Work Groups: 2001-2003

Judgments: 2003 Legislative Session

The Judgments Work Group worked on two projects that resulted in the Commission's recommendation of two bills to the 2003 Legislative Assembly: HB 2274 (Garnishments bill) and HB 2646 (Judgments bill).

Garnishment Links and Summary

The Work Group's Garnishment bill, HB 2274, is a bill that continues to clarify and simplify the garnishment process. The primary changes were technical corrections and procedural changes to further simplify the garnishment process. Additional changes continue the clarification process by eliminating ambiguities and unsettled areas of garnishment law as well as eliminating inconsistent terminology.

Judgment Links and Summary

The Judgments bill arose out of the myriad of problems that has arisen in the laws governing judgments and decrees. This large bill, some 350 pages, makes substantive law changes in the ORS, provides technical fixes, and makes a number of conforming amendments. The bill worked its way through the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, with the assistance of Rep. Max Williams, the Chair of the Work Group.

Highlights of the bill include the following:

  • The bill deletes obsolete terminology.
  • The bill provides statutory organization by combining and reorganizing ORS chapters and provisions.
  • The bill provides clarity on the definition of a judgment. The bill provides that the effect of the entry of judgment is that the judgment can be appealed and enforced.
  • The bill makes the distinctions between judgments and orders very clear.
  • The bill makes clear that judgments do not expire at the end of 10 years if not renewed, rather the ability to enforce the money award portion of a judgment expires.
  • The bill codifies present sheriff procedures for when a judgment creditor gives a writ of execution to the sheriff.
  • The bill requires that every judgment document (defined as a writing in the proper form that incorporates a court's judgment) indicate whether the judgment is a limited judgment, a general judgment, or a supplemental judgment. If the judgment document is intended to end the case at the trial court level, the title must tell the court and all of the parties that a general judgment is intended. If the judgment document will resolve less than all of the issues in the case, the title must indicate that the judgment is a limited judgment. Any judgment entered after the entry of a general judgment must be designated as a supplemental or a corrected judgment. The bill does have a safety net section regarding mislabeled judgments.
  • Judgment liens are defined in the bill as the effect of a judgment on real property in the county in which the judgment is entered and in any county in which the judgment is recorded. The existence of a separate money award in the judgment document will determine whether the judgment creates a lien. The bill clarifies that judgments with spousal or child support awards have no amount for which a lien may attach until the judgment debtor misses a payment.
  • The bill eliminates the requirement of ORCP 67B that certain wording appear in the judgment document to acquire an appealable judgment. Instead, the judge is charged with making the required determination (no just reason for delay) and by the act of signing a "limited judgment" attests to having made that determination.
  • The bill strips out the use of the label decree; the label of judgment should be used instead.
  • The bill provides that the judge renders a judgment, the judge signs a judgment document, and files the judgment document with the court administrator. The court administrator notes in the register that the document has been filed at which point the judgment is deemed entered.
  • The bill reverses the long-standing judicial rule that any claim not resolved by a decision of the trial court is presumed not to have been decided. Rather, a judgment document that is designated a general judgment resolves all remaining claims. Any claim not mentioned is dismissed with prejudice unless the claim was resolved by the entry of a limited judgment, a decision on the claim was made earlier and is incorporated into the general judgment, or the claim can be decided by a supplemental judgment.
  • The bill amends the provisions regarding the lien effect and length of time spousal support awards are enforceable.
  • The bill eliminates the requirement of an order of renewal from a judge (based upon motion for the renewal of a judgment) and instead requires that a certificate of extension be filed before the expiration of judgment remedies.

Juvenile Revision: 2003 Session

For the 2003 Legislative Session, the Juvenile Code Revision Work Group broke into six distinct juvenile law sub-work groups. Ultimately eight bills were completed and recommended by the Commission to the Legislative Assembly, of which seven were signed into law.

Sub-Work Groups

Continuing HB 2611 (2001)

Ted Meece, Chair

This Sub-Work Group was formed to address minor problems that arose from last session's HB 2611, a bill that created the rules for juvenile court procedure. The new rules provide a single set of procedural rules for use in juvenile dependency cases and in termination of parental rights proceedings. The rules are a consolidation of selected Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure and provisions of ORS Chapter 419B. This Sub-Work Group completed work on five bills:

Senate Bill 67

Senate Bill 67 was a fix-it bill from last session's HB 2611. The bill restores language to clearly permit telephone testimony in juvenile court proceedings under ORS 419B.

Senate Bill 68

Senate Bill 68 was a clean-up bill from last session's HB 2611. The bill eliminates cross-reference problems to repealed statutes.

Senate Bill 71

Senate Bill 71 permits return receipt service by mail without requiring a court order in dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings. Last session's HB 2611 unintentionally moved service by mail into the list of "alternative service" methods requiring a court order.

Senate Bill 72

Senate Bill 72 provides that ORS 419B.116 alone governs the process for intervening in a juvenile dependency proceeding and also clarifies and further develops the process for seeking rights of limited participation in juvenile court proceedings.

House Bill 2272

House Bill 2272 recognizes and incorporates the summons practices of all counties in the state for permanent guardianship and termination of parental rights cases. The bill requires a service of summons to appear for the first hearing and requires a written or oral order to inform the person of the next hearing(s).

Delinquency Procedures/Statutes

Kathie Osborn Berger, Chair Karen Andall, Vice-Chair Presently there are no procedural rules in the delinquency section of the Juvenile Code. Instead, the Oregon Revised Statutes incorporate rules of criminal procedure in the juvenile code by reference back to the criminal code; there are some rules of criminal procedure that have not been incorporated in the juvenile code, even though the rules are routinely followed in juvenile courts. This Sub-Work Group hopes to clear up the confusion and make rules of procedure for juvenile delinquency actions less difficult for the bench, bar, and non-lawyers to follow. The Sub-Work Group will continue work on this project with a view to 2005.

Expunction Statute

Amy Holmes Hehn, Chair Ingrid Swenson, Vice-Chair/Reporter Present juvenile expunction statutes (ORS 419A.260-419A.262) are confusing to the bench and bar. Additionally, there are statutes in the criminal code which refer to the juvenile expunction statutes, but there is no mention in the juvenile expunction statutes of the criminal code. Considering that many juvenile court expunctions are handled pro se, this Sub-Work Group is considering restructuring the statutes so they are complete and more logical. The Sub-Work Group does not plan to focus on policy changes, instead striving to make the provisions easier to understand. They will continue work in the interim, looking to 2005.

Juvenile Code Word Usage

Timothy Travis, Chair Linda Guss, Vice-Chair This Sub-Work Group surveyed the entire Juvenile Code to develop a consistent framework of word usage. The present juvenile code has been written and rewritten over the past fifty years. During that time, several different sets of values guided the public policy expressed in the code; terms of art were left behind that with time have changed. Confusion has resulted and this Group cleaned up the confusion. For example, words like "custody," "jurisdiction," "wardship," "disposition," and "adjudication" now have different meanings in different contexts. Usage of words like "child," "youth," "youth offender," and "ward" also were cleaned up.

Among other things, Senate Bill 69 amends ORS 419A, 419B and 419C, to provide consistent definitions for child, children, youth and youth offender. The bill also amends ORS 419B.806 to clarify that consolidation of juvenile court cases is required for both pending cases and cases filed after the juvenile court has jurisdiction.

Juvenile Court Guardianship

Lisa Ann Kay, Chair Timothy Travis, Vice-Chair Oregon's Juvenile Code presently does not provide for a clear permanent "juvenile court guardianship" when return of a child to the parents is not possible. Courts sometimes use various provisions in ORS Chapters 419A, 419B, and 419C to create a guardianship, but those provisions were never intended for anything more than a temporary guardianship. The lack of procedures to create such guardianships or govern them after creation makes them unsuitable for permanent guardianship - an option of necessity for many children in Oregon. This Sub-Work Group completed a bill to create a permanent guardianship statutory scheme.

Juvenile PSRB

Mary Claire Buckley, Chair Although juveniles have a right to raise a mental disease and defect defense in a delinquency proceeding, presently Oregon has no procedure to follow if the defense is successfully raised. This Sub-Work Group completed a bill that used a Juvenile Psychiatric Security Review Board as a model for creating new procedures for raising the defense. The Sub-Work Group looked at federal provisions for funding ideas and to other states for models when drafting the bill. Presently courts either amend the delinquency petition to a dependency petition and put the youth in the custody of SCF or use ORS 419C.507 to try to fashion a remedy. The Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) has acknowledged that it is ill-equipped to treat youth offenders with severe mental illnesses, even though the number of those youth in the OYA close custody sytem has been increasing. Due to the fiscal impact of this bill, the bill remained in committee upon adjournment of the 2003 Legislative Session. The Sub-Work Group will continue to tweak the bill during the interim and seek to advance the bill in 2005.