The panel that disciplines judges in Idaho regularly receives more than 80 complaints each year over alleged inappropriate conduct, but the independent council rarely finds enough evidence to warrant a harsh punishment.
Judicial complaints are confidential, but earlier this year the Idaho Judicial Council’s disciplinary process gained more attention after confirming it had received a verified complaint against Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker. The complaint was filed following his decision to sentence a teen to probation for sexually assaulting a high school football teammate.
Stoker has been criticized by some who believe a sentence for John R.K. Howard was too lenient and that the judge failed to recognize the racial implications of the case.
The council has not yet made a decision regarding the complaint.
The council received 83 complaints in 2016. Of those, one judge was admonished privately and another was issued a private written reprimand.