According to the Idaho Statesman, an Aug. 15 memo sent from the State Appellate Public Defender’s Office states that laws giving counties the authority to conduct adult misdemeanor probation services are “null, void and unenforceable.”
Under the state constitution, only the Board of Correction – an executive branch of state government – has the authority to supervise adult probationers. The Idaho Legislature does not have the authority to delegate powers granted by the constitution to counties, which could apply to the misdemeanor probation legislation that lawmakers approved in 1993 and again in 2008 when it put misdemeanor probation services under the counties’ purview.
Idaho Association of Counties Executive Director Dan Chadwick, who didn’t know until earlier this month that what counties have been doing could violate the Idaho Constitution, says the new information could upend the system that is currently in place.
Of Idaho’s 44 counties, 38 operate their own misdemeanor probation programs. Ada, Adams, Boise, Gem and Power counties contract with a private company to run the program. Only Lewis County does not have a program.
State lawmakers may have to tackle the issue in January. (Idaho Statesman)