go to hird Judicial District Court
Recruitment, Selection, and Performance Evaluation of
proposed date that the new judge takes office is reviewed with the Supreme
Court to ensure that adequate funds are available. A magistrate judge's
appointment is subject to a fiscal appropriation by the legislature.
vacancy is advertised in such a way that all lawyers in the state of Idaho are
aware of the opportunity to apply for the vacant position, including:
- Notices of the vacancy are sent
to each lawyer in the state by the Supreme Court. Notices include the
legal requirements for the position and an Equal Employment Opportunity
- If possible (and depending upon
publication schedules), a notice of the vacancy is published in at least
one issue of The
Advocate (the monthly publication of the Idaho State Bar
Association). Additional notices, as deemed necessary by the magistrates commission, may also be distributed.
- A news release is made to
newspapers of record and broadcast media in the judicial district and,
where appropriate, in adjoining districts.
period for receipt of applications is long enough so that lawyers throughout
the state have a reasonable opportunity to submit a uniform standard magistrate
the deadline for applications has passed, a news release is issued to
newspapers of record and broadcast media in the judicial district and in
adjoining districts where appropriate, listing the applicants to allow public
notice and comment upon the applicants.
applications are received, an initial determination is made by the trial court
administrator as to whether each applicant satisfies the minimum statutory
qualifications to be a magistrate judge. Effective July 1, 2015, a person must,
at the time of appointment, meet all of the following qualifications:
- Be at least thirty (30) years of
- Be a citizen of the United
- Have been a legal resident of the
State of Idaho for at least two (2) continuous years immediately preceding
- Have been in good standing as an
active or judicial member of the Idaho State Bar for at least two (2)
continuous years immediately preceding such appointment;
- Have held a license to practice law
or held a judicial office in one (1) or more jurisdictions for at least
five (5) continuous years immediately preceding such appointment;
- Be a qualified elector of the State
of Idaho; and
- After appointment, reside in the
county for which the magistrate judge is appointed.
The magistrates commission members determine the competence and
experience qualifications which are the most important in selecting a
magistrate judge. A list of the individual qualifications
generally examined are:
- Integrity and moral courage
- Legal ability and experience
- Capacity to be fair-minded and
- Industriousness and promptness in
- Compatibility of personal habits
and outside activities with judicial office
- Capacity to be courteous and
considerate on the bench
- Legal research and writing
- Administrative skills
members apply whatever weight to these individual qualifications they feel is
qualifications for magistrate judges may include:
- Awareness of recent legal
- Management abilities
- Patience and tolerance
- Listening skills
- Independence from public and
are solicited from practicing lawyers about all applicants in the following
- Standard form questionnaires are
distributed to each practicing lawyer in the state, seeking an assessment
of the applicant's qualifications.
- Results of the questionnaire are
compiled and distributed to each member of the magistrates
- The expense of the questionnaire
and its tabulation is borne by the Supreme Court which has developed a
computer program for this purpose.
comment: Separate questionnaires are also distributed to district court clerk
offices which allows members of the public, who might wish to do so, to comment
on applicants. Such questionnaires are not "ballots" and require a
statement of the relationship to the applicant or the basis upon which any
public comments are made. All comments must be based on personal experience
with the candidate.
checks: Prior to interviewing any applicants, the following background checks
are made by the Supreme Court and the results communicated to the trial court
administrator who distributes the information to magistrates
- State records are searched to
determine whether any of the applicants have a prior criminal history.
- The Idaho State Bar is contacted
to obtain the results of any complaints and/or discipline actions against
- The Idaho State Tax Commission is
contacted to determine whether each of the applicants has filed all
required state tax returns, whether each applicant has timely paid all
state tax liabilities and/or whether the State Tax Commission has filed
any liens against an applicant.
- The withheld judgment registry
maintained by the Idaho Supreme Court is examined.
- When desired by the magistrates commission, a copy of university and law
school transcripts are obtained for review by the commission.
standard waiver statement is included in each signed magistrate applicant form
to allow access to the above records.)
district trial court administrator is responsible for contacting an applicant's
personal and professional references and for checking local criminal records.
Magistrates Commission Proceedings
and Related Matters
who may be present: Members of the public, press, and other judges may be
present at the interview stage of the selection process, but they may not be
present during the commissionís deliberations and vote on the applicants. With
the approval of the administrative district judge, the district trial court
administrator may be present at all proceedings of the magistrates
list of applicants: Magistrates commissions may adopt a process, subject to
standards of fairness, equal opportunity, and merit selection whereby the total
number of applications for a vacant position is reduced to a list of finalists
for purposes of receiving an interview by the magistrates
contact outside of proceedings: Whether individual commission members should
entertain individual contacts by applicants or their supporters outside of
commission proceedings is a matter of preference to be decided by each magistrates
commission. It is the preference of the Third Judicial District Magistrates
Commission to NOT contact members either directly or indirectly. All contact
should be made in writing through the office of the Trial Court Administrator.
The commission decides the method of voting in advance, including whether to
avoid a plurality vote on the first ballot to insure a candidate is not
selected by a minority of the commission.
to the fairness and equality standards and the suggested interview questions
set out above, the following interviewing techniques are suggested for use by magistrates commission members when interviewing applicants:
- When interviewing applicants, magistrates commission members should seek examples of
occasions when particular job qualifications were exhibited by the
applicant. Examples of past behavior are the appropriate measure of the
applicant's probable future behavior. Questions which ask for "an
example of a time when you . . ." are encouraged to provide a basis
for evaluating the applicant's probable success as a magistrate judge.
- Each applicant should be asked
the same core group of questions so that the magistrates
commission may compare the applicant's qualifications and so that each applicant
is given an equal opportunity to respond. Individualized questions may
also be asked of a particular applicant in order to solicit further
information or to clarify a response to one of the standard questions.
are briefed at the interview that it is a condition of employment, and should
be requested to confirm, that if hired, they will:
- move to and reside in the
official county of residence at the earliest possible time after taking
- agree to
travel throughout their district and the state, as assigned, to hear
Selection of Judges of the
district magistrates commission in each judicial
district fills a vacancy or a new judgeship by appointing a magistrate judge to
an initial 18-month term of office. Just prior to the conclusion of their first
18 months, the magistrate's commission evaluates the performance of the new
magistrate and may determine that the judge has successfully completed their
probationary period, they may extend the probationary period, or they can
remove the magistrate from office. Afterwards, the judge must stand for
retention election each four years on a non-partisan, judicial ballot, wherein
the electors of the judicial district are asked: "Shall Magistrate Judge
_________________ (name of the judge) of ________________ (name of county)
County of the Third Judicial District be retained in office?" Yes No
Goals of Performance Appraisals
gather and assess reliable information concerning judicial performance: (1) so
that each judge may maximize his or her potential for judicial excellence
through self-improvement, thereby enhancing the quality of justice to the
public; (2) to facilitate assignment and use of judges within the judiciary;
(3) to assess educational needs of new judges; and (4) to measure performance
of the newly-appointed magistrate to allow the commission to make a
determination as to whether the magistrate should be removed or retained during
the initial 18-month appointment.
Appraisal Criteria (Same as
Recruitment and Selection Criteria Above)
- Once the magistrate judge takes
office (and is not disapproved by a majority of the district judges in the
district), the magistrate judge must satisfactorily complete an 18-month
probationary period prior to standing election. The magistrates
commission conducts at least one appraisal of the magistrate judge's
performance prior to the expiration of the probationary period.
- Observations or recommendations
of the magistrates commission as a result of
studying the appraisals are communicated to the magistrate judge, prior to
the expiration of the probationary period.
- Data Collection: Information is
elicited from a variety of reliable sources, encouraged by assuring
confidentiality to respondents, and should be based on first-hand,
reasonably current knowledge. It is recommended that data be collected
through responses to questionnaires only and personal interviews with
court users not be incorporated into the appraisal process. Appropriately
drafted questionnaires are made available to lawyers within the judicial
district, to court and county personnel, court users, colleagues of the
judge, and local court administrators.
- Synthesis and Analysis: Results
of the questionnaires are tabulated and analyzed by the trial court
- Usage: Results of the judicial
performance appraisal are communicated by the magistrates
commission, through the trial court administrator, to the individual
judge. Results of the judicial performance appraisal remain absolutely
confidential. Because the purpose of the judicial performance appraisal
process is to provide an opportunity to each judge for self-improvement,
results of the judicial performance appraisal are not published in any
fashion, ranked in any way, or made available to anyone except members of
the magistrates commission, administrative district judge, trial court
administrator, and the judge whose performance has been appraised.
Educational needs, if any, shall be communicated to the administrative
director of the courts by the trial court administrator.
commissions may also consider asking judges whose performance is being
appraised to complete a self-assessment. The self-assessment is reviewed
by the magistrates commission, but it will be for
the judge's own use.