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Bylaws of the Minnesota Judicial Council

ARTICLE I

GENERAL

Pursuant to Administrative Order 04-8003, In Re Establishing Judicial Council, the Judicial Branch shall exercise its administrative policy-making authority through the Chief Justice and a Judicial Council.

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE

Section 1.  General. The purpose of the Minnesota Judicial Council is to govern the judicial branch through the establishment and monitoring of administrative policies designed to achieve an accessible, fair, and timely system of justice statewide and to ensure that the judicial branch functions as an independent and accountable branch of government.

Section 2.  Scope. In support of this purpose, the Judicial Council will exercise administrative policy-making authority for, but not limited to, the following:

  • Development and implementation of the branch strategic plan;
  • Budget priorities, budget request, and submission of the judicial branch budget request to the executive and legislative branches;
  • Collective bargaining;
  • Human resources;
  • Technology;
  • Education and organizational development;
  • Finance, including budget distribution among levels of court and among districts;
  • Programs, including jury, guardian ad litem, interpreter, expedited child support, and Children’s Justice Initiative; and,
  • Core services, court performance, and accountability.

Section 3.  Principles. The Judicial Council will fulfill its purpose with a commitment to:

  • Making decisions based on statewide values, needs, priorities, and goals in concert with the fair allocation of resources;
  • Deliberating in many voices, but governing in one;
  • Communicating openly and regularly with all stakeholders;
  • Measuring achievement of statewide goals and policies;
  • Focusing on strategies designed to meet future needs;
  • Involving judges and administrators in implementation of policies; and
  • Recognizing the needs of judicial districts to adopt local policies not inconsistent with Judicial Council policies.

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

Section 1.  Voting Members.  The voting members of the Judicial Council shall be:

a. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

b. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – appointed by the Chief Justice

c. Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals

d. Chief Judges of the Judicial Districts

e. President of the Minnesota District Judges Association

f.  Five At-Large Judges (three of whom must be trial court judges) – appointed by the Chief Justice

Section 2.  Non-Voting Members.  The non-voting members of the Judicial Council shall be:

a. State Court Administrator

b. Three Judicial District Administrators – chosen by the District Administrators

c. One Court Administrator – chosen by the Court Administrators

d. One At-Large Member – appointed by the Chief Justice from within the Judicial Branch.

ARTICLE IV

OFFICERS

Section 1.  General.  There shall be a chair and vice-chair of the Judicial Council.

Section 2.  Chair.  The chair of the Judicial Council shall be the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The duties of the chair of the Judicial Council shall be as follows:

a. Call all meetings of the Judicial Council.

b. Establish the Judicial Council meeting agenda from requestsmade to the Chair by the Judicial Council membership and with input from the vice-chair and State Court Administrator.

c. Preside over all meetings of the Judicial Council.

d. Appoint the State Court Administrator when a vacancy occurs in consultation with the Judicial Council.

e. Appoint Judicial Council members as provided in Article V, Section 1b.

f. After consultation with the Judicial Council, appoint members to such standing, ad hoc, or special committees of the Judicial Council as it may establish and designate the chairs of such committees.

g. Review and coordinate the activities of Judicial Council committees to ensure timely responses to issues placed before them.

h. Direct all external communications from the Judicial Council to individuals, private and public entities and associations, and the general public concerning Judicial Council activities and actions.

i. Represent the Judicial Council in emergency situations where there is insufficient time for a meeting of the Judicial Council.

Section 3.  Vice-Chair. The vice-chair of the Judicial Council shall be a voting member of the Judicial Council elected by a majority vote of the voting members of the Judicial Council.  The vice-chair shall serve for a two (2) year term and may be reelected to one subsequent two (2) year term. The vice-chair may be removed at any time by the affirmative vote of a majority of voting members of the Judicial Council.  In the case of the absence or disability of the vice-chair, or in any other case that the members of the Judicial Council may deem sufficient reason therefore, the members of the Judicial Council, by a majority vote, may delegate for the time being any or all of the powers or duties of the vice-chair to any other voting member of the Judicial Council.  The duties of the vice-chair of the Judicial Council shall be as follows:

a. Assume all the duties and responsibilities of the chair should the chair delegate such duties or be unable to perform them for whatever reason.

b. Assist in setting the agenda.

c. Call a meeting of the Judicial Council should the chair fail to do so for a period of six months.

ARTICLE V

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF JUDICIAL COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP

Section 1.  Terms.  The terms of Judicial Council membership shall be as follows:

a. The following members shall serve during tenure in their positions:

  • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals
  • Chief Judges of the Judicial Districts
  • President of the Minnesota District Judges Association
  • State Court Administrator

b. The following members shall serve staggered terms following the establishment of the Judicial Council and thereafter as determined by the Chief Justice.  Appointments for these members afterwards shall be three-year terms, with the opportunity for an additional three-year term at the discretion of the appointing authority.

  • Associate Justice of the Supreme Court appointed by the Chief Justice
  • Five At-Large Judges appointed by the Chief Justice
  • Three Judicial District Administrators chosen by the District Administrator
  • One Court Administrator chosen by the Court Administrators
  • One At-Large Appointment from within the Judicial Branch appointed by the Chief Justice

Section 2.  Vacancy and Successors.  Any vacancy on the Judicial Council shall be filled as dictated by Article V, Section 1. Any member who leaves the active service of the Judicial Branch will no longer be eligible to serve on the Judicial Council.  If a non-tenured member vacates his or her position on the Judicial Council prior to the completion of his or her current term, a successor shall be chosen to fill the current term and will then be eligible for reappointment to two full terms.

Section 3.  Resignation.  Any member of the Judicial Council may resign at any time by delivering a written resignation to the chair.  Such resignation is effective upon acceptance by the chair. 

ARTICLE VI

MEETINGS

Section 1.  Quorum.  Two-thirds of the voting members is necessary to constitute a quorum to conduct meetings of the Judicial Council.

Section 2.  Alternates.  If a Judicial Council member serving during tenure is unable to attend a meeting of the Judicial Council, such member may designate a voting alternate to attend in his/her place as follows:

  • Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals may designate one Court of Appeals judge to serve as an alternate during his/her tenure;
  • Chief Judge of the District may designate his/her Assistant Chief Judge to serve as an alternate;
  • President of MDJA may designate the President-elect to serve as an alternate;
  • State Court Administrator may designate one individual to serve as an alternate during his/her tenure.

Section 3.  Attendance.  Members are expected to make every effort to attend all meetings of the Judicial Council and to come to the meetings prepared. 

Section 4.  Rules.  The conduct of all meetings shall be governed by Rules of Procedure adopted by the Judicial Council.  In the event any issue shall not be covered by said Rules of Procedure, the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (Sturgis, 4th Edition) shall govern.  The Chair may appoint a Parliamentarian to decide all Points of Order or other issue arising under the Rules of Procedure.

Section 5.  Vote.  All matters shall be decided by a vote of the majority of voting members present at a meeting at which a quorum is present unless specifically addressed otherwise in these bylaws or in the Rules of Procedure adopted by the Judicial Council.  Each member shall be limited to one vote.

Section 6.  Regular Meetings.  Regular meetings shall be scheduled by the chair with the requirement that the Judicial Council meet at least quarterly every fiscal year.  Every effort shall be made to schedule meetings twelve (12) months in advance to allow for maximum attendance of members.

Section 7.  Place of Meeting.  The location of meetings of the Judicial Council shall be determined by the chair.

Section 8.  Participation by Conference Telephone or Interactive Television (ITV) during a Regular Meeting.  Members of the Judicial Council or of any committee thereof may participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone, interactive television, or similar communications equipment whereby all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other.  Participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at such meeting.

Section 9.  Emergency Meeting Any action required or permitted to be taken at a regular meeting of the Judicial Council, except a change in the bylaws, may be taken without a regular meeting by means of telephone, mail, email, interactive television.  These emergency meetings of the Judicial Council may be called at the discretion of the chair, shall require a quorum, but are not subject to sections 10-12 of the bylaws.

Section 10.  Meeting Notice.  Written notice stating the date, place, and hour of Judicial Council meetings shall be provided via mail or email to each member not less than thirty (30) daysprior to any such meeting.  Any member who attends a meeting of the members without protesting at the commencement of the meeting the lack of notice thereof, shall be conclusively deemed to have waived notice of such meeting.

Section 11.  Agenda.  An agenda for a meeting of the Judicial Council shall be provided to members not less than one (1) calendar week prior to a meeting.  A proposed agenda for the next meeting of the Judicial Council shall be provided at the prior meeting.

Section 12.  Meeting Materials.  Meeting materials to be considered at a meeting of the Judicial Council shall be provided to all Judicial Council members via mail or email not less than one (1) calendar week prior to the meeting at which the materials will be considered.

Section 13.  Waiver.  The notice requirements of Sections 11-12 of the bylaws may be waived by a majority vote of the Judicial Council at a regular meeting.

Section 14.  Presiding Officer.  The chair, or vice-chair in the absence of the chair, shall preside at all meetings of the Judicial Council.

Section 15.  Staffing.  Staff for the Judicial Council shall be provided by the State Court Administrator’s Office.

ARTICLE VII

MINUTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Section 1.  Recording.  The State Court Administrator or designee shall serve as recording secretary to record the minutes of all Judicial Council meetings.  The Recording Secretary shall also be responsible for maintaining the integrity of all documents.

Section 2.  Content of Minutes.  Minutes of any meeting of the Judicial Council shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Summary of discussion;

b. Whether a motion has passed, but no roll call votes;

c. Identification of those in attendance at the meeting;

d. Whether minutes from a prior meeting have been approved;

e. Any attachments to the minutes.

Section 3.  Delivery and Posting of Minutes.  Minutes of Judicial Council meetings shall be delivered to members for review by mail or email not less than one (1) calendar week after a meeting.  Final minutes will be approved at the next Judicial Council meeting and will be posted on CourtNet within one (1) calendar week of approval.

ARTICLE VIII

COMMITTEES

The Judicial Council shall establish standing, ad hoc, or special committees as it deems necessary to fulfill the business of the Judicial Council.  The Judicial Council may establish sunset dates for committees.

ARTICLE IX

HIRING AND SUPERVISION OF THE STATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR

Section 1.  Appointment.  The State Court Administrator shall be appointed by the Chief Justice, in consultation with the Judicial Council. 

Section 2.  Supervision.  The Judicial Council shall be responsible for setting expectations for, and monitoring the performance of, the State Court Administrator and for conducting an annual performance review.

Section 3.  Retention.  The State Court Administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the Judicial Council.  A decision to terminate the services of the State Court Administrator requires a majority vote of all voting members of the Judicial Council.

ARTICLE X

AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be amended, altered, or repealed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all voting members of the Judicial Council at any regular meeting of the Judicial Council if notice of the proposed alteration or repeal is contained in the notice of such meeting.  Amendment, alteration, or repeal of these bylaws may not create a conflict with the language contained in Administrative Order 04-8003, In Re Establishing Judicial Council.

Adopted July 1, 2005