Idaho Legislative Committee Kills Counties' Resolution

Nov 24, 2014

Sen. Dean Mortimer
Credit Idaho Legislature

Lawmakers on a committee charged with improving Idaho's broken public defense system have killed a resolution that would have given the state full responsibly for assigning attorneys to indigent defenders.

Earlier this year, representatives from the state's 44 counties voted that Idaho should manage the public defense system. However, members of the Legislature's Public Defense Reform Interim Committee at a meeting Monday agreed that counties should remain in control.

According to committee member and Republican state Sen. Dean Mortimer, county officials have local expertise to best address the system.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and other legal experts have warned lawmakers since 2010 that Idaho's public defense system is a potential target for lawsuits.

The Idaho Association of Counties says the resolution won't be presented again.