The ACLU of Idaho has been working on establishing a constitutional public defender system in Idaho. We appreciate the hard work that existing public defenders have done in our state, but they are being asked to operate under unmanageable caseloads with limited resources in an unconstitutional system. As the front line defenders of justice in our state, they deserve, and the constitution demands, better.
We recently learned that Idaho’s counties strongly support the creation of a unified, statewide trial level public defense system. A recent resolution from the Association of Idaho Counties indicated that the counties only involvement will consist of continued funding in an amount not to exceed the current level of approximately $22 million with additional funding to be provided by the State of Idaho of $10 million or more. The counties also recognized the delivery of public defense – as required by the Constitution - is a state, not a county, responsibility.
You can read the resolution here: IAC-Public-Defender-Resolution-2014-01.pdf