Commission for Public Defense Asks Lawmakers to Prioritize
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new commission tasked with overseeing improvements to Idaho's broken public defense system is asking lawmakers to prioritize where the work should begin.
Third District Judge Molly Huskey, who sits on the newly created Public Defense Commission, asked a group of lawmakers Thursday to prioritize whether they wanted the commission to be ready with recommendations on the minimum qualifications that public defenders should hold or the contract terms that counties should use when contracting with public defenders.
Legal experts have warned for years that the state's patchwork system for providing criminal defense attorneys to poor residents doesn't meet constitutional fair trial standards. Huskey says the commission can come up with strong recommendations for either minimum attorney standard or for needed contract terms but likely can't complete both before January.