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Eye On Boise

Of deadlines, rules and attorney fees…

Idaho is refusing to pay $95,000 in legal fees to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in the instant racing case because the state Attorney General’s office contends the tribe filed its invoice for the fees a day after a 14-day deadline had expired. The tribe says the Attorney General is citing a deadline that applies to appeals to the Idaho Supreme Court – not an original jurisdiction case like the instant racing case, which started at the Supreme Court, where the tribe prevailed and the court ordered Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to certify repeal legislation as law, holding that the governor’s belated attempt to veto the bill repealing authorization for instant racing gambling machines was invalid.

Such original jurisdiction cases are rare, so there’s little precedent, but the court usually is strict with the 14-day deadline for attorney fee filings in appeals. It ordered the state to pay the tribe’s attorney fees in its decision earlier this month. The tribe has now filed a motion to the court seeking to order the state to pay the fees. It’s asking that if the court agrees with the state’s argument that a 14-day deadline applies, that it be given a one-day extension. You can read the tribe’s filing here.

It includes an email from Deputy Idaho Attorney General Michael Gilmore, who wrote to the tribe’s attorney, Deborah Ferguson, “Although Rules 40 and 41 by their terms apply only to appeals and not to writs, I am not aware that the Idaho Supreme Court treats claims for costs or fees any differently in a special writ case than in an appeal. Accordingly, the deadline for filing a Memorandum of Costs and requesting attorneys fees expired 14 days after the opinion was issued.”

The irony, of course, is that the tribe won the case by arguing that the Idaho Constitution’s five-day deadline for bill vetoes means five days, and that’s all. Gov. Butch Otter delivered the vetoed bill to the Senate two days after the constitutional deadline; the court held that the bill became law without the governor's signature when the deadline expired.

The court is now giving the state 14 days to file a response to the tribe’s motion, before it rules on the matter. You can read a full report here from AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi.

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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