Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Eismann is giving his annual “State of the Judiciary” message to lawmakers today, first in the full House, then in the full Senate. In the House, he said, “In a word, the state of the Idaho judiciary is excellent.” The justice recounted how Idaho’s court system has grown from a system of disconnected and individualized courts in which some judges weren’t even trained in the law, into a “modern, streamlined judicial system,” thanks to legislative enactments. He noted two national awards received by Idaho’s judiciary in 2009, including an award for justice system innovation that recognized, among other items, the establishment of court assistance offices to help Idahoans understand how to resolve their legal disputes. Those offices now annually receive 50,000 requests for assistance. The state also received high recognition for its drug courts.
“In my experience, Idaho is unique in that all three branches of government have worked together effectively to address difficult issues,” Eismann told lawmakers. “National surveys indicate that the public expects this level of cooperation to solve societal problems. … We will work with you to devise solutions that will maintain that excellence in these tough economic times.”