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Court Administration

Statewide rules and policies for the operation of court functions are established by the Idaho Supreme Court, supervisor of the entire court system.

Under joint supervision of the administrative district judge and the administrative director of the courts, the trial court administrator assists in the overall management of district court operations. The trial court administrator may assist in preparing budgets for court facilities and county-funded support staff, such as clerical personnel, bailiffs, and probation officers. The trial court administrator may work with the jury commissioners in establishing the proper number of jurors to be called and impaneled, as well as assuring that statutory standards for jury duty are followed.

While most of the statewide court information reports are prepared by district court clerk offices, with the assistance of the ISTARS computer system, the trial court administrator is responsible for the analysis of the monthly reports prepared by the Supreme Court to pinpoint cases requiring immediate disposition and to attempt to maintain balance in judicial caseloads. The trial court administrator performs non-judicial public information duties, answering complaints, and disseminating information concerning the trial courts. For liaison purposes with law enforcement and other public officials, may attend designated public meetings as the court's representative.

Under the general direction of the administrative district judge, the trial court administrator may assign cases, perform calendar management functions, and maintain personnel records for state judicial employees in the district, including sick leave, vacation leave, and attendance at judicial education programs. The trial court administrator is a valuable resource to the clerks of the district in records management, courthouse security, personnel management, and courthouse facility design.

Clerks of the District Court, elected county officials, serve as pivotal links between the state judiciary and county government. In addition to responsiblities in the court, the district court clerk also serves as ex-officio auditor and recorder. The district court clerks and their deputies provide crucial services to the district judges and the magistrates that include the receipt and filing of all court documents, calendaring of cases, the receipt and accounting of all fees and fines, taking in-court minutes of court hearings, and day-to-day management of court records--both hard copy and computer maintained. Additionally, deputy clerks may serve as judge's secretaries to provide clerical support to the judge. The district court clerks are the hiring authority for deputy court clerks. In addition, the clerks' offices are the first point of contact for citizens seeking access to court services.

Administrative district judges and trial court administrators meet quarterly with the Supreme Court to discuss caseload management and procedural problems and to improve court rules and operations.

The state is divided into seven judicial districts, each encompassing four to ten counties. This regional structure is designed to delegate authority to the judicial districts and to insure their participation in policy decisions while maintaining uniform statewide rules and procedures.

An administrative district judge, chosen by the other district judges in the district, performs a number of administrative duties in addition to handling a judicial caseload. The administrative district judge, assisted by a trial court administrator, manages court operations, assigns judges to cases, and works with the clerks of the district court in their court-related duties.

Final recommendations for local court budgets and facilities are made by the administrative judge, as well as personnel decisions for the district. Local rules of practice and procedure are recommended to the Supreme Court by the administrative judge with the concurrence of the other district judges.

The administrative judge additionally serves as chair of the district magistrates commission, a representative body of county commissioners, mayors, citizens, and private attorneys which, among other things, appoints magistrate judges to their initial terms of office.


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