digital signature" is defined in RCW 19.34.020.

(2) "Electronic Filing" is the electronic transmission of information to a court or clerk for case processing.

(3) "Electronic Document" is an electronic version of information traditionally filed in paper form, except for documents filed by facsimile which are addressed in GR 17. An electronic document has the same legal effect as a paper document.

(4) "Electronic Filing Technical Standards" are those standards, not inconsistent with this rule, adopted by the Judicial Information System committee to implement electronic filing.

(5) "Filer" is the person whose user ID and password are used to file an electronic document.

Comment: The form of "digital signature" that is acceptable is not limited to the procedure defined by chapter 19.34 RCW, but may include other equivalently reliable forms of authentication as adopted by local court rule or general.

(b) Electronic filing authorization, exception, service, and technology equipment.

(1) The clerk may accept for filing an electronic document that complies with the Court Rules and the Electronic Filing Technical Standards.

(2) A document that is required by law to be filed in non-electronic media may not be electronically filed. Comment Certain documents are required by law to be filed in non-electronic media. Examples are original wills, certified records of proceedings for purposes of appeal, negotiable instruments, and documents of foreign governments under official seal.

(3) Electronic Transmission from the Court. The clerk may electronically transmit notices, orders, or other documents to a party who has filed electronically, or has agreed to accept electronic documents from the court, and has provided the clerk the address of the party's electronic mailbox. It is the responsibility of the filing or agreeing party to maintain an electronic mailbox sufficient to receive electronic transmissions of notices, orders, and other documents.

(4) Electronic Service by Parties. Parties may electronically serve documents on other parties of record only by agreement.

(5) A court may adopt a local rule that mandates electronic filing by attorneys provided that the attorneys are not additionally required to file paper copies except for those documents set forth in (b)(2). The local rule shall not be inconsistent with this Rule and the Electronic Filing Technical Standards, and the local rule shall permit paper filing upon a showing of good cause. Electronic filing should not serve as a barrier to access.

Comment: When adopting electronic filing requirements, courts should refrain from requiring counsel to provide duplicate paper pleadings as "working copies" for judicial officers.

(c) Time of Filing, Confirmation, and Rejection.

(1) An electronic document is filed when it is received by the clerk's designated computer during the clerk's business hours; otherwise the document is considered filed at the beginning of the next business day.

(2) The clerk shall issue confirmation to the filing party that an electronic document has been received.

(3) The clerk may reject a document that fails to comply with applicable electronic filing requirements. The clerk must notify the filing party of the rejection and the reason therefore.

(d) Authentication of Electronic Documents.

(1) Procedures

(A) A person filing an electronic document must have applied for and received a user ID and password from a government agency or a person delegated by such agency in order to use the applicable electronic filing service provider.

Comment: The committee encourages local clerks and courts to develop a protocol for uniform statewide single user ID's and passwords.

(B) All electronic documents must be filed by using the user ID and password of the filer.

(C) A filer is responsible for all documents filed with his or her user ID and password. No one shall use the filer's user ID and password without the authorization of the filer.

(2) Signatures

(A) Attorney Signatures - An electronic document which requires an attorney's signature may be signed with a digital signature or signed in the following manner:

s/John Attorney

State Bar Number 12345

ABC Law Firm

123 South Fifth Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

Telephone: (206) 123-4567

Fax: (206) 123-4567


(B) Non-attorney signatures - An electronic document which requires a non-attorney's signature and is not signed under penalty of perjury may be signed with a digital signature or signed in the following manner:

s/John Citizen

123 South Fifth Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

Telephone: (206) 123-4567

Fax: (206) 123-4567


(C) Non-attorney signatures on documents signed under penalty of perjury - Except as set forth in (d)(2)(D) of this rule, if the original document requires the signature of a non-attorney signed under penalty of perjury, the filer must either:

(i) Scan and electronically file the entire document, including the signature page with the signature, and maintain the original signed paper document for the duration of the case, including any period of appeal, plus sixty (60) days thereafter; or

(ii) Ensure the electronic document has the digital signature of the signer.

(D) Law enforcement officer signatures on documents signed under penalty of perjury. Arresting or citing officer signatures on citations, and notices of infraction filed electronically in courts of limited jurisdiction -

(i) A citation or notice of infraction initiated by an arresting or citing officer as defined in IRLJ 1.2(j) and in accordance with CrRLJ 2.1 or IRLJ 2.1 and 2.2 is presumed to have been signed when the arresting or citing officer uses his or her user id and password to electronically file the citation or notice of infraction.

(ii) Any document initiated by a law enforcement officer is presumed to have been signed when the officer uses his or her user ID and password to electronically submit the document to a court or prosecutor through the Statewide Electronic Collision & Traffic Online Records application, the Justice Information Network Data Exchange, or a local secured system that the presiding judge designates by local rule. Unless otherwise specified, the signature shall be presumed to have been made under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of Washington and on the date and at the place set forth in the citation.

(E) Multiple signatures - If the original document requires multiple signatures, the filer shall scan and electronically file the entire document, including the signature page with the signatures, unless:

(i) The electronic document contains the digital signatures of all signers; or

(ii) For a document that is not signed under penalty of perjury, the signator has the express authority to sign for an attorney or party and represents having that authority in the document.

If any of the non-digital signatures are of non-attorneys, the filer shall maintain the original signed paper document for the duration of the case, including any period of appeal, plus sixty (60) days thereafter.

(F) Court Facilitated Electronically Captured Signatures - An electronic document that requires a signature may be signed using electronic signature pad equipment that has been authorized and facilitated by the court. This document may be electronically filed as long as the electronic document contains the electronic captured signature. (3) An electronic document filed in accordance with this rule shall bind the signer and function as the signer's signature for any purpose, including CR 11. An electronic document shall be deemed the equivalent of an original signed document if the filer has complied with this rule. All electronic documents signed under penalty of perjury must conform to the oath language requirements set forth in RCW 9A.72.085 and GR 13.

(e) Filing fees, electronic filing fees.

(1) The clerk is not required to accept electronic documents that require a fee. If the clerk does accept electronic documents that require a fee, the local courts must develop procedures for fee collection that comply with the payment and reconciliation standards established by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Washington State Auditor.

(2) Anyone entitled to waiver of non-electronic filing fees will not be charged electronic filing fees. The court or clerk shall establish an application and waiver process consistent with the application and waiver process used with respect to non-electronic filing and filing fees.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office