Idaho Supreme Court
Article V, section 6, of the Idaho Constitution provides for a Supreme Court of 5 Justices, to be elected at large, for a six year term.
Here are excerpts from the prepared remarks of Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout given to the 57th Session of the Idaho Legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003:
"We are accountable to you for our appropriation, but more importantly, we are accountable to you for the steps we have taken in the preceding year to make our court system responsive to the needs of the citizens of Idaho. This is even more critical at times like this when finances are stretched to the limit, and yet, at the same time, citizens demand that their cases be resolved quickly and efficiently, that criminals face immediate consequences and that courts provide leadership in addressing the larger issues challenging Idaho."
"I have spoken to you in the past about drug courts, and the successes we are seeing. We have drug courts operating in each of Idaho's seven judicial districts, with 30 total and 627 defendants under supervision statewide. These courts are generally the last alternative for criminal defendants who cannot or will not control their abuse of drugs. Drug use is so much a part of their daily existence, like eating a meal or watching television for us, that they simply cannot survive without the influence of illegal substances. They are defendants who, but for drug courts, would otherwise be housed in county jails and state penitentiary facilities for extended periods of time, at a tremendous financial cost to county and state government. At an estimated cost of $11.00 per day for drug court, it's not difficult to calculate the savings for those 627 people who are not incarcerated at a cost closer to $55.00 per day.
Every year I am so pleased and honored to be able to stand here before you and recount the many accomplishments of the judiciary in Idaho. Every year I have more examples of the new and innovative ways judges have found to address the myriad and seemingly insoluble problems coming before them, and I cannot thank the judges enough for their energy, enthusiasm, compassion and willingness to experiment and innovate. I also appreciate very much the support of Governor Kempthorne and all of you, because without that partnership between our three branches of government, these accomplishments would not be possible."
"Last year, I mentioned the drug court presided over by Seventh District Judge Brent Moss in Madison County. While he was seeing some successful graduates from his drug court, he was troubled by a few participants who were repeatedly on the brink of success and graduation, only to crash and fall back into their old habits of drug abuse. It became apparent that some drug court participants were not succeeding because they had far deeper problems than substance abuse: they were suffering from mental illness and were simply using the drugs to self-medicate in an effort to survive. When the drugs were removed, the mental illness became paramount and uncontrollable. After discussions and investigation, Idaho's first mental health court came into existence on Aug. 15, 2002. Mental health court is operated very much like a drug court, but the supervision is even more intensive for these criminal defendants diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness. Participants are monitored daily, some several times a day, to make sure they are taking their medications, and are meeting the other requirements of the court: attending treatment, maintaining a job, locating stable housing, staying off illegal substances.
I attended a staffing and court session in December and two of the participants I saw that day had been unsuccessful participants in Judge Moss' drug court. Today, they are both living productive lives and are off illegal drugs."
"Also as a result of your legislative policy and appropriation to increase access to the courts, most of the counties are now served by a court assistance officer who can answer questions and make referrals for those people coming into the court system not represented by an attorney. In some counties now, up to one-half of the divorce and custody cases are being filed by litigants without an attorney, and an even higher percentage of those responding to the cases are not represented. Last year, over 23,000 people were served by these offices statewide, and at a time when people are losing jobs and facing mounting fiscal and emotional burdens, we are very pleased with the response to the Court Assistance offices and hope to maintain these critical services.
Significant progress has also been made in efficiently handling an increasing number of court cases through the use of senior judges. Over the last five years, we've seen a 60 percent increase in the number of felony drug cases filed and a 30 percent increase in civil case filings, and yet, during that same time period, no new judicial positions have been added. This would not have been possible without the extensive use of retired senior judges."
"Suffice it to say, the judicial system in Idaho is innovative and continues to seek out efficient and cost-effective ways to resolve cases fairly and efficiently and serve our citizens."
complete text at:http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/legislature/story.asp?ID=29965