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Labrador Bill Adds Third U.S. District Judge in Idaho




Thursday | Jan. 12, 2017

Dan Popkey – 208-800-1565


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, today moved to relieve Idaho’s overloaded federal courts by introducing a bill authorizing a third U.S. District judge.
Since 2015, Idaho has had just one full-time district court judgeand the Judicial Conference of the United States has declared a judicial emergency. To fill the gap, 17 judges from other states have presided over Idaho cases in the last four years.

“I applaud the hard work of judges and clerks to keep the courts running, but Idahoans deserve a system with resources ensuring fairness and efficiency,” Labrador said. “‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is more than an old adage. The courts are essential to our system of government and delay has dire consequences.”
Idaho’s caseload per judge ranks 34th among the 94 federal district courts, with felony criminal filings ranking 11th. Hearing cases in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello, judges work 60- and 70-hour weeks.

At statehood in 1890, Idaho had one district judge. A second was added in 1954 when the population reached 600,000. Idaho’s population is now 1.7 million. With two authorized judgeships,Idaho ranks 90th among the 94 courts.

A member of the Judiciary Committee, Labrador recently met with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to discuss relieving judicial emergencies in Idaho and 41 other jurisdictions.

Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill is Idaho’s lone full-time federal judge. A 30-year veteran of the state and federal bench, Winmill praised Labrador for introducing the bill early in the new Congress.
“While I totally respect the excellent job done by my visiting colleagues, they are not expert on Idaho’s unique culture and history,” Winmill said. “Idaho cases should be decided by Idaho judges.”
Winmill said Idahoans endure unavoidable and expensive delay. “Our number one mission ishandling cases quickly, but there is a limit to what we can do without adequate judicial resources,” Winmill said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Labrador to ensure that justice in Idaho’s federal courts is fair, timely and efficient.”