As the 2016 regular sessions of the Idaho Legislature ramps up the Public Defender Reform interim committee is nearing its goal of passing a draft bill for consideration.
In a meeting Wednesday, the panel heard from Twin Falls County Public Defender, Marilyn Paul. She thanked the committee for adding new language that aims to keep pay between public defenders and county prosecutors more equal.
Paul testified the typical entry-level wages for a public defender in Twin Falls is $56,000. She didn't provide numbers on prosecutor pay, but said it was generally understood prosecutors make more. According to Paul, the county has a history of losing young lawyers who become prosecutors or going into the private sector.
The committee adjourned without passing a recommendation on legislation, but co-chair Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, said they should have something after their next meeting, tentatively set for Thursday, January 21 at 4:30.
Idaho is currently being sued by the ACLU for their public defender system.