Idaho Supreme Court Justice Warren Jones is still being treated at a Utah hospital after taking ill June 6, just before the court was to hear oral arguments in Twin Falls, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports this morning; Jones, 70, plans to return to Boise July 25, but his return to duty on the court has not been set. In his absence, retired Justice Jesse Walters has been filling in for Jones. That’s meant Walters had to listen to audio recordings of arguments in five cases heard in Twin Falls just after Jones became ill, to catch up and help decide them.
Popkey reports that former Justice Wayne Kidwell also is filling in, sitting on a sixth case argued in Twin Falls last month on which he’s been assigned to write the opinion, and handling two cases scheduled for argument in August.
Walters, who is now assigned a total of 20 cases, including two scheduled for argument July 29 and a dozen to be heard in August, told Popkey he’s been working mostly from home and going to the court about six hours a day, three days a week. “It wasn’t what we were planning to do this summer, but I’m available to help out,” he said. If necessary, he said, “I’m prepared to fill in for the rest of the year.” The nature of Jones’ illness hasn’t been disclosed. Court administrator Patti Tobias told Popkey, “We all expect a full recovery and we expect him back on the court.”
Jones, a native of Montpelier, was appointed to the court by Gov. Butch Otter in 2007 and won election to a full six-year term in 2008. Popkey’s full report is online here.