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Senate Bill 1380 — Gov liability, defending attorneys

Senate Bill 1380 — Gov liability, defending attorneys

Parrish Miller
March 2, 2020

Bill description: SB 1380 extends limited liability to public defenders and indigent defense providers. 

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

Idaho Code provides unique forms of limited liability to governmental entities and to their employees, shielding them from lawsuits and liability in most cases. As long as they did not act with "malice or criminal intent," no liability applies even in cases where their actions cause "injury to a person or property" or when there was an abuse of discretion on the part of the employee.

SB 1380 applies this same lack of liability to indigent defense providers and to "any attorney employed by an indigent defense provider or otherwise assigned to represent adults or juveniles at public expense."

This bill would apply one standard of liability for private sector criminal defense attorneys and another for public sector indigent defense providers. This is an unequal application of law, and a shield from liability, which may also serve to encourage more reckless and potentially harmful behavior on the part of indigent defense providers relative to their private sector counterparts. 


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