Gem State Roundup

‘A line has been crossed’: Idaho Supreme Court says judges, staff under attack

By: - February 2, 2023 8:56 am
Members of the Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho Court of Appeals

Members of the Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho Court of Appeals listen as Idaho Gov. Brad Little (out of frame) gives his State of the State speech in the House chambers of the State Capitol building on Jan. 9, 2023. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Idaho judges, their spouses and children, and employees of the courts have been targeted with harassment and threats, the Idaho Supreme Court said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

The statement suggested that the attacks are meant to undermine the independence of the judicial branch and to interfere with Idahoans’ constitutional rights. However, the statement did not say whether the attacks seem to be related to specific cases or court rulings.

“We judges understand that disagreement with our decisions is part of the landscape in which we operate,” Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan said in the court’s public statement. “But when disagreement becomes personal, to the point of threats against personal safety and security … a line has been crossed.”

The Idaho Capital Sun and Boise State Public Radio reported last year on a growing number of incidents in which extremists targeted judges, prosecutors and health care workers. The extremists used doxxing campaigns, posts on social media and by showing up at their homes.

The Idaho Supreme Court’s statement this week said the recent “cruel or threatening actions” are not justified under the First Amendment as freedom of speech.

“No one should have to experience harassment or threats in the course of their work,” the statement said. “… Particularly egregious is behavior that targets a public servant’s family. Spouses and children of Idaho judges have been exposed to everything from vulgar phone calls to people tracking them in public. There simply is no justification for these acts.”


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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton was a senior investigative reporter with the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover included health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.