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Director: Judicial turnover has state barely hanging on

Idaho Courts Director Sara Thomas says the state has made big gains on improving court access and technology, but Idaho is barely hanging on when it comes to judicial turnover and vacancies.

She told Idaho’s legislative budget writers Tuesday morning that the courts need funding to cover increased use of senior judges – judges who have retired but agree to cover cases when the local courts are overwhelmed – and to hire an additional magistrate judge in Jerome County.

Jerome County currently sees more than 3,100 magistrate cases each year, not including infractions. She says the court system just can’t keep up with the resources it now has.

The judicial branch is recommending that lawmakers approve a budget that is about $1 million more than the previous year’s appropriation, for a total of $72 million for fiscal year 2019.

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