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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Idaho Supreme Court hears arguments on public defense reform

By Rebecca Boone Associated Press

BOISE – Idaho’s Supreme Court will soon decide whether to revive an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the state over its faulty public defense system.

Attorneys on both sides told the high court Wednesday that they agree Idaho’s public defense system has serious deficiencies. But the state’s attorneys say the blame should lie on the counties, not Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and the state’s Public Defense Commission.

Last year a lower court judge dismissed the lawsuit, partly because the judge said he believed a court ruling requiring the state to adequately fund the public defense system would violate the separation of powers.

The Idaho Supreme Court is expected to issue a written ruling on whether that dismissal should stand or if the lawsuit can move forward against the state defendants.

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