State/Local Funding

  • The Idaho Judiciary has a mix of state and local funding. 
  • The state pays for the appellate courts, the administrative office of the courts, technology hardware and software, and for the salaries of the trial court judges and court reporters. Trial court clerical and support staff, courthouses and non-technology related equipment are funded locally.

State Revenue and Appropriations

  • Total state and federal grant appropriations for the Idaho judicial system increased from $48.3 million in FY12 to $49.5 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation increased from $29.2 million to $30.3 million.  The percent of state general funds allocated to the judiciary remained at 1%.
  • Since FY09, to enhance revenue, fees have increased 12%.
  • Over the past four years, technology funding has increased 44%.
  • The budget situation in the next three years is likely to stay the same.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch submits its budget directly to the Legislative Branch.  By statute, the Governor must transmit the Judiciary’s budget to the Legislature without change.
  • The Judiciary has the authority to move funds between Judiciary programs.  The Legislature provides a “lump sum” appropriation to the Judiciary.
  • The budget enables the court to provide and enhance needed technology.  In FY15, the courts intend to propose new revenue streams for technology.

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses

  • Over the past four years, the number of judges and court staff has remained the same.  Funding for trial court operating expenses has been reduced by 18%. 
  • This coming year, the number of judges may increase by 3%.  The number of court staff and funding for trial court operating expenses will remain the same. 
  • During the fiscal crisis, four magistrate judge positions were held vacant; Idaho has now either filled the positions or has scheduled recruitment.  As revenues permitted, additional problem-solving court coordinators and court assistance officers were funded.  A behavioral health specialist and program evaluator were added as a result of the substance abuse treatment funds.  As guardianship revenues increased, a statewide coordinator was added. 

Service Reductions:  Over the past four years, the Idaho courts have delayed filling judicial vacancies and have delayed filling vacancies in judicial support positions.  They have reduced travel and education and did not replace computer equipment.  These reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the courts have frozen the salaries of judicial officers and court staff and furloughed court staff.  Idaho judges voluntarily worked two days without pay.  A 2% pay increase was received this year.

Efficiency Measures:  The Idaho courts enable law enforcement to file e-citations.  Persons can make e-payment of fees and fines and have access to a virtual web-based information center to provide public access to records.  In the coming year, Idaho will implement e-filing, an electronic document management system and an enhanced case management system. 

Restructuring:  Idaho has expanded the use of retired senior judges and has assigned sitting judges temporarily to the counties where the caseload needs are greatest.

Business Processes:  The courts have implemented “in-court updating” and have transitioned to digital recording of court proceedings.  The Idaho courts are implementing an enhanced caseflow management program.  The courts have aggressively instituted an “advancing justice” initiative to resolve cases more timely using the model time standards as a framework for review.

Centralization:  The courts have centralized the financial review of all conservator reports and in the next year will be centralizing the qualification and summoning of jurors. The courts are examining the centralization of collections.

The Idaho courts are in a better position than four years ago to provide access and timely justice.  They have renewed their commitment to timely justice, achieving efficiencies through technology, and protecting families, children and communities through problem-solving courts, family court services and other innovative methods.

Reports and Articles

Gavel to Gavel

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