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Idaho’s Chief Judge Worried about Judge Shortage

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Chief Justice Roger Burdick told lawmakers the graying of Idaho’s judiciary poses a “vexing problem” when it comes to replacing judges slated to retire in droves in the coming half-decade.

Burdick made his comments Tuesday in his annual State of the Judiciary, an overview to lawmakers outlining challenges facing Idaho’s courts as 2014 opens. In 2013 alone, five judges retired. Within five years, Burdick says, nearly two-thirds of district judges and eight of the nine appellate judges will be eligible to retire.

Burdick worries pay and benefits for Idaho’s judge are insufficient to attract the highest-caliber candidates. Since 2000, there have been 43 district judges appointed. Only about a third of the time, Burdick says, has the governor had a full slate of four candidates to choose a replacement judge.

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