Each year, the Idaho Supreme Court works with the Legislature and Governor’s Office to fund projects that support the Court’s mission to provide access to justice through the timely, fair, and impartial resolution of cases. The items here are among the Court’s priorities for fiscal year 2024 (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024).
The Idaho Supreme Court partners with Idaho counties to ensure all county courtrooms have the appropriate technology and equipment to preserve the official court record, to facilitate the presentation of evidence, and to allow for remote court proceedings when appropriate. As a result, when counties upgrade or renovate courtrooms the Court bears certain costs.
An unprecedented number of requests coupled with a decrease in Court Technology Fund revenue has resulted in a lack of available funding for current county requests. This one-time funding will support necessary court technology in 14 courtrooms across Bear Lake, Bonner, Camas, Cassia, Custer, Lincoln, Nez Perce, Payette, and Shoshone counties.
For FY2024, the Court requests a one-time General Fund appropriation of $816,900 to support courtroom technology improvements.
County Jury Services
Although the right to a jury trial is guaranteed in the state constitution, Idaho’s counties have historically handled most of the costs of jury management. Each county has purchased its own software to manage jury selection, issue and mail summonses, and track juror attendance to pay jurors.
The Court offers, free of charge, a jury selection management system for counties that wish to use it. Counties are now requesting this system as their own systems are being decommissioned or are no longer supported. The system provides augmented and integrated services, but these additional services result in a charge to the Supreme Court. They include the system vendor printing and mailing summonses, text notifications to prospective jurors, and the ability to scan and upload information from juror questionnaires.
For FY2024, the Court requests an ongoing General Fund appropriation of $340,700 to provide this added functionality for local counties.
Court Reporter Resources
For FY2024, the Court requests a one-time General Fund appropriation of $192,900 to implement remote court reporter services in certain county courtrooms.
Idaho’s trial courts are “courts of record.” This means a record is kept of all proceedings and can be reviewed for error by an appellate court. Idaho Code 1-1101 provides that there will be a court reporter to keep the record for each district judge position.
Due to a national shortage of court reporters, the Idaho courts have struggled to hire enough court reporters. This request supports the installation of technology in local courtrooms to support remote court reporter services at a total cost of about $32,000 per courtroom. That cost includes a partial offset using existing personnel costs appropriated for vacant court reporter positions.