Emergency Surcharge Fails to Meet Court’s Funding Gap
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Officials with the Idaho Supreme Court say the state's emergency solution to fill a $4 million funding gap for Idaho's court system has come up short.
Retired Justice Linda Copple Trout says the emergency surcharges placed on some criminal and traffic cases in 2010 have failed to meet the projected annual $4 million for the state's drug, mental health and family courts. Furthermore, the short-term funding solution for sustaining court operations is now being used to pay the salaries of senior judges, trial court administrators and various personnel.
Trout says this means the system now allows senior judges to assign the fees that pay their salaries, a potential conflict of interest. Idaho lawmakers approved increasing fees to infractions, misdemeanors and felonies after slashing the state's judicial branch budget during the economic downturn.