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Idaho high court revives lawsuit over lousy public defense

The Idaho Supreme Court says a lawsuit over Idaho’s faulty public defense system can move forward against all the defendants except one: Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

The high court’s ruling on Friday reinstates the class-action lawsuit brought by four Idaho residents who said they were denied the right to a fair trial because of Idaho’s underfunded and faulty public defense system.

A lower court judge dismissed the case after the judge said he believed it would violate the separation of powers to require adequate state funding.

The American Civil Liberties Union-Idaho promptly appealed on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The Idaho Supreme Court said the ACLU does have the right to sue the state government over the problems. But the justices said the governor shouldn’t be named as a defendant because he wasn’t the cause.

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