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Former Idaho Chief Justice Charles McDevitt dies at 89

UPDATED: Fri., June 4, 2021

Former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles F. McDevitt, of Boise, died Saturday at the age of 89.  (Courtesy)
Former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles F. McDevitt, of Boise, died Saturday at the age of 89. (Courtesy)
Idaho Press

Idaho Press

BOISE – Former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles F. McDevitt, of Boise, died Saturday at the age of 89.

Former Gov. Cecil Andrus appointed McDevitt to the Supreme Court in 1989, an Idaho Judicial Branch news release said. McDevitt remained on the Court through 1997, becoming chief justice in 1993.

McDevitt led the Court as it launched Idaho’s statewide court assistance offices and authorized modern approaches to mediation for family courts and civil litigation, the release said. As chief justice he emphasized the Court’s role in administering the Judicial Branch, including changes to accounting and technology.

“I will remember Chief Justice McDevitt for his leadership, promoting innovative changes to the courts that still benefit Idahoans today,” said former Justice Cathy Silak, who served on the Court with McDevitt, in the release.

McDevitt’s time as a justice followed a career as a lawyer, businessman and legislator. Among other jobs, he worked for several corporations, including as general counsel for Boise Cascade Corporation in the 1960s and an executive vice president for New York-based Singer Co. in the 1970s. He represented Ada County in the Idaho House for two terms, helping to author the state’s sales tax system, then used his legislative experience in 1967 as a member of the Idaho State Bar advancing proposed Judicial Branch reforms.

He was a founding partner in two Boise law firms: Givens, McDevitt, Pursley & Webb and after serving on the Court, McDevitt & Miller.

McDevitt, who was born in Pocatello, graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law and was admitted to the Idaho State Bar in 1956.

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