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The (Idaho Supreme Court) has never insisted on a remedy, however. It’s the equivalent of having a judge rule that the other side was wrong in a personal injury lawsuit and then allow them to leave without cutting you a check. The attorney for those schools (in their long-standing lawsuit), former Justice Robert Huntley of Boise, says he was told that the case was “over” and that the court had no intention of moving ahead. Taking the case to the federal courts didn’t resolve the matter. Burdick says the case remains open. … But Huntley, who donated huge sums of money and time to this cause, has run out of both. So there it sits. Nearly two decades of court battles and a Supreme Court ruling that says the state constitution is being violated. Noble words. No deeds/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you agree w/Marty Trillhaase that Judge John Bradbury is right and Justice Roger Burdick is wrong re: how the Idaho Supreme Court handled the long-running schools lawsuit?
What’s the difference between North Idaho and southern Idaho? Well, there’s that whole water thing. This is Lake Coeur d’Alene this morning, amid country that’s so different from the arid south. And then there’s the wild GOP politics in Kootenai County, where the once heavily Democratic region is now heavily Republican, particularly in fast-growing areas like Hayden and Post Falls that are filling up with newcomers who never saw the old North Idaho Democratic politics. In these parts, there are the Republicans, the Reagan Republicans, the Pachyderm Clubs, the social conservatives, the libertarians, the constitutionalists and a whole lot more.
North Idaho’s hottest legislative race this spring features four Republicans vying for an open District 3 House seat; no Democrat’s even running. l have an overview of North Idaho’s contested legislative primary races this weekend in my Sunday column.
Here’s a press release from former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robert Huntley (pictured), who says he’s generally refrained from involvement in judicial elections, but since a sitting justice and a former justice have spoken out for Burdick over Bradbury and a state Bar poll that Huntley faults as “scientifically and statistically unsound” has ranked Burdick higher, “Having knowledge of Judge Bradbury’s qualifications, it is my duty to speak out. Having practiced before Judge Bradbury and having known him for a number of years, I respect him as one of Idaho’s most outstanding judges”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Does it mean anything to you that the plaintiffs’ attorney (and former Supreme Court justice) in the old schools lawsuit prefers Judge John Bradbury over Justice Roger Burdick in their Supreme Court race?
There’s more and more buzz about this year’s contested Idaho Supreme Court race in the wake of this week’s lively debate between incumbent Justice Roger Burdick and challenger Judge John Bradbury. Here’s a press release from former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robert Huntley, who says he’s generally refrained from involvement in judicial elections, but since a sitting justice and a former justice have spoken out for Burdick over Bradbury and a state Bar poll that Huntley faults as “scientifically and statistically unsound” has ranked Burdick higher, “Having knowledge of Judge Bradbury’s qualifications, it is my duty to speak out. Having practiced before Judge Bradbury and having known him for a number of years, I respect him as one of Idaho’s most outstanding judges.”
Meanwhile, state Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, has sent out a statement lauding Burdick over Bradbury, and criticizing Bradbury’s statements in the debate about the state’s school facilities lawsuit. “Judge Bradbury’s argument seems to me to be an interventionist and activist interpretation (ie, get more money to the schools) of what should be the rule of law in Idaho and a clear violation of the separation of powers of our Idaho Constitution,” Hartgen wrote.
The May 25 vote on the Supreme Court race is the final vote in the nonpartisan race, though it takes place during the primary election; you can watch the debate online here.
At one point, Burdick disputed Bradbury’s statement that the state’s
school facilities lawsuit ended when lawyers were called to a meeting
in the Supreme Court’s basement and told “it’s over,” without any
written order or decision - and despite an earlier ruling that the
state’s school funding system is unconstitutional. “It is abject
malarkey and nonsense,” Burdick said, adding that the basement meeting
was a scheduling conference on another, related case. “I’m not going to
say it’s a lie, but it’s darn close to it,” Burdick said. Bradbury responded, “If you want to know what happened in the basement
of the Supreme Court, talk to the players who were there.” His
description matches that given at the time by former Idaho Supreme Court
Justice Robert Huntley, attorney for a group of school districts that
sued over the the state’s system for funding school construction, and
Deputy Attorney General Michael Gilmore/Betsy Russell, SR. More here. (SR Photo/Betsy Russell: Judge John Bradbury, left, and Roger Burdick)
Question: Do you believe the Idaho Supreme Court handled properly the conclusion to a long-running lawsuit in which dozens of school districts tried to force the Legislature to properly fund education?
Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on tonight’s Idaho Supreme Court debate, which was the first of the “Idaho Debates” to take place in front of a live audience, as well as being broadcast live statewide on Idaho Public Television. The debates are sponsored by the Idaho Press Club, the Idaho League of Women Voters and an array of media sponsors; the next debate is between 2nd Congressional District GOP candidates on Sunday night, followed by 1st District GOP candidates who are locked in a hot primary contest on May 11th.
Things got pretty heated during tonight’s Idaho Supreme Court debate. At one point, Justice Roger Burdick disputed Judge John Bradbury’s statement that the state school facilities lawsuit ended when lawyers were called to a basement meeting and told “it’s over,” without any written order or decision - and despite an earlier ruling that the state’s school funding system is unconstitutional. “It is abject malarkey and nonsense,” Burdick said, adding that the basement meeting was a scheduling conference on another, related case. “I’m not going to say it’s a lie, but it’s darn close to it,” Burdick said. “The Idaho state Legislature are the people who in fact fund the schools. The Supreme Court of Idaho cannot. It is up to the Legislature. The parties who brought this lawsuit in the first case could bring this lawsuit again tomorrow if they wish - this case is not over. We indicated we retained jurisdiction.” Bradbury responded, “If you want to know what happened in the basement of the Supreme Court, talk to the players who were there.”
Another clash came after Bradbury commented, “As to Justice Jones, I sometimes wonder who I’m running against.” Justice Jim Jones, who is running unopposed for re-election, has issued statements on behalf of the court challenging some of Bradbury’s claims about the state’s judicial system, and responded for Burdick to a letter he received from a citizen. Burdick said, “I’m not going to bridle anyone’s First Amendment rights to answer or to in some way respond to Judge Bradbury. … As concerns this letter, … I was up campaigning. … It was a legal inquiry. Little did I know that it was from a political operative of Judge Bradbury’s. … Little did I know that it was going to be used for some nefarious reason later on in this campaign.”
Among issues on which the two Supreme Court candidates have sparred so far: The newly released Idaho State Bar poll and its high rankings for Burdick and low rankings for Bradbury; what happened in the school facilities lawsuit, which Bradbury dubbed “the darkest day in the history of the Supreme Court in Idaho” and Burdick defended, saying, “The court acted consistently with the Idaho state constitution as it has continued to do since I have been on it;” and whether reformer Bradbury could get along with his colleagues should he be elected to a court he’s twice sued and has strongly criticized. “After I was elected (district judge), you will not find a lawyer in my district that will tell you there is even a hint of animosity,” Bradbury declared, though he ran on a reform platform there. Burdick responded, “The bar survey certainly doesn’t indicate what he has said - I beat him in every category in his own district, and in every category in his district he went down since the 2008 survey.”
There’s a pretty good crowd assembled for tonight’s Idaho Supreme Court candidates debate, the first of the “Idaho Debates” to take place before a live audience as well as being broadcast live statewide on Idaho Public Television. It’s being held in the new Capitol Auditorium. The debate is just beginning now.
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick, left, and Lewiston Judge John Bradbury, center, prepare for the coin toss before their live debate tonight on statewide television, as Idaho Public TV’s Bruce Reichert explains the rules. Burdick won the toss and chose to go second in the opening question and closing comments. The debate begins at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific. Bradbury is challenging incumbent Justice Burdick’s bid for another term on the court; Burdick, a former public defender, county prosecutor, magistrate judge, and district judge before his appointment to the court, has stood for election seven times and this is the first time he’s been opposed. Bradbury is making his second bid for the high court, after losing narrowly two years ago to Justice Joel Horton.
The new member survey from the Idaho State Bar ranking the candidates in the contested race for the Idaho Supreme Court is out today, and it gives incumbent Justice Roger Burdick considerably higher rankings than his challenger, Judge John Bradbury. However, nearly half the respondents said they did not know Bradbury well enough to rank him, twice as many as said they weren’t familiar with Burdick. The candidates were ranked on such measures as knowledge and understanding of the law and judicial temperament and demeanor; you can see the full results here.
Tonight is the night that Burdick and Bradbury will face off in a debate to be broadcast live statewide on Idaho Public Television; members of the public can attend the debate, with 130 seats available in the Capitol Auditorium, located in the new underground west wing of the state Capitol, on a first-come, first-served basis. The doors will open tonight at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. (Mountain time) debate; audience members are asked to silence cell phones and refrain from any applause, shouts or other outbursts; signs or protests also are prohibited during the half-hour debate, which is sponsored by the Idaho Press Club, the League of Women Voters, and an array of media partners. Tonight’s Supreme Court debate is the first of this year’s “Idaho Debates,” which will feature the candidates in contested races this spring and in next fall’s general election.
The contested race for an Idaho Supreme Court seat has heated up, with the court itself now issuing statements disputing claims from the challenger, Lewiston Judge John Bradbury. The court says it’s part of a protocol adopted last fall for the court to set straight any false claims about the system; Bradbury says they’re after him, while his opponent says he’s deceiving Idahoans about how the courts work. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com
(John) Bradbury has run as an outsider and a reformer, and he has a personal history with the Supreme Court; last year, justices rebuked the Grangeville-based district judge for failing to live in Idaho County. (Justice Roger) Burdick, pictured, a seven-year court veteran, is an unabashed advocate for a court system, and has little patience for Bradbury. Asked about a frequent Bradbury complaint — the suggestion that the court system is out of the price range of the everyday Idahoan — Burdick doesn’t hide his exasperation. “We throw these things against the wall,” Burdick told the Statesman editorial board. “I have no idea what is meant by that statement”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Were you paying attention to this Idaho Supreme Court race before we started talking about it here?
Charlemagne: the vast majority of Idaho’s judges are initially appointed as opposed to elected. This is gives such judges the tremendous advantage of incumbency when they do face their retention elections. This is clearly contrary to the spirit of the Idaho Constitution. Looking at the remarks then Justice Linda Copple Trout made to the Idaho Statesman on June 25, 2007 as well as the Idaho Judicial Council’s advocacy of appointment (they refer to it as “merit selection”) in their annual reports should leave no doubt that many of these early resignations are politically and strategically motivated. Second Justice Roger Burdick (pictured) has been intimately connected with the Idaho Judicial Council which is one of the worst if not the very worst of the various states’ judicial disciplinary organizations. Full comment here.
Question: Would you rather see Supreme Court justices appointed or elected?
Unopposed Justice Jim Jones blasts Judge John Bradbury (pictured), who’s challenging Justice Roger Burdick: “The candidate’s materials make inaccurate accusations against the Idaho judiciary,” Jones says in the statement. “As a member of the court, it is appropriate to address these misstatements because they cast the Idaho judiciary in a false light. A candidate for judicial office may put forth whatever proposals he may wish to improve the judicial system, but has no right to make unfounded claims that target the courts.” You can read Jones’ full statement here; and see Bradbury’s campaign Web site here.
Question: Does it concern you that all five Supreme Court justices are from the Boise (three) and Twin Falls (two) areas?
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, who is unopposed for re-election this year, has issued a two-page statement responding to claims made by another judicial candidate, state District Judge John Bradbury, in Bradbury’s campaign against state Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick.
“The candidate’s materials make inaccurate accusations against the Idaho judiciary,” Jones says in the statement. “As a member of the court, it is appropriate to address these misstatements because they cast the Idaho judiciary in a false light. A candidate for judicial office may put forth whatever proposals he may wish to improve the judicial system, but has no right to make unfounded claims that target the courts.” You can read Jones’ full statement here and see Bradbury’s campaign Web site here.
Judge John Bradbury of Idaho/Clearwater counties offered good answers to the five questions that I asked him turning a half-hour interview this morning. Here’s the answer he gave to my question re: the worst court decision of the last five years: “It’s the school funding case. Over 18 years of litigation, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that thorough education required by the Constitution means the state has to adequately fund education. Once they made that decision and came time to send decision back to the trial judge to enforce it, the Supreme Court refused to send it back and wouldn’t give a reason. So the lawyers moved for a hearing and the justices had the clerk of the Supreme Court call the lawyers into the basement of the Supreme Court and tell them orally and without any record that the case was over. So today we have no explanation by the highest court in the state why it declined to have the trial judge enforce the court’s decision.” You can read the entire interview here. And: Judge Bradbury’s Web site here.
Question: Do you know enough about the Idaho Supreme Court race between incumbent Roger Burdick and challenger John Bradbury to vote intelligently?
Former seven-term Idaho Congressman George Hansen has lost an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court to get out of repaying hundreds of thousands of dollars to an Idaho couple he swindled in a investment scheme. Hansen was first ordered to repay Ann and the late James Meyers $300,000 back in 1993, when Hansen was serving a federal prison sentence for securities fraud, according to the court decision. He maintained he didn’t remember being served, and also questioned whether he received proper notice of subsequent default judgments against him in the case. In 2006, he filed two pro se motions resisting an order in the case, but then claimed he didn’t know about the default judgment until 2007, when he got an attorney. He also claimed in his appeal that he was “without substantial assets” to pay the judgment.
In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Warren Jones, the high court wrote, “Hansen’s argument strangely assumes that he was unaware of his own assets until 2007. Moreover, there is no reason why the judgment would become inequitable simply because the judgment debtor cannot afford to pay it.” The court also found, “Hansen personally received his initial service of process and also a mailed notice of the Entry of Default but did nothing.” The original default judgment of $299,350, with interest, has swelled to a judgment of $732,927.
The high court wrote, “Although Hansen characterized the investment as a personal loan to him, Meyers and her late husband invested nearly $300,000 in Ideal Consultants, what they believed was a legitimate attempt to build a revenue-generating program known as the Congressional Accountability Project. This was a fraudulent commercial transaction.” The court awarded costs and attorney fees for the appeal to Meyers. You can read the court’s decision here. Hansen, a Republican, was first elected to Idaho’s 2nd District congressional seat in 1964 and served two terms, before losing a challenge to Democratic Sen. Frank Church. He won election to the House seat again in 1974, and won re-election four times before losing to Democrat Richard Stallings in 1984.
The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld a Rexburg urban renewal project in a case that was being closely watched by urban renewal agencies around the state. In a unanimous ruling authored by Justice Joel Horton, the high court upheld a 7th District Court ruling rejecting a challenge to the project by Rexburg resident Kenneth Hart, who contended it was unconstitutional. Hart acted as his own attorney in the district court case, but was represented by attorney John Runft in the Supreme Court appeal.
At issue was a $6.3 million revenue allocation bond issue to fund a project including a public pool, community center and sports fields. Hart argued that a court couldn’t grant the Rexburg Urban Renewal Agency permission for the bond issue because the agency was just an “alter ego” of the city, and the city’s ability to go into debt is limited by the Idaho Constitution. The court held that “urban renewal agencies are not the ‘alter egos’ of cities under the law,” so the bond issue wasn’t unconstitutional. Nine urban renewal agencies filed amicus briefs siding with the Rexburg urban renewal agency; you can read the Supreme Court decision here.
The Idaho Supreme Court has tossed a lawsuit ruling that resulted in one of the largest jury awards in Idaho history, the AP reports. The court’s ruling today essentially sent a case between MRI Associates and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center back for a new trial; a jury had initially awarded MRI Associates more than $63 million in damages, though a judge later lowered that to about $36 million. Click below to read the full story from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
2nd District Judge John Bradbury says he’ll comply with the Idaho Supreme Court’s order to make Idaho County his main residence within three weeks, and swear to it in an affidavit. But he said the move could endanger the drug and mental health courts he operates in rural Clearwater County, in which 32 people are enrolled. “I can’t service those and drive the prairie every week in the winter, and none of the other judges are willing to take it over,” Bradbury said.
“I have said I will comply and I will,” Bradbury said. But, he said, “They’re making it as difficult as they can for me to do my job.” The twice-elected judge - who last year nearly won a race for an Idaho Supreme Court seat - said he operates the only rural mental health court in the state. “The rural counties have been the orphans of the judicial system in Idaho,” he said. Though his judgeship requires “actual residence” in Idaho County, much of his caseload is in Orofino, Bradbury said. “If I only had one trial in Orofino every three years, it’d be easy. I’ve had probably 40 trials there since I’ve been a judge.” He added, “I travel an average of five or six hours a week doing my job.”
Because of caseload and the topography of his largely rural judicial district, Bradbury has repeatedly proposed changing the state residency law for his judgeship to allow more flexibility on the judge’s residence; he presides in three counties, but the law requires him to live in one of those, Idaho County. The Idaho Judicial Conference has endorsed the change unanimously three times, but the Supreme Court has declined to propose the change to the Legislature each time. “They won’t agree and they won’t give a reason,” Bradbury said. “What conclusion can you draw from that except it’s personal?”
Justice Jim Jones, writing the decision for the court majority that found Bradbury in violation of the residence law, wrote, “While the Legislature’s decision as to which district judge position will be funded and where it will be located may not always coincide with what is ideal from an administrative standpoint, it is not for the courts to second guess or circumvent such decisions.”
Idaho Supreme Court justices had sharp questions today for Michael McNichols, the Lewiston attorney who represented District Judge John Bradbury before the high court, challenging a move by the state Judicial Council to suspend him for not living in his district. Bradbury maintains he does live there - when elected judge, he bought a house in Grangeville, has his homeowner’s exemption there, registered to vote there and votes there, and lives there when he is in Grangeville, at least one day a week. But he also has a home in Lewiston.
Justice Warren Jones questioned whether that was enough. “If I happened to have a home in five different counties,” he said, would he be deemed to live in each? He also noted that someone could live in Boise but have a lake house in McCall in which they spent each weekend, and asked if that meant the person resided in McCall. Chief Justice Daniel Eismann asked if perhaps “the Legislature simply didn’t want judges to be traveling late at night.” To that, McNichols responded, “What the Legislature wanted was for the judges to go to the county where the business was, and do the county’s judicial business, and Judge Bradbury does that.” McNichols argued that the Judicial Council apparently confused the legal concepts of residency and domicile - the law merely requires the judge to reside in his district. It doesn’t say the judge must reside there full-time, or reside there and nowhere else, he said. At one point, McNichols said, the Judicial Council told Bradbury that he must “stay” in his Grangeville home. “That means he can’t go out of his house … can’t go to the store, can’t go to the post office … most importantly, he can’t go to the courthouse.”
Justice Jim Jones said small communities wanted local judges - not carpetbaggers who just showed up in town to decide cases. “The judge was going to be right there sleeping with all the neighbors,” Jones said. McNichols said the state owes Bradbury a definition of what “reside” means before it charges him with violating that. “You come out with a definition, Judge Bradbury will adhere to it, and he’ll comply,” McNichols told the justices. “But he’s entitled to have that definition before he’s punished for violating that.” He also said, “The Judicial Council apparently thought he had to sleep there every night. That’s the reason he’s being put through these proceedings at the risk of his elective office.”
Bradbury made a statewide splash in 2008 when he ran for the Idaho Supreme Court and nearly defeated newly appointed Justice Joel Horton; Bradbury got 49.9 percent of the vote to Horton’s 50.1 percent. Horton isn’t sitting on the case; retired Justice Wayne Kidwell is sitting in instead. Attorney Keith Roark is representing the Judicial Council. He told the justices, “This is a bewildering case.” It’s all about the judge being there when needed to give a defendant a fair trial, he said. He discounted arguments that the Judicial Council was biased against Bradbury. “Judge Bradbury is either actually residing in the county or he isn’t,” Roark told the court. The only other possibility, he said: The law is unconstitutionally vague. The justices had some pointed questions for Roark as well; he said Bradbury is inviting the court to “open up a can of worms” by getting into details about what residency means, by specifying days per week or anything like that. “I wouldn’t go so far as Justice Jones by suggesting that they were expected to sleep with the neighbors,” Roark said, sharing a chuckle with Jones.
Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Eismann has been named to the National Drug Court Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which represents more than 2,300 drug courts nationwide. As a district judge, Eismann founded the Ada County Drug Court a decade ago; it’s now had more than 600 graduates, 80 percent of whom have had no new criminal charges. The courts focus on integrating criminal justice procedures and drug addiction treatment, with the goal of stopping the “revolving door of crime, victimization, and incarceration by drug addicted criminal defendants,” according to the Idaho Supreme Court. Eismann also pushed for expansion of drug courts to all seven of Idaho’s judicial districts and broadening the model to include mental health courts.
Idaho now has 55 of the special “problem-solving” courts; other states have used Idaho as a model. The award Eismann received is officially called the Stanley M. Goldstein Hall of Fame Award, named after the Florida judge who established the nation’s first drug court 20 years ago. Click below to read the full press release from the Idaho Supreme Court.
An anonymous tip about a fight, of which no evidence was found, didn’t provide reasonable suspicion for two Coeur d’Alene police officers to block in and arrest a man for drunken driving while he was parked in the parking lot of an apartment complex, the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled. The case involves an incident on the Fourth of July in 2005, at 1:30 in the morning; defendant Christopher Willoughby successfully got a magistrate court to suppress all evidence from the two officers’ contact with him that night. The state appealed to district court, then to the state Court of Appeals, and then to the Idaho Supreme Court; it lost at every point. The state argued that the officers could legally detain Willoughby as either a suspect or a witness to the reported fight, though they found no evidence of any fight. “An anonymous tip alone cannot supply the requisite basis for reasonable suspicion,” said the unanimous opinion, written by Justice Joel Horton. You can read the full opinion here.
The Idaho Supreme Court says the state’s method of classifying violent sexual predators is unconstitutional and has ordered that the label be removed from a man who admitted four rapes. Tuesday’s ruling from a divided court came in the case of Jason C. Smith, who was sent to prison for the 1998 rape of a 15-year-old girl in Twin Falls County. Before his release in 2005, Smith was referred to the Sexual Offender Classification Board to determine if he should be classified as a violent sexual predator, according to the ruling. The board - after reviewing a psychosexual evaluation and other tests - decided he was likely to commit more crimes in the future and should be considered a violent sexual predator/Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Am I the only one who thinks this is a crazy decision that could give this creep enough cover to reoffend?