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Disciplinary panel rarely takes action against Idaho judges

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.

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