Supreme Court public administrative hearing covers court performance measures, other

from Michigan Supreme Court

The agenda for the Michigan Supreme Court’s Nov. 28 public administrative hearing agenda included an administrative proposal on high performance by courts in such areas as timeliness, public access, and cost-effectiveness.

The performance measurement proposal (ADM File No. 2012-15) was offered by the State Court Administrative Office, the Supreme Court’s administrative agency. Among other matters, the proposed order would direct SCAO to establish performance measures for trial courts and require courts to report on their performance to SCAO. SCAO would also make statewide court performance data available online.

SCAO first began studying court performance measures in the 1990s with a task force of judges and court administrators. In 2005, the National Center for State Courts launched “CourTools,” a set of performance measures including “access and fairness,” “cost per case,” and “time to disposition.” In Feb. and March, focus groups proposed performance measures for Michigan trial courts, many based on CourTools. Courts already report some measures to SCAO, such as case age and time to disposition.

The court performance proposal, and related comments, are available online at: http://www.courts.michigan.gov/courts/michigansupremecourt/rules/court-rules-admin-matters/
pages/administrative-orders.aspx.

Also on the public hearing agenda was a proposed amendment (ADM File No. 2011-09) to Supreme Court Administrative Order 1989-1, “Film or Electronic Media Coverage of Court Proceedings.” Like the current version of the rule, the proposal provides that media who seek to bring cameras or electronic recording devices to cover court proceedings must submit their requests in writing “not less than three business days” before the court proceeding. The proposed amendment would require the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals to grant such requests, “except for good cause as determined under MCR 8.116(D),” ‘Access to Court Proceedings,’ which requires in part that, before limiting public access to a court proceeding, a court must state, on the record, “a specific interest to be protected” that “outweighs the right of access.”

Public administrative hearings are part of the Supreme Court’s rule-making process. Proposed changes to the Michigan Court Rules, Michigan Rules of Evidence, attorney and judicial ethics rules, and other court administrative matters are online at  http://www.courts.mi.gov/courts/michigansupremecourt/rules/court-rules-admin-matters/pages/default.
aspx. Proposals are generally published for public input before placement on an administrative hearing agenda.

Judges and other judicial officers would be able to participate in some court hearings by videoconference under another proposal (ADM File No. 2012-16) on the Court’s public hearing agenda. The proposal would allow SCAO “to approve the use of two-way interactive video technology in the trial courts to allow judicial officers to preside remotely in any proceeding that may be conducted by two-way interactive technology or communication equipment without the consent of the parties under the Michigan Court Rules and statutes.”

Other topics included serving of process; pleas of guilty and nolo contendere; and court foreign language interpreters.

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