The ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho, and the global law firm Hogan Lovells filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the State of Idaho over its defective public defense system. Thousands of Idahoans enter a defective criminal justice system with an overburdened and under resourced public defense delivery system. A state trials court dismissed our lawsuit in January of 2016 the grounds of standing, ripeness and separation of powers. We immediately appealed and in April of 2017 the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the ACLU/Hogan Lovells lawsuit against the state should move forward, holding that "the counties have no practical ability to effect statewide change" and so "the state must implement the remedy." On December 15, both sides in the lawsuit argud in front the state District Court over whether the case should be certified as a class action.

Idaho’s leaders must establish and fund a statewide public defense system with uniform standards for workloads, performance, and training. They must make the Sixth Amendment a reality for all Idahoans.

This case was certified as a class action in January 2018. Read Questions and Answers About the Public Defense Class Action Lawsuit to find out more about what this means.



Ritchie Eppink, Jason Williamson, Molly Kafka, David Maxwell, Elizabeth Lockwood

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Hogan & Lovells US LLP

Date filed

June 17, 2015


Idaho Fourth Judicial District Court and Idaho Supreme Court


Samuel A. Hoagland



Case number

CV-OC-2015-10240 (District); 46882-2019 (Supreme)

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