The Idaho Association of Counties has sent a memo to its members in the wake of media coverage first reported by the GUARDIAN, advising them not to panic when it comes to handling misdemeanor probation programs.
Counties are being advised by the association director, Dan Chadwick, “At this point, it is my advice to the counties to NOT change anything in the county systems.”
Good advice, but Chadwick offers them a glimmer of hope with an argument from a Kootenai County civil case which claims “adult probation” as mentioned in the constitution refers only to felony cases. That argument has not bee ruled upon by the high court.
He tells member counties the interpretation “passed constitutional muster” in the Allied Bail Bonds Kootenai case. Sort of. The district court ruling on the use of credit cards for bond granted a motion by the county to dismiss the case in part based on the claim by Allied that the county operated probation system was unconstitutional. District Court decisions do NOT have precedent.
In fact, NO appeals court has ruled on the constitutionality of county probation programs. During an appeal to the Supremes this summer, the issue was withdrawn at oral argument and the court specifically declined to address that point of constitutional law.
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