The magistrates commission has the following responsibilities under the statutes of Idaho:
- Make recommendations concerning the number and location of magistrate judges within the judicial district (subject to funding appropriates by the legislature);
- Appoint magistrate judges within the judicial district on a non-partisan, merit basis; and
- Conduct studies for the improvement of the administration of justice within the district and to make recommendations for improvements to the legislature, the Supreme Court, the district court, and such other governmental agencies as may be interested in the recommendations of the magistrates commission.
The determinations, appointments, and recommendations of the commission made under the first two subsections above are subject to disapproval by a majority of the district judges in the district within a 30-day period after written notice to the district judges of the commission’s actions, unless such time period is extended for good cause by the Supreme Court.
Appointment, Qualifications, and Terms of Office
As general qualifications, each member of the magistrates commission must be over the age of 18, of good moral character, a United States citizen, and a resident of the state of Idaho and the particular judicial district for which the magistrates commission is assigned.
The magistrates commission consists of the following:
- The administrative district judge of the particular district serves as the chair of the commission and has full voting rights on all matters to come before the commission. The administrative district judge may designate another district judge in the district to serve on the magistrates commission;
- The chair of the board of the county commissioners for each county in the district (or other member of the board designated by the chair);
- Mayor of three municipalities within the district. One of the three municipalities must be of a population over 10,000;
- Two qualified electors appointed by the governor of the state of Idaho;
- Two attorneys appointed by the Idaho State Bar; and
- One magistrate judge appointed by the administrative district judge.
The attorney members of the commission serve two-year terms up to a total of six years. All other members serve six-year terms and may succeed themselves, except the terms of the county commissioners and mayors end when they cease to be mayors or county commissioners.
How Vacancies on the Commission are Created
- All voting members: death, resignation, or member moving outside of the county or district.
- Administrative district judge or district judge member: the disqualification of 1 above and loss of official status.
- County Commission members: the disqualification in 1 above and loss of official status.
- Mayor members: the disqualification of 1 above and loss of official status.
- Attorney members: the disqualification of 1 above and suspension or disbarment from the practice of law. A temporary vacancy for an attorney member may be created if the attorney member and an applicant are currently practicing in the same firm or were engaged in the practice of law as partners.
NOTE: Except for resignation or death, all members continue to serve until their successors are appointed and qualify.