Before the Presiding Judges of the Administrative Judicial Regions
Per Curiam Rule 12 Decision
APPEAL NO.: 00-006
RESPONDENT: Associate Judge Patricia A. Macias
DATE: October 25, 2000
SPECIAL COMMITTEE: Judge John Ovard, Judge B. B. Schraub, Judge Olen Underwood, Judge Darrell Hester, Judge Jeff Walker
Judge Macias provided information from July 12, 2000 to the present, but gave no explanation of the limitation of documents to a three-month period of time rather than the four years requested. When questioned about this by the applicant, Judge Macias's court coordinator wrote a letter which provided in its entirety as follows:
"We are in receipt of your letter dated today, October 2, 2000. The information provided to you is complete."
The applicant requested clarification as to whether there were no visiting judges before July 12 of this year; or whether there were such records, but Judge Macias did not have them. The court coordinator wrote a letter which provided in its entirety as follows:
"We are in receipt of your letter dated October 3, 2000. The information provided to you on October 2, 2000 is complete."
The applicant filed a petition for review, and asked that it be expedited because the respondent is a candidate for election to the district court bench in the November 7, 2000 election. We granted the application for expedited review. Judge Macias responded to the petition by stating that she had provided all documents in her possession to the applicant, and that the statute does not require the creation of records to satisfy a Rule 12 request.
Rule 12.6(f) establishes the required course of conduct for a judge who is not the custodian of the requested records:
"(f) Recipient of Request not Custodian of Record. A judicial officer or a presiding officer of a judicial agency who receives a request for a judicial record not in his or her custody as defined by this rule must promptly attempt to ascertain who the custodian of the record is. If the recipient of the request can ascertain who the custodian of the requested record is, the recipient must promptly refer the request to that person and notify the requestor in writing of the referral. . . . If the recipient cannot ascertain who the custodian of the requested record is, the recipient must promptly notify the requestor in writing that the recipient is not the custodian of the record and cannot ascertain who the custodian of the record is."
The applicant requests that this committee take appropriate measures under Rule 12.10 to avoid future violations of the rule. Rule 12.10 provides that a records custodian who fails to comply with Rule 12, knowing that the failure to comply is in violation of the rule, is subject to sanctions under the Code of Judicial Conduct. This committee cannot enforce the Code; that is the function of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Because Judge Macias had no additional records that are responsive to the request, then she did not deny access, so we can neither grant the petition nor sustain the alleged denial of access. We find that the responses to the request did not comply with Rule 12.6(f), but we are confident that Judge Macias will promptly correct this failure to comply.