From the October 2000 Idaho Observer:

Idaho Judicial Council releases report card to J.A.I.L.: 915 to 1

COEUR D'ALENE -- Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (J.A.I.L.) Idaho Chapter President Rose Johnson finally received the Idaho Judicial Council's (IJC) report card on the number of complaints filed versus the number of formal charges filed against judges in the state of Idaho. “Only one out of 915 complaints against judges in this state between 1995 and 1999 resulted in disciplinary action by the IJC,” said Johnson.

The report card was FAXed to Johnson by IJC Executive Director Robert G. Hamlin August 21. According to Hamlin, the IJC received 169 complaints in 1995; 182 complaints in 1996; 202 complaints in 1997; 167 complaints in 1998 and; 195 complaints in 1999. The only formal charges filed by the state agency in charge of disciplining errant judges was prosecuted in 1996. That one IJC action reportedly resulted in the judge merely being censured, or, as Johnson described it, “...the judge just got his hand slapped.”

At the federal level, Idaho District Federal Judge Edward Lodge has had over 400 formal complaints filed against him for allegations of fraud, conspiracy and conflicts of interest in violation of judicial canons of conduct. The federal Judicial Fitness Commission has never prosecuted Judge Lodge for his provably criminal behavior from the bench.

J.A.I.L. for judges was born out of recognition that state agencies responsible for disciplining judges are merely the facade of representative government. Though thousands of valid complaints against judges are being filed all over the nation, few, if any, result in appropriate disciplinary action by the state or federal agencies commissioned to do so.

Johnson is working to get the J.A.I.L. initiative on the ballot in Idaho (The Idaho Observer, July, 2000). Idaho Rep. Jim Clark has formally stated his support of the Idaho J.A.I.L. initiative. “ agree to accept responsibility for carrying this matter through the Idaho House of Representatives,” said Rep. Clark.

Johnson can be reached by phone at: (208) 773-6274; email:

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