From the August 2003 Idaho Observer:

Idaho Judicial Accountability Act gearing up for state-wide petition drive

Long, short titles accurate this time

POST FALLS -- Judicial accountability activists all over the state are preparing to mount a state-wide petition drive to accumulate some 50,000 signatures so that the Idaho Judicial Accountability Act (IJAA) will be on the ballot for the 2004 election.

IJAA is a more comprehensive variation of the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law (JAIL) for Judges that was proposed for 2002 (The Idaho Observer, July, 2000). When the ballot title for JAIL was published in November, 2001, it contained long and short ballot titles that did not accurately describe the initiative. Conversations with Deputy Attorney General William von Tagen, whose office was responsible for drafting the ballot titles, indicated that the state AG intentionally worded them to confuse voters (The Idaho Observer, March, 2002).

Regardless of obstructionist tactics at the highest levels of Idaho government, when JAIL began touring the state in March, 2002, it was able to collect some 23,000 signatures in just five months. “We received positive responses from people all over Idaho,” said former JAILer-in-Chief Rose Johnson. “People realize judicial accountability, or, more accurately the lack of judicial accountability, is really a problem that needs to be solved,” she said.

Johnson, who has reformed under IJAA, is happy with the ballot titles this time around. “The secretary of state approved both long and short ballot titles that accurately reflect our initiative this time.”

Johnson believes she learned a lot from last year's petition drive and is much better prepared this time around. Having an additional year to gather signatures will also increase IJAA's chances for being on the ballot in 2004.

Those who were part of the 2002 JAIL petition drive are being contacted to help coordinate the state-wide petition drive. Those who are interested in helping to circulate petitions are encouraged to visit the website at or contact Rose Johnson at (208) 773-6274.

Idaho Judicial Accountability Act of 2004

Short Title

Initiative Abolishing Idaho Judicial Council, Limiting Judicial Immunity and Creating Commission to Review Complaints of Judicial Misconduct and Providing Sanctions.

Long Title

An initiative abolishing the Idaho Judicial Council and limiting judicial immunity in most instances, creating a 15 member commission to review complaints of judicial misconduct and granting the commission the power and authority to impose sanctions and setting forth the duties of the commission; establishing criteria for commission membership and selection; establishing criteria for the location of commission offices; establishing compensation of commissioners; authorizing the commission to hire special prosecutors, advisors, investigators and staff; establishing procedures for criminal complaints; establishing statutes of limitations; repealing chapter 21 of title 1, Idaho Code; creating chapter 25 of title 1, Idaho Code entitled the Idaho Judicial Accountability Act; Amending Idaho Code 19-4201A, Amending Idaho Code 19-4202; Amending Idaho Code 19-3945; Amending Idaho Code 2-215.

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