Idaho's congressmen are working to add a judge to Idaho's federal court system, which has a ballooning caseload and just two U.S. district judges. Congressman Walt Minnick is introducing bi-partisan legislation with fellow Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today, directing the President to appoint a third District Judge in Idaho.
As Idaho's population has grown, so has the number of court cases. Federal criminal cases, for instance, have increased 177 percent--from 83 to 230 a year--between 2000 to 2009. (Fact sheet pasted below). When compared to other rural states with similar problems, Idaho has the most "weighted case filings" per judge. Idaho has had to rely on assistance from visiting judges to help handle the work load. This would be the first time in 56 years that the number of District Judges in Idaho has increased.
"Idahoans have a right to a speedy and efficient court system, and that requires having enough judges to handle the recent rapid growth in cases," Minnick said. "My Idaho colleague Mike Simpson and I are doing all we can to address this serious issue."
"The caseload of the Idaho District Court has increased significantly in recent decades resulting in Idaho's district judges carrying a disproportionate share of cases in relation to their colleagues in other states," Simpson said. "It's time to make this a reality."
"I'm grateful for the leadership that Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson have shown on this critically important issue to our great state," Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill said. "Five and a half decades have passed since we last saw an increase in the number of federal district judges in Idaho. It is reassuring that our Representatives are working hard in this bi-partisan effort to address the needs of our growing population."