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Eye On Boise

Fri., Sept. 11, 2009, 11:46 a.m.

Otter appoints two new district judges

Gov. Butch Otter named Caldwell attorney Susan Wiebe as a 3rd District judge today, and picked  Bannock County Magistrate Judge Robert Naftz of Pocatello for a 6th District judgeship. Weibe succeeds retiring 3rd District Judge Stephen Drescher, and Naftz succeeds retiring 6th District Judge Peter McDermott. You can click below to read Otter's full press release on the appointments.

The candidates for the judgeships were screened by the Idaho Judicial Council, which selected three finalists, two lawyers and a magistrate judge, for the 3rd District position from among four applicants; and four finalists for the 6th District position from among eight applicants, seven lawyers and one magistrate judge. The Judicial Council, which screens and recommends potential new judges to the governor, is busy these days. The council is mulling eight applications for the 1st District judgeship that'll be vacated by the retirement of Judge Charles Hosack in Kootenai County, and nine for the 5th District judge opening created by the pending retirement of Judge Barry Wood. Plus, it's taking applications through Sept. 28 for another 5th District judge opening in Minidoka County, created by Otter's appointment of 5th District John John Melanson to the Court of Appeals, effective Sept. 30.

Judges are elected in Idaho, but most leave office before the end of their terms, in which case the Idaho Judicial Council screens candidates and the governor appoints the new judge, who then can run for re-election as an incumbent at the end of his or her term on the bench.

    (BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter appointed Caldwell attorney Susan Wiebe to fill a judgeship in the Third Judicial District today, and elevated Bannock County Magistrate Robert Naftz of Pocatello to a Sixth District judgeship.

    Wiebe, 47, is a North Carolina native with a bachelor’s degree from Boise State University and a law degree from the University of Idaho. She worked for the Boundary County Prosecutor in Bonners Ferry, the Coeur d’Alene City Attorney, the Kootenai County Prosecutor in Coeur d’Alene and as a deputy attorney general before going into private practice in Boise and later Caldwell.

    “I accept this appointment with a profound sense of humility and a keen awareness of the tremendous responsibility that being a district judge entails,” said Wiebe, who succeeds retiring Judge Stephen Drescher. “I eagerly look forward to meeting and working with all of the court staff in the Third Judicial District.”

    Naftz, 47, is a Colorado native with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and a law degree from the University of Idaho. He was in private practice until going to work as a deputy attorney general in 2000, and was appointed a Bannock County magistrate in 2004.  

    “I have been fortunate to serve the citizens of the state of Idaho as a magistrate, and I am equally privileged and honored that Governor Otter has the confidence in me to serve as a district judge,” said Naftz, who succeeds retiring Judge Peter McDermott.

    “It speaks volumes about the quality of our people that we have such well-qualified and civic-minded individuals willing to serve Idaho’s citizens as judges,” Governor Otter said. “I’m confident that our new Third and Sixth District judges will dispense justice wisely and well, and will make us all proud to live here in Idaho.”  

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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