Judge to hear public defender system case

Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 13:23:31-05

An Ada County District Court judge in Boise is scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit against the State over its public defender system.

Idaho Fourth Judicial District Judge Samuel Hoagland will hear arguments in Tucker vs. Idaho. The State has filed documents with the court to dismiss the case, arguing that even though the system may be broken, State officials should not be held accountable.

The plaintiffs are represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho, and the global law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP. They argue the State has a clear constitutional responsibility to provide and maintain effective assistance of counsel to indigent defendants in Idaho’s criminal courts. It is estimated that one out of every three Idahoans is unable to afford a private attorney –- and would likely rely on a public defender to represent them, if they were accused of a crime.

Oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the Ada County Courthouse, 200 West Front Street.