Idaho County Leaders Vote to Let Go of Public Defender Responsibilities
MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — County officials in Idaho have approved a resolution that would shift public defense responsibilities to the state.
Nearly 200 representatives from the state's 44 counties voted on the resolution Wednesday at the annual Idaho County Association conference. The resolution will now go before state lawmakers for approval when they convene in January for the 2015 Legislature. Under the proposal, the state would control and fund the public defender system.
However, the counties would continue to contribute $22 million that they already pay for the system. Legal experts have warned for several years that Idaho's public defense system is a potential target for lawsuits. A 2010 report found that Idaho's public defender's caseloads were too high and some defendants weren't meeting with their lawyers until they were in court.