Courts in Idaho
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Courts in Idaho include the state court system and two federal courts. The state judicial branch includes three types of courts--a unified trial court, an intermediate appellate court and a court of last resort, or supreme court. The trial courts are called district courts, and the state is divided into seven judicial districts. Within each district court, there is a magistrate division, which hears minor cases.
The Supreme Court is the court of last resort. It has original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear claims against the state and to issue extraordinary writs, or legal orders. It has appellate jurisdiction over appeals from the district courts, the State Public Utilities Commission and the Industrial Commission. The court may also review decisions of the court of appeals upon petition of the parties or its own motion. The supreme court also has exclusive jurisdiction over capital murder convictions and appeals from the Public Utilities Commission or Industrial Commission.
The supreme court is also responsible for the administration of the court and oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The Court of Appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court and hears the cases assigned to it by the supreme court. Though cases from this court may be reheard by the supreme court on occasion, most decisions of the court of appeals are final. It hears cases in three-judge panels.
The Idaho District Courts hear serious criminal cases, felonies, civil cases where the amount involved is more than $10,000, and appeals of magistrate division decisions. They may also hear domestic relation cases and rule on situations where a defendant is challenging his/her conviction or incarceration.
The Idaho Magistrate Divisions hear misdemeanors, infractions (such as traffic tickets) and civil cases where the amount involved is less than $10,000. They may also hold preliminary hearings and issue arrest and search warrants. Additionally, they can handle probate, juvenile and domestic relation cases, as well as habeas corpus proceedings. Magistrates may also hear small claims cases informally and without attorneys, in what is known as the "people's court."
- 1971: The trial courts are unified by consolidating probate, justice and municipal courts into one type of court--the district courts. The magistrate divisions are included as part of the district courts.
- 1919: The state Constitution is amended to increase the number of justices to five, including one chief justice.
- 1890: Idaho becomes a state. The state Constitution creates three supreme court justices.
- 1860: Idaho becomes a territory and justices for the new Territorial Supreme Court are appointed by President Abraham Lincoln.
The following are links to Idaho's court rules, which explain details and procedures regarding court appearances:
- Appellate Rules
- Court Administrative Rules
- Criminal Rules
- Infraction Rules
- Juvenile Rules
- Misdemeanor Criminal Rules
- Rules of Civil Procedure
- Rules of Evidence
- Rules of Family Law Procedure (special certain cases in the 4th district)
- Idaho Judicial Branch
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "Judicial Directory," accessed May 21, 2014
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "Live video of Idaho Supreme Court oral arguments"
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "Overview of the Idaho Court System," accessed May 21, 2014 (Page 7)
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "The Media Guide to the Idaho Courts," accessed May 21, 2014 (Page 5)
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "History & Procedures of the Idaho Supreme Court," accessed May 21, 2014
- U.S. Bankruptcy Courts
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "The Media Guide to the Idaho Courts," accessed May 21, 2014 (Page 6)
- Idaho Secretary of State, " Blue Book - Idaho Courts," 2014
- Idaho Judicial Branch, "Idaho Court Rules," accessed May 21, 2014