SB 0446 Modifies provisions of court procedure
LR Number:1563S.04C Fiscal Note:1563-04
Committee:Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action:05/16/03 - S Inf Calendar S Bills for Perfection Journal page:
Title:SCS SB 446
Effective Date:August 28, 2003
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 446 - This act modifies a number of provisions relating to court procedures.

DEFINITION OF COURT (Section 143.782) - Defines "court" in terms of tax credits and refunds.

JUVENILE COURT TO NOTIFY SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF VIOLATIONS OF COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE (Section 211.031) - This act requires the juvenile court to notify and report to the school district any violations of 167.031, RSMo. The school district must immediately refer all private, parochial, or home school matters to the prosecuting attorney. Public school violations of Section 167.031, RSMo, may be referred to the prosecuting attorney.

SUBROGATION RIGHTS OF PUBLIC ENTITIES (Section 376.433) - This act allows public entities which provide health insurance coverage to their employees through a self- insured plan to file a subrogation claim or otherwise seek reimbursement from a third party tortfeasor.

PROTECTIVE ORDERS (Sections 455.027, 455.504 and 455.516) - No filing fees or guardian ad litem fees will be assessed to a petitioner in an action seeking a protective order. Once an order is filed, the clerk shall issue a copy, as well as any subsequent order of termination, to the local law enforcement agency responsible for maintaining the Missouri uniform law enforcement system (MULES). Copies of the petition and date for hearing shall be issued to the local juvenile office.

LEGAL FEES (Sections 455.075 and 455.536) - A court may order a party, but not the petitioner, to pay the other party's guardian ad litem fees. A court may also order a respondent to pay a reasonable amount for attorney's fees and guardian ad litem fees incurred prior to commencement of proceeding or after entry of judgment, depending on the financial resources of both parties.

NONPROBATE TRANSFERS (Section 461.300) - This act allows a creditor, surviving spouse or person acting for an unmarried child to commence an action for nonprobate transfer if the personal representative fails to commence an action within thirty days of a written request. If the personal representative fails to commence the action, he or she is under a duty to disclose information related to the identity of any beneficiary of a nonprobate transfer made by the decedent. If the representative does not disclose the information, the statute of limitations is tolled until the information is provided. If the personal representative is the beneficiary of the nonprobate transfer, the court may appoint an administrator ad litem to represent the estate in any proceeding.

STATE COURT ADMINISTRATION REVOLVING FUND (Section 476.058) - Any moneys received in connection with preparation of court transcripts shall be deposited in the fund.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS/TRANSLATORS (Section 476.800 to 476.810) - Courts shall appoint qualified interpreters in all legal proceedings where party or witness is non-English speaker. The act provides that interpreters and translators cannot be compelled to testify to information that is otherwise attorney- client privileged. The interpreter/translator shall be allowed a reasonable fee and the act provides when that fee shall be paid by the Office of State Courts Administrator.

FINE COLLECTION CENTER (Section 476.385) - This expands the Fine Collection Center to accept tickets for littering.

13th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (Section 478.610) - This act provides that beginning on January 1, 2007, the number of circuit judges in the 13th judicial circuit shall increase from three to four. The fourth circuit judge shall be elected in 2006 for a two-year term and thereafter in 2008 for a full six-year term.

APPOINTMENT OF CERTAIN CIRCUIT CLERKS (Sections 483.015 and 483.083) - The circuit clerk of the City of St. Louis and Clay county shall be appointed by a majority of the judges of such circuit. The circuit clerk shall be removable for cause by a majority of the circuit judges. This provision shall become effective January 1, 2004.

FEE FOR FUNDING FOR SHELTERS (Section 488.445) - The act removes the expiration date for counties to impose a fee on marriage licenses and surcharges on civil cases to provide funding for shelters.

COURT REPORTER FEES (Sections 488.2250 and 488.2253) - This act increases the fees for court reporters to collect on transcripts and copies of transcripts. Beginning January 1, 2004, the fees may be increased or decreased depending on certain indexes. The act increases the fee to be paid by the clerk of the circuit court to the Director of Revenue in every contested case, or case in which evidence is to be preserved, from $15 to $25.

FAMILY SERVICES AND JUSTICE FUND (Section 488.2300) - The act provides that the judgment collected in juvenile proceedings is payable to the fund. The surcharge shall only be assessed to the respondent.

CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION JUDGEMENT AND COUNTY FEE (Sections 488.4014, 488.5320 and 595.045) - The fee payable in felony and nonfelony criminal violations shall be paid upon the plea of guilty or upon a finding of guilt. Exceptions are made for certain misdemeanors.

TIME PAYMENT FEE (Section 488.5025) - The act creates the time payment fee. Courts may impose such a fee of $25 on all fines, fees or sanctions not paid in full within 30 days. The act provides for distribution of the fee to the local court, court automation fund and drug court fund.

COLLECTION OF COURT COSTS THROUGH SET-OFF (Section 488.5028) - Allows a court to collect unpaid court costs in excess of $25 by seeking a set-off of the person's tax refund. A court may contract with a private or public agency to collect on past due court ordered penalties (Section 488.5030).

MASTER JURY LIST (Section 494.410) - Beginning July 1, 2004, the names on the master jury list shall be chosen from certain source lists. The names of potential jurors on the list shall not be considered a public record.

DISQUALIFICATION FROM JURY SERVICE (Section 494.425) - This act disqualifies persons from jury service who are unable to communicate effectively in English with or without auxiliary aids and services. Currently, a person is disqualified from jury service if the person is unable to read, speak and understand the English language. The act makes attorneys at law and persons with physical illness qualified to be jurors.

PERSONS EXCUSED FROM JURY SERVICE (Section 494.430) - Certain health care professionals, clergy, persons with employment in areas where their absence would affect the public safety, St. Louis city police officers and persons upon whom jury service would pose an extreme hardship are currently excused from jury service. This act makes them eligible to serve as jurors.

Certain individuals upon whom jury duty would cause undue or extreme physical or financial hardship or individuals with confirmed mental or physical conditions that causes them to incapable of performing jury service may be apply to be excused from jury duty for a period of up to 24 months. The act defines what constitutes "undue or extreme physical or financial hardship" and provides that the certain documentation must be filed and that a judge must make the determination. After 24 months, the person is again eligible for jury duty unless the judge decides that the person should be permanently excused.

POSTPONEMENT OF JURY SERVICE (Sections 494.431 and 494.450) - Individuals have the right to ask for a postponement of the date of initial appearance for jury duty. First requests shall be granted once the person provides the court with a new date within six months when such person shall appear for jury duty. A person who fails to appear for jury duty or who fails to obtain a postponement shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

DAYS OF JURY ATTENDANCE (Section 494.445) - Currently, after January 1, 2005, no person shall be required to attend court for more than two days unless selected for a jury panel. This act deletes the January 1, 2005 date and provides that a person shall not be required to attend court for more than one day unless selected for a jury panel.

USE OF EMPLOYEE LEAVE WHEN SERVING AS JUROR (Section 494.460) - Employees cannot be required to use annual, vacation or sick leave when taking time to serve as juror. This shall not require an employer to provide paid leave to an employee who is not otherwise entitled to such leave.

MOTION TO DISMISS IN STRATEGIC LITIGATION AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (Section 537.800) - This act grants early consideration of any action seeking money damages against a person for conduct or speech made in connection with a public hearing or meeting. All pending discovery shall be suspended pending a final decision on the motion. This act also mandates that if the rights of this section are used as an affirmative defense and the court grants a motion to dismiss on those grounds, reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the moving party will be awarded. If the court finds the motion to dismiss is frivolous, the court shall award costs and attorney fees to the prevailing party. If a party raises the motion under the provisions of this act, the party shall have the right to an expedited appeal.

SELECTION OF GRAND JURORS (Sections 540.011 and 540.021) - Names of grand jurors shall be chosen from the master jury list. Repeals the grand jury list.

UNIFORM LAW ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM RECORDS (Section 577.051) - The act modifies the types of case dispositions that must be reported.

Portions of this act are similar to SB 268, SB 591, SB 487, SB 498, SB 451, SB 682, SB 605, SB 6 and SB 464 (2003).