Law & Justice

A southwest Idaho man police say quit breathing while being restrained by officers has died.

Authorities tell the Idaho Statesman that 23-year-old Allen Hernandez of Homedale died Tuesday.

Authorities say Hernandez got into a car crash on Sunday morning and asked to use the phone at a residence a quarter-mile away.

Police say he called 911 and said he wanted to go home before hanging up and getting into a fight with three residents.

Michael Galkovsky / Flickr Creative Commons

The ACLU of Idaho is suing the state over its public defense system. Public defenders represent people accused of crimes who can’t afford a lawyer, a principle enshrined in the constitution.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

  The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state of Idaho over its patchwork public defense system.

The civil rights group contends that state officials have known for at least five years that high case loads, low budgets and a system that changes from county to county means that low-income defendants aren't being fairly represented in court.

The ACLU has brought similar lawsuits in several other states, reaching settlements in Washington, New York and elsewhere.

It’s a lawsuit that’s been going on since 1980 and it may finally be resolved. Known as the “Jeff D.” lawsuit, it focuses on children’s mental health services in Idaho.

Despite repeated attempts to resolve the 35-year-old case, it keeps coming back. At the core of the issue is Idaho’s system for providing care to kids with mental health problems. The plaintiffs says the state isn’t doing enough for those kids.

A jailed Nampa man accused of kidnapping and beating his ex-girlfriend now faces a new round of charges after he sent letters from jail asking people he knew to convince the victim to drop her allegations.

The Idaho Statesman reports 34-year-old Arturo Mendoza has been in Canyon County jail since February and is now charged with three counts of criminal solicitation to commit a crime.

Mendoza admitted he wrote the letters but denied any intent to threaten or contact the alleged victim.

Fazliddin Kurbanov Sketch
Ward Hooper / Idaho Statesman

Prosecutors are asking a federal judge in Idaho to shield the identities of two witnesses in the trial of an Uzbek man charged with helping a terrorist organization.

The Idaho Statesman reports that prosecutors argue the measure is needed because the witnesses are informants in ongoing cases.

If their request is denied, prosecutors want the courtroom to be closed to the public during the witnesses' testimony.

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the Coeur d'Alene Tribe is going after the wrong guy in their legal fight over instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court last week contending that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto of legislation banning the betting machines is invalid because he didn't complete it within the required five-day time span. The tribe asked the high court to force Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to certify the legislation as law.

daniel / Flickr

This week, we’re going behind the scenes of Idaho’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). Since 2008, the unit has made 237 arrests in Idaho. The yearly numbers have remained fairly steady for several years, hovering between 30 and 40.

Across the country, ICAC units have seen a consistent increase in the number of people arrested for crimes against children since 2000.

Utility, Inc. / Flickr

Officers with the Twin Falls Police Department will soon begin wearing body cameras.

The Times-News reports that city officials approved applying for a federal grant on Monday to help cover the cost of buying 55 body cameras.

Police Capt. Anthony Barnhart says uniformed officers and narcotics detectives will wear cameras either attached to their uniforms or glasses.

All officers will continue wearing audio recording devices.

Yannick Meyer / Flickr

Do you know what your kids are doing online? That’s the question Tim Brady asks when he talks about his work protecting children from internet predators. After nine years shielding kids, this Boise Police detective has some advice for parents when it comes to the Internet and safety.

A man convicted of burning down two churches has been sentenced to 85 years to life in prison.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports Bradley Thomasson was sentenced Monday after a jury convicted the Emmett resident in March of the arson of the Community Bible Church and First Baptist Church in April 2013. Thomasson was 41 at the time of the crime.

Both churches had been significantly damaged by water, smoke and heat. Damage costs totaled more than $2 million. No one had been injured in the incidents.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

This story includes graphic descriptions and language that may not be suitable for young audiences; some may find this content offensive.

Police Detective Tim Brady sits at his desk, surrounded by computer screens. He flips on a monitor and an instant-chat session is on the screen, this one recorded a few years ago. It is one of thousands of hours the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children unit, (ICAC) has spent online.

“Within less than a minute I’m bombarded with all these people that think they’re speaking with a 13-year-old girl,” Brady says.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Concordia University's new Boise law school has been given provisional approval from the American Bar Association after nearly a yearlong delay.

The approval announced Monday means that students graduating from the law school will be eligible to take the bar exam in most states — a step that is required for those who want to become licensed practicing attorneys.

Idaho National Guard

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who left his post in Afghanistan and was held by the Taliban for five years, is asking a military appellate court to disqualify the general with broad discretion in his case.

Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, says Bergdahl filed the request Friday in the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Washington.

Bergdahl wants the court to disqualify Gen. Mark Milley because he has a personal interest in being confirmed as the next Army chief of staff.

There are more delays in the case of an Idaho man who is charged in last month's fatal shooting of a Coeur d'Alene police officer.

First District Magistrate Barry Watson said Friday he will reschedule the preliminary hearing for Jonathan Daniel Renfro for July 22.

Renfro is charged in the shooting of Police Sgt. Greg Moore.

The Spokesman-Review says the judge also pushed back to June 24 a hearing on several motions in the case. He had been scheduled to hear those motions Friday.

Jimmy Emerson DVM / Flickr Creative Commons

The Intermountain Fair Housing Council (IFHC) is investigating alleged discrimination by Pocatello landlords. An article last month in the Idaho State Journal newspaper quoted multiple Pocatello landlords saying they charge higher deposits and advanced rent to Idaho State University students from Middle Eastern countries.

Nicole Mays / Flickr

Federal investigators say that a Tennessee man and his family raised millions of dollars  for cancer patients, then spent the money on cars, luxury cruises, college tuition and to employ family members with six-figure salaries.

Officials say it's one of the largest charity fraud cases ever and involves all 50 states.

More than 13,000 businesses as well as state and local governments have received a portion of $35 million following the settlement of a class-action lawsuit.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the entities recently received the money after the Idaho Insurance Fund settled the lawsuit that focused on dividends.

The fund paid dividends to policy holders on a prorated basis, but plaintiffs said state law required the fund to pay equal dividends to policy holders.

The fund provides workers compensation insurance.

A judge has entered a not guilty plea for a 22-year-old Idaho man charged with killing a former Arizona power company executive, his wife and their adult son at a Boise home.

Adam Dees of Nampa appeared Thursday in 4th District Court but declined to enter a plea.

He's charged with three counts of first-degree murder as well as robbery and other crimes.

Prosecutors allege Dees killed 80-year-old Theodore M. Welp, 77-year-old Delores Elaine Welp, and 52-year-old Thomas P. Welp on March 8 or 9.

A Boise State University student is suing school officials in federal court because he contends they discriminated against him by refusing to give him a meningitis vaccine designed for younger adults.

Christopher Burdge doesn't list his age in the lawsuit but states that he is older than 55. Burdge contends that he tried to take part in a free campus vaccination event held last year, but that BSU medical staffers refused to give him the meningitis vaccine because it was designed for people under age 55.

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