Judging The Judge–Politics Trumps Logic

sealIn an unusual case before the Idaho Supreme Court set for argument July 22 at 3 p.m., Second District Judge John Bradbury has essentially been brought up on charges by the state Judicial Coiuncil for not sleeping in Grangeville.

The case revolves around a definition of the word “RESIDE”–not unlike the infamous quote from former President Bill Clinton over what “IS” is.

Bradbury was elected in 2002 to be “chambered” in Grangeville, county seat of Idaho County–the largest in the state stretching from Washington to Montana.

He then bought a home in Grangeville, changed his home owner’s exemption from his house in Lewiston to the one in Grangeville and registered to vote in Idaho County, where he has voted ever since. He claims to be a resident of Grangeville.

That’s where the word play began. Bradbury’s duties take him to Orofino in Clearwater County and Nezperce in Lewis County, both in the Second Judicial District. There are more cases in Orofino–due in part to a state prison–and the communte is much easier and cheaper from his Lewiston home which is also in the District. He claims it is logical and cheaper to sleep in Lewiston, but the Judicial Council which oversees judges claims he is breaking the law.

Idaho has seven judicial districts and SEVEN DIFFERENT LAWS detailing where judges have to live. The GUARDIAN finds it absurd that these statutes are constantly tweaked and altered to accommodate the whims of legislators, commissioners, and judges.

We think all seven residency codes should be repealed and replaced by a simple statute that reads: “ALL DISTRICT JUDGES SHALL RESIDE WITHIN THE DISTRICT THEY SERVE WHETHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED.”

Bradbury himself had sought an amendment to the Second District law that would have allowed him to reside in Lewiston. He claims, “For three successive years, 2006, 2007 and 2008, the seven administrative judges that comprise the judicial conference unanimously voted to recommend that the Supreme Court sponsor the amendment. Each year the court rejected the recommendation without providing Judge Bradbury a hearing or giving a reason for its decision.”

A disturbing aspect of the case is an allegation in documents filed by Bradbury’s legal team that decisions were made by the Judicial Council based upon evidence not revealed to Bradbury. His accuser was also never revealed.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mr. Watcher
    Jul 10, 2009, 7:27 am

    To simplify the law would be the correct thing to do. However because the laws on the matter are a bit flaky doesn’t matter. The reasons I say that is, its not a matter of what is easy to do to get to and from work and so on. To skirt the law to save a little gasoline and time is no reason not to follow the laws that are in place. The old saying goes, if you don’t like the laws then work on seeing them get changed or follow them. If the people in the system don’t want to follow the laws that they are paid to enforce. Then we have different systems of laws and justice depending on if you are one of the tax fed or a productive citizen. Which goes to the heart of what is wrong with our country today. The tax fed are acting like we the productive citizens who pay for government are servants for government.
    This judge clearly knew the laws and didn’t follow them because they were a bother and hassle to him. Which goes to show the arrogance of his Royal Judgeship as he collects weight on his tax fed rump.

  2. You missed the retribution angle. Judge Bradbury barely lost his bid to be a Supreme Court Justice. This action followed shortly thereafter. Punishment for rocking the boat?

    “This judge clearly knew the laws and didn’t follow them because they were a bother and hassle to him.”–yes he clearly knew the law which is why he took pains to observe it. Dave’s right, they’re punishing him based upon the fact that he doesn’t always sleep in Grangeville.

    Its ironic that the Supreme Court is currently circulating a survey among bar members on why they’re getting so few applicants for District Judge positions. Perhaps they lost their mirror.

  3. The Idaho State Bar and other lawyer things, for years, have been led by a bunch of feckless gladhanders with a disease known as Senior Lawyeritis. This is quite clearly a case of retribution, using the power of government to punish a malcontent. This is the same crowd that freaked out when people started criticizing a Supreme Court justice about 10 years ago and proposed a commission to respond to criticism of judges. Complete, utter morons.

  4. Legal Beagle
    Jul 11, 2009, 7:10 am

    The Supremes would have us believe that they are above petty politics and payback. They would have us believe that because JB is right. Given a chance, they would gladly do nothing but play politics. And, secure in their too often appointed seats, they are free to do pay back their detractors. God help the attorney that disagrees with them that subsequently needs to take a case that high. Dictators by any other name.

  5. I am actually less concerned with the actual members of the current Supreme Court than I am with the Judicial Council and some other committees that run law practice in Idaho. The people on those types of committees tend to be status quo-ists, protective of their livings and its institutions, and motivated to go along and get along.

  6. Clearwater County resident
    Jul 23, 2009, 2:02 pm

    As part of Clearwater County, I can understand the importance of having Judge Bradbury! In Clearwater County last year our felony case load trumped that of Idaho County by dozens of cases. Setting politics aside and using only common sense, wouldn’t it make since to reside closer to where your work load is? Let alone to save the tax payers of Idaho mileage reimbursement?

    Judge Bradbury does an outstanding job and we’re glad he has the ability and willingness to take a stand and try to better our legislative system here in Idaho!

    Kudos to Judge Bradbury…I hope for our legislative system’s sake that he prevails.

  7. Average Citizen
    Aug 5, 2009, 11:38 pm

    Why should Judge Bradbury be above the law. If he doesn’t like it then he should go to his legislator to try to change it. Isn’t that what the rest of us have to do? The law is the law we ALL have to follow them. Oh wait a minute he’s a judge and he knows what the law means so his interpretation of HIS CASE is that “he doesn’t have to follow the law.” “It’s Vague.” So the next time I get a speeding ticket if I don’t think I was speeding then I don’t have to accept or pay the ticket. Really what does speeding really mean. Right…

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