Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Idaho Criminal Justice Commission - When? Who?

In her June 16, 2005, Eye on Boise weblog post titled Big prison-building cost looms, Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Z. Russell noted that Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne has yet to appoint the members to the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission.

That Commission was created on January 10, 2005, when the Governor signed and sealed Executive Order No. 2005-01 "Establishing a criminal justice commission for oversight of the state's criminal justice system."

Russell's blog entry revealed that the Governor's chief of staff said the Governor was considering adding more legislators to the Commission. He also said the Governor has no particular timetable for forming the Commission.

More legislators? There are already two who are de facto members by title: The Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee (currently Denton Darrington, District 27 , Declo) and the Chair of the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee (currently Debbie S. Field, District 18, Boise ). I'm not convinced adding more legislators will improve the chances of meeting the Commission's objectives, but if it is going to happen, I hope that the Governor will nominate State Representative George Sayler, District 4, Coeur d'Alene, and State Senator Shawn Keough, District 1, Sandpoint. The composition of the Commission identified in Executive Order 2005-01 is weighted too heavily to southern Idaho.

Though it is possible that one or more of the three citizens-at-large members could come from northern Idaho, it is made less likely because of the ninth provision in the Executive Order which reads, "Commission members will serve without compensation or reimbursement for expenses, including related travel and per diem to attend Commission meetings." There are certainly some people in northern Idaho who could afford to travel to Boise at their own personal expense at least four times annually as required by the Executive Order, but their experience and credentials qualifying them to serve on the Commission would need to be closely examined.

The issues identified in Executive Order 2005-01 need to be prioritized and then addressed. Some objectives already identified may need re-prioritizing or even elimination. Other more pressing objectives may need to be added. If the Commission is to have any credibility and effectiveness, if it is meant to be more than a commitee to rubber-stamp the Governor's criminal justice objectives, the Commission's membership needs to be completed and it needs to meet. Soon.


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