Law & Justice

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Jack works undercover, buying drugs from Boise dealers. He is a Boise Police Department detective, and he's seeing a troubling increase in the number of people overdosing on synthetic drugs.

BPD has found that these new man-made chemicals are replacing better known street drugs, like ecstasy or LSD. And officers are worried that users are being duped into taking the more potent synthetics.

The Idaho Court of Appeals has vacated a black man's sex crime convictions against two white female teenagers because the prosecutor interjected race in closing arguments by quoting lyrics from the Confederate anthem "Dixie."

All three judges agreed that Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin erred in citing a song praising what the judges called pernicious racism, and that it might have influenced the jury.

The Pentagon has forwarded its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance from an Afghan outpost to a general courts-martial convening authority, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

Bergdahl is the U.S. soldier who was held for five years by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The U.S. gained his freedom in May by trading him for five jailed Taliban.

The Pentagon spokesman said today that action against Bergdahl could range from no further action to convening a court martial.

A closely watched court case dealing with whether religious business-owners must provide services to gay couples is headed to oral arguments Friday in Kennewick, Washington.

Russell Heistuman / Flickr Creative Commons

The Coeur d'Alene City Council says guns will now permitted at public events like parades.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the council unanimously made the change Tuesday night, changing an ordinance prohibited guns within 1,000 feet of a parade. City Attorney Mike Gridley says the rule was originally created to avoid conflict in the community when the white supremacist group Aryan Nations was still headquartered in the region. The Aryan Nations compound closed after lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center bankrupted the group in 2000.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are looking for people interested in becoming Idaho's next federal district judge.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge is taking senior status, a semi-retirement in which he will continue to serve the court but his caseload will be reduced. The move means that Idaho could soon have its first new federal judge appointed since 1995, when current U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill took the bench.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A group of Idaho lawmakers tapped to look at ways to improve the state's criminal justice system will meet this week to talk about when their legislative efforts will go into effect.

The Criminal Justice Reinvestment Interim Committee will meet Wednesday at the Idaho Statehouse. They'll hear from staffers with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, and they'll discuss when the criminal justice legislation they passed last year will go into effect.

Luke Malek
Idaho Legislature

A federal appeals court in Seattle hears arguments Monday in a challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) practice of gathering phone records of millions of people not suspected of crimes. North Idaho lawyer Peter Smith will be arguing for the plaintiff, who is his wife.

Idaho Dept. of Correction

The Idaho Board of Correction has appointed Kevin Kempf as the new director of prisons one week after his predecessor, Brent Reinke, gave his resignation notice.

The board made the appointment during a special meeting Wednesday, but the choice wasn't a surprise. Kempf has been with the department for 19 years and has served as the deputy director since 2013. That position was created by the board after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he wanted all of his state agencies to have a succession plan in place in case of an unexpected departure.

Idaho State Police say troopers have issued more speeding tickets since the speed limit increased to 80 mph along stretches of Interstate 84.

Spokeswoman Teresa Baker says state police wrote 2,066 speeding tickets on I-84 between July 24 and Nov. 13. That's up nearly 20 percent from the same period in 2013 when 1,731 speeding tickets were issued.

Speed limits on some rural stretches of interstates 84, 86 and 15 rose from 75 mph to 80.

Officials in the south-central Idaho city of Filer have agreed to a $35,000 settlement after a police officer shot and killed a resident's dog.

An attorney for the city's insurance company tells The Times-News in a story on Wednesday that Rick Clubb will receive the money as part of a negotiated settlement.

Officer Tarek Hassani on Feb. 8 responded to a report of dogs running lose.

A northern Idaho man who carried a concealed weapon into a dormitory at Lewis-Clark State College is facing charges.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that 19-year-old Wesley S. Bowler of Harpster is charged with carrying a concealed weapon without permit.

Bowler, who is not a student, was taken into custody at the dormitory on Wednesday and police seized a Kel-Tec P-11 pistol with a loaded magazine.

Bowler was taken to the Nez Perce County Jail and released after paying $300 of his bond amount.

Tim Hagen / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho resort towns like Coeur d’Alene, Sun Valley and McCall had higher crime rates than most of the state’s other towns and cities according to the FBI’s annual report of crime stats released this week.

Kevin Wolff, who teaches criminal justice at John Jay College in New York, says many resort towns are in the same boat.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Con artists are giving new life to an old scam. The Boise Police Department is warning Treasure Valley residents to avoid becoming victims.

The Boise Police Department says scammers are using fear and the threat of arrest to get victims to part with their money. BPD first reported on a version of this scam last November.  Now they say scammers have escalated their efforts to con people out of money.

Here's how the scam works:

Fazliddin Kurbanov Sketch
Ward Hooper / Idaho Statesman

Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah want a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying federal budget cuts have left their office with too few resources.  

Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, has pleaded not guilty to charges involving teaching people to build bombs.

Court-appointed attorneys Richard Rubin and Thomas Monaghan, of Federal Defenders Services of Idaho, are seeking appointment of new counsel.

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