What are the qualities of an ideal judge?
Merit selection criteria are identified in the State Bar Survey as follows:
• Legal ability and experience
• Integrity and independence
• Knowledge and understanding of the law
• Judicial temperament and demeanor
• Other attributes including mental and physical capacity, record of community involvement, devotion to improvement of the quality of justice, and demonstrated sound judgment in professional life.
— Idaho Judicial Council
Two Grangeville attorneys are in the running for the open Second Judicial District judge position, being vacated by outgoing Judge Michael Griffin.
Finalists chosen by the Idaho Judicial Council last week were Gregory FitzMaurice and Joseph Wright, both in private practice, along with Kathleen Trever, a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Idaho in Boise. These candidates have been submitted to Governor Butch Otter for review and determination, which his office expects a decision on sometime next month.
“It’s most important for him [Governor Otter] that he make the right decision, rather than meet some self-imposed deadline,” said spokesman Jon Hanian, adding that it will be made as expediently as possible. The governor’s immediate schedule is a tight one that includes preparing the State of the State Address as well as the upcoming inaugural.
Governor Otter will be conducting his own due diligence on the candidates, he said, conducting interviews with the three as well as contacting individuals who know them.
“Basically a job interview, albeit a very special job,” Hanian said, on which the governor will tentatively render a decision in January.
District judge annual salary is $124,000. District Judge Griffin will be retiring effective Jan. 6, 2015, having served in the position since his election in 2010. Prior to this he served 25 years, from 1982 to 2007, as magistrate judge in Grangeville, before which served as county deputy prosecutor and in private practice.
Overall, six candidates were submitted in October for consideration by the Idaho Judicial Council, among which included Idaho County Prosecuting Attorney Kirk MacGregor, Canyon County Public Defender Randall Grove of Nampa and Tevis Hill, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney and civil counsel for Boundary County.