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Eye on Boise: Supreme Court to hear Leavitt before execution

Sun., June 3, 2012

BOISE – The Idaho Supreme Court has set oral arguments for Monday at 3 p.m. on a series of last-minute issues raised by condemned murderer Richard Leavitt, who is scheduled to be executed June 12.

Late last week, the high court dismissed a major filing by Leavitt’s attorneys, a petition to vacate the death warrant and conduct a new hearing. The remaining issues, including a notice of appeal first filed May 21 in Bingham County, will be argued on Monday.

Leavitt’s death warrant was issued May 17 for the July 1984 murder and mutilation of Danette Elg in Blackfoot; his final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected on May 14. Idaho completed its first execution in 17 years in November, putting triple murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades to death by lethal injection.

Wolf pup find brings warning

After some out-of-town campers outside Ketchum picked up what they thought was a lost puppy but turned out to be a wolf, Idaho Fish and Game officials are warning people to leave young animals in the wild alone.

“In the case of the pup, it is possible that the pack was moving with the pups – perhaps from a den to a rendezvous site – and may have been disturbed by traffic on the road,” Fish and Game said in a news release.

The campers sat in their vehicle, with the engine running, watching the pup for an hour before scooping it up and taking it to veterinary clinic in Ketchum. A technician at the clinic recognized it as a wolf and contacted authorities.

Idaho Fish and Game officials spent three days looking for a wolf pack near where the pup was found, but without success.

The pup was taken to the Boise city zoo, which is temporarily housing it while it awaits DNA testing to determine if it’s a wolf, a wolf hybrid or something else; Fish and Game said the pup was “not in the best physical condition and needs veterinary care.”

Redistricters honored

All six members of Idaho’s second bipartisan reapportionment commission that this year successfully drew new legislative and congressional district lines are being honored with the Dottie & Ed Stimpson Award for Civic Engagement by the City Club of Boise.

In bestowing the award, the club noted that the previous bipartisan commission “broke down amidst intense partisan and regional discord,” but the second commission quickly reached agreement, and then, when its first effort was struck down in court, even more quickly settled on new district lines that passed legal muster.

“Their efforts represent civic engagement at its best,” the City Club declared in its invitation to the award ceremony and celebration, which is set for Wednesday.

The commission’s six members are Democrats Ron Beitelspacher, Shauneen Grange and Elmer Martinez, and Republicans Dolores Crow, Randy Hansen and Sheila Olsen.

Hot springs restricted

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has ordered Skinny Dipper Hot Springs in Boise County closed to all recreational use from sunset to sunrise, allowing only daytime use of the hot springs along the Banks-Lowman Highway along with the parking lot and access trail.

“The closure will help provide for public safety,” the agency announced. “Since 2004, there have been several fatalities, assaults and numerous injuries associated with night-time use of the area.”

Otter declares Kramer Day

On Friday, Gov. Butch Otter issued an official proclamation declaring the day to be “Jerry Kramer Hall of Fame Day,” in honor of the NFL great and Sandpoint High School grad. There’s a push on to get Kramer nominated and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; it’s been endorsed by 16 current NFL Hall of Fame members, many of whom played against Kramer, including Roger Staubach, Frank Gifford and Alan Page.

Kramer played for the Green Bay Packers for 11 seasons; led the NFL in scoring as a kicker; was a member of five championship teams including the first two Super Bowl teams; and is the author of the book “Instant Replay,” his best-selling first-person account of life in the NFL. He’s also a graduate of the University of Idaho.

The governor’s proclamation says Kramer’s NFL career “clearly qualifies him to be selected for recognition among the elite of professional football and inclusion in the Hall of Fame, and thousands of Idahoans and more Kramer fans across the nation endorse his selection.”

Kramer, 76, now lives in Boise.

Reporter Betsy Z. Russell can be reached at or (208) 336-2854. Follow the Eye on Boise blog at

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