Jury trials are happening again in Idaho after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a huge backlog of cases needs to be resolved. In a typical year, the Bannock County Prosecutor’s office might have a half-dozen jury trials. Now, we are averaging about three trials a month, or thirty-six per year. As a result, other attorneys are covering work, beyond their regular caseloads, for those attorneys who are in trial, which at times makes it challenging to provide services to our clients (elected officials, department heads, law enforcement, etc.) as quickly as we would like. We anticipate it will take approximately one year to work through the backlog, if not longer.
This office, thankfully, is staffed by people who are dedicated to doing their part in holding people accountable for criminal conduct and improving public safety, and providing the best legal services possible for our clients and the citizens of Bannock County.
My predecessor, Mark Heideman, told me before he left office that being the elected prosecutor is the “best job in the world.” In some ways, I agree. Every day is different, and you don’t have to wait long before something new and interesting happens. And the county employees are wonderful to work with. On the other hand, there are days, albeit few and far between, when I scratch my head and wonder if I’m really a good fit for the job. I suppose that is the ebb and flow of any career.
I encourage anyone who has an idea about how this office can improve its performance to speak up. I learned early that I don’t know all the answers. In fact, there are times I don’t know there is a question that needs to be answered. I invite input from anyone, not just those who work in this office, on how we can do a better job, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an idea or concern.