November 2016 Bar Bulletin
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Judicial Election Issues Top Board Meetings

The following are highlights from the KCBA Board of Trustees meeting held on September 21 and October 10, convened by KCBA President Kathryn Battuello.

 

At the September 21 meeting, Executive Director Andrew Prazuch reported on four remaining judicial ratings that were to be completed by the end of the month, and that KCBA would hold four judicial candidate forums in late September and TVW plans to broadcast the September 26 Supreme Court program. He also noted that the annual KCBF Joint Law Firm fundraising campaign was under way and would conclude in four weeks.

The Board then reviewed KCBA’s various judicial election activities. First, Marcia Nelson, co-chair of the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee, presented an overview of the Committee’s process for rating judicial candidates for appointment or election to trial and appellate level state courts. In addition, she discussed the rules and procedures and explained how the reference checks are completed.

Theo Angelis, chair of the Fair Campaign Practices Committee, briefed the trustees on the Committee’s responsibilities during the election cycle, which are governed by a board-approved set of guidelines. He explained that most issues arise from complaints related to fundraising, placement of yard signs and verbiage in campaign materials. Lastly, he discussed the importance of due process and the Board’s role if a complaint is received.

Battuello briefed the trustees on her recent activities and the development of work plans for the upcoming year. She directed the trustees’ attention to the standing committee assignments and presented highlights from the recent swearing-in ceremonies.

Treasurer Kinnon Williams provided a draft financial report for the just-completed fiscal year, projecting $3.5 million in final revenue and $3.4 million in expenses. The annual, independent auditor’s review of KCBA finances will be completed by December.

The Board approved the appointment of the FY2017 Leadership Development & Nominations Committee: Anne Daly (chair), Theo Angelis, Nicole Gaines Phelps, Pamela Grinter, John McKay, Mary Jo Newhouse, Raegen Rasnic, Steven Rovig and Nancy Williams.

Kelli Currie, YLD vice chair, reported on recent activities, including a hike in the Snoqualmie area, and a CLE and happy hour. She also briefed the trustees on upcoming events including a CLE with the Federal Bar Association, the Fall New Member Mixer and the YLD’s Annual Trivia Night event.

Finally, Prazuch briefed the trustees on VotingforJudges.org, an award-
winning website for nonpartisan and impartial information about judicial elections in Washington.

The meeting ended with Prazuch presenting the results from the Board’s earlier strategic planning exercises and leading the Board through a selection process to determine which items should be forwarded to the strategic plan working group for further consideration.

The Board convened again on October 10 to consider a judicial election complaint under its Fair Campaign Practices Guidelines. Angelis and committee member K.M. Das reviewed the Committee’s findings concerning a complaint filed anonymously against Catherine Moore’s Superior Court campaign. Jeffrey Grieff, serving as counsel to the Moore campaign, offered a response, including comments from Judge Lorraine Lee, chief of the Office of Administrative Hearings. Finally, the Board asked questions of all presenters.

After dismissing the guests, the Board continued its discussion in executive session according to the Guidelines. Returning from executive session, the Board chose to not make a public statement in this case, but directed Battuello and Prazuch to transmit a letter to the campaigns summarizing the Board’s findings.

 


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