Idaho Bill Would Reduce Charges to Help Public Defenders
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In an effort to cut down on the use of public defenders in Idaho, a legislative panel introduced several bills that would change some misdemeanor charges to lesser infractions.
Republican Rep. Lynn Luker says the bills also try to match an appropriate penalty for the crimes. Most misdemeanor charges include potential jail time, which means that the judge must appoint a public defender. Lawmakers have been trying to fix Idaho's patchwork public defender system for years.
A report from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in 2010 found that public defenders' caseloads are too high and some defendants didn't meet their lawyers until entering the courtroom. The laws under consideration for reclassification include juvenile curfews, littering on highways, some fireworks violations and some fishing and hunting violations.