BOISE (AP) — Members of Occupy Boise are asking a federal judge to order the state to pay more than $175,000 in attorney costs and legal fees after the group won a lawsuit over rules designed to curb protests and rallies around the Capitol.
Under federal law, the winner of a lawsuit can generally seek to recover attorney's fees and costs from the losing side. The fees and costs must be approved by a judge and they can be appealed, just like the verdict itself.
Occupy Boise and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho asked U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to order the state of Idaho to pay them nearly $176,000 to cover the cost of the attorneys on the case and another $2,400 for transcripts, audio recordings and other court costs. The payment is justified, Occupy Boise contends, because they won the case and because the lawsuit will protect the rights of those planning future protests at or near the Idaho Statehouse.
The state attorney general's office has not yet filed a response to Occupy Boise's motion. Kris Bivens-Cloyd, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, said the office did not have any comment on the case.
The lawsuit stems from the state's response when protesters who took part in the Occupy Boise movement set up a tent city on Idaho's Capitol Mall near the Statehouse in November 2011. The tent city was part of a national movement of protests expressing discontent with the government's failure to protect U.S. citizens from the housing bubble's collapse while bailing out Wall Street.
The tent city and protest were still underway in 2012, when Idaho Republicans began arguing that the prolonged event wasn't appropriate and that the encampment's occupants were creating a mess. GOP lawmakers tried to evict the protesters by passing a law allowing them to be forcibly removed, but the protesters immediately sued in federal court. Winmill eventually ruled that the Legislature's law violated free speech rights.
In 2013, the Idaho Legislature once again sought new laws targeting the Occupy Boise movement by putting time limits on overnight protests, and Winmill once again found the laws unconstitutional. The judge also ordered the state to comply with his decision forever, siding firmly with the protesters' free speech rights.
In their motion requesting attorneys' fees and court costs, the ACLU attorneys noted that Occupy Boise prevailed "again and again" and the court ruling would benefit others in the future by protecting demonstrations and deterring the state from interfering with free speech rights.
Juvenile’s Rights and Frequently Asked Questions
If your son or daughter has been charged with an offense, he or she has the right to:
· Know what the charges are.
· Remain silent. No one can make him or her talk about the case.
· Have legal representation.
· Admit the charges
· Deny the charges and have an Evidentiary Hearing before a Judge. There is no right to a jury trial for juvenile charges.
· Face and cross examine witnesses.
· Present evidence in his or her own defense.
· Testify if he or she wishes; however he or she does not have to testify.
· Appeal the Judge’s decision.
How will this charge affect my child’s ability to go to college?
Most young people seeking to attend college rely on Federal Student Aid to assist in paying for tuition. In some circumstances a conviction for drug possession or drug distribution may prevent your child from receiving Federal Student Aid. Fortunately, convictions that have been dismissed, and that occurred before a young person reaches age 18 or before he or she started receiving Federal Student Aid, do not prevent your child from receiving Federal Student Aid. www.fafsa.ed.gov. However, these cases must be dismissed to prevent any difficulties with federal financial aid. Please call for a free consultation to discuss dismissal and of your child’s case with me.
How will this charge affect my child’s ability to get into the military?
The answer to this question varies depending on which branch of the Armed Forces your child seeks to enlist in. Generally, felony convictions make a person ineligible for military service. Also, persons who have any “significant” criminal history are ineligible for military service. The military does have a waiver process for applicants with criminal histories, but a waiver of ineligibility based on criminal history is not automatic. You should work closely with your recruiter and hire a good criminal attorney if your son or daughter is in this position.
Will a charge in Juvenile Court stay on my child’s record?
Not necessarily. There are ways that your child can keep a juvenile conviction off his or her record. First, if convicted, your attorney can negotiate an Informal Adjustment in your child’s case. Ultimately, this allows the judge to dismiss your child’s case upon the successful completion of his or her sentencing terms. If granted an informal adjustment dismissal, your child’s record will merely reflect that the crime has been dismissed.
by Stephanie Zepelin
Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie KTVB.COM
Posted on April 1, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 10:31 PM
BOISE -- In a legislative session filled with controversy and tension, one bill made it through the legislature without one dissenting vote.
Senate Bill 1240a, written by Republican Senator Jim Rice, Democrat Senator Elliot Werk, and Republican Representative Lynn Luker, aims to protect Idahoans' privacy by limiting when law enforcement can collect DNA samples.
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that would allow law enforcement to get a DNA sample upon arrest. This case originated in another state, but Idaho lawmakers wanted to make sure it doesn't happen here.
"Once we start down the road of simply collecting DNA upon arrest, that's a pretty slippery slope," said Werk. "In Idaho law it is very, perfectly clear now that it's only upon conviction, a criminal conviction, or with a court order."
If you are convicted of a felony, your DNA is collected and put into a national database. Prosecutors also wanted to make sure the bill allowed them to get DNA of certain suspects.
"Let's say that somebody was a suspect in a rape case," said Werk, "A prosecutor could go to a court, with probably cause, request a warrant to be allowed to collect a DNA sample from an individual, and then they could collect that DNA sample."
Senator Werk said the law is important in ensuring certain rights of Idahoans and making sure that arrest alone is not enough reason to collect someone's DNA.
"The idea that DNA is useful in criminal investigations, everybody acknowledges that, but that doesn't mean we should willy nilly go and start collecting DNA samples from the population in the state of Idaho," Werk said. "DNA is your blueprint of you as a human being."
Werk said that unlike a fingerprint, DNA reveals information that some people should not have to share.
"It's a search and seizure of a person, taking an actual sample of your DNA," Werk said. "We need to protect the rights and the liberties of our citizens and restrict the ability to be able to collect DNA."
Governor Otter signed the bill on March 26. The law goes in effect on July first.
After hearing several questions about whether Idaho’s “rider” program, which incarcerates offenders in a special treatment program for a short time, then releases them on probation if they succeed or sends them to prison for their full terms if they fail, skews state’s incarceration rate as presented in the justice reinvestment analysis by the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center and the Pew Trusts, I quizzed Mark Pelka, the Justice Center’s director. His answer: Riders were only counted as incarcerated when they were actually behind bars, not when they were out on probation. The project’s figures showed that in Idaho, non-violent offenders spend twice as long behind bars as they do in the rest of the nation.
I also asked about sentencing reform, and its role in this project. The answer: The project didn’t even study Idaho’s sentencing laws, as far as the initial sentence that’s issued by a judge. “We have had calls from judges and many others to look more at sentencing,” Pelka said, but, “We did not shine a flashlight on that.” That was in part because Idaho’s sentencing laws don’t differentiate much within categories of offenses, leaving discretion to judges and making Idaho’s sentencing system more difficult to analyze. “Eighty-four percent of sentences are to probation or rider,” Pelka said. Then, 85 percent of riders get released on probation.
But the project is recommending one major change to how sentencing works in Idaho: It’s calling for non-violent offenders to serve just 100 to 150 percent of their fixed terms behind bars. Currently, drug offenders in Idaho are serving 219 percent of their fixed terms; property crime offenders, 200 percent; and DUI offenders, 231 percent. The idea is to focus more on supervision of those offenders when they’re initially released from prison, to keep them from going back. “The big challenge for Idaho is the return-to-prison rate,” Pelka said. “Fifty-three percent come back in.”
In the project’s recommendations, policy option 2(D) calls for Idaho to “reserve prison space for individuals convicted of violent offenses, by regulating the percent of time above the minimum sentence that people convicted of non-violent offenses may serve.” To accomplish that: “Require that people sentenced to prison for non-violent offenses be paroled at a point between 100 and 150 percent of the fixed term and then be placed under parole supervision.”
That would be a big change. Even without making any changes in Idaho’s overall sentencing laws – under which judges now set both a fixed and an indeterminate term, such as two to six years, with the Parole Commission deciding how much of the indeterminate part the inmate serves – the project is predicting $255 million in savings for Idaho over five years.
Posted on November 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM
Updated Sunday, Nov 17 at 4:11 PM
BOISE -- Law enforcement agencies around Idaho launched expanded DUI patrols Sunday.
The extra enforcement, in conjunction with education campaigns, is set to run through the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Idaho Transportation Department's Office of Highway Safety made funds available to local police agencies to pay for the expanded patrols.
"ITD's goal is not one death, because every life counts," said Kevin Bechen, with ITD. "We're committed to doing everything we can to help keep families safe and whole."
According to ITD, last year, impaired driving contributed to 1,454 crashes on Idaho's highways and caused 73 fatalities statewide.
Bechen offered the following tips to make this Thanksgiving holiday safer:
MERIDIAN -- Idaho State Police say they're seeing a lot more marijuana trafficked through the state than they used to.
"Over the last five years, we've tripled the amount of drug seizures in regards to marijuana," said Lt. Brad Doty.
In the last fiscal year, ISP seized 806 pounds of pot on Interstate 84, Interstate 86 and other Idaho highways. Doty says they are already on pace to soundly beat that number again. Just last weekend, state police in American Falls seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana in three separate busts.
Why the increase? Doty says it has nothing to do with anything that's changed in Idaho, rather within the nearby states. "As those states that surround us lessen their marijuana laws our drug seizures have increased."
Oregon, California, and Nevada have all decriminalized marijuana and legalized medical marijuana. Washington and Colorado have legalized medical and recreational use.
"So basically, the large grows in Idaho will get you a lot of jail time," said Doty. "Large grows in those states where it's not a crime to possess marijuana, won't."
Doty says traffickers often take marijuana from those legal grow sites in those other states and bring it into and through Idaho to the Midwest to sell it. Since it's illegal here there's higher demand and bigger profits, which is why Doty also believes this trafficking trend will only continue. "The seizures are getting larger and larger, some of the largest I've ever seen in my career."
But, Doty says traffickers often aren't just trafficking drugs, they're committing other crimes too. "It can trickle into other aspects of law enforcement. So, whether that's thefts or burglaries or other crimes that are all contributed to or surround drug interdiction or drug enforcement. So, the more marijuana that we can seize off the road, obviously leads to more convictions with other crimes, as well."
Fourteen weapons were seized during drug trafficking busts last year.
Doty also stressed that not all users are traffickers, but reminded everyone that Idaho doesn't issue or recognize medical marijuana cards.
In order to help battle this trafficking, ISP is adding three drug detection dogs next year.
Posted on November 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 6:17 PM
Man arrested in hit-and-run crash has extensive criminal record
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/09/28/2787021/man-arrested-in-hit-and-run-crash.html#storylink=cpy
ADA COUNTY -- The Ada County Sheriff's Office has a new tool in the quest to detect alcohol -- it can even detect if there was alcohol in an empty cup or container.
It's called a Lifeloc.
Law enforcement agents say the technology will help ensure offenders are following the rules of their probation. That's because many probationers in Ada County are forbidden from drinking.
Ada County Sheriff's Office Deputy Adam Babbitt and the people at the Court Services Bureau try make sure these offenders comply. They have two new Lifeloc tools just for the Court Services Bureau to help them out.
"When I started in law enforcement in 1999, it was a large Intoxilyzer machine," said Babbitt. "It looked like it ran off an old computer program. And so now we have these much smaller, that are not much larger than a cell phone, devices that are capable of doing all the same stuff just as accurately."
The device can be used to take a breath alcohol test, or to see if there was alcohol in a container.
"We can maintain compliance with these folks by making sure that they are not drinking," said Babbitt. "So if I take a probation officer out and we do a home visit of some kind, I can tell right then and there if any of the liquids in their houses have alcohol or not, just simply by using the Lifeloc device."
To use the Lifeloc, an officer holds the device over the mouth of the empty container for a few seconds, and it detects even a slight amount of alcohol.
"Many of our folks who we're trying to maintain compliance on struggle with alcohol problems, and they've had a life-long experience at trying to hide their drinking. So this just gives us another tool to determine whether they are still drinking or not," Babbitt said.
Babbitt said alcohol use is an issue with many people on probation. However, he also says not all offenders have committed an alcohol-related crime.
"If we're able to determine when people are starting to re-offend, we can address that much, much earlier and we can handle it in a different way," he said.
The two new Lifeloc devices cost around $2,800 each, and are being paid for in large part by a grant from the Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety.
BOISE -- Fans at this year's Boise State home football games will be allowed to drink alcohol at tailgate parties near Bronco Stadium.
On Tuesday night, the Boise City Council voted unanimously for creating the "Ten to Ten Zone."
The "Ten to Ten Zone" is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Bronco football home game days where alcoholic beverages will be allowed in plastic cups.
The cups cannot be see-through and cannot display brand names or logos of alcoholic beverage companies, and anyone consuming alcohol must be at least 21 years old.
Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson says this will allow officers to focus on other issues rather than ticketing open-container violators who are otherwise following the law.
Devon Wilson, Marketing, PR