Idaho’s Court of Appeals was established in 1981 to help the District Courts out with the volume of cases needing review. The Supreme Court in Idaho assigns cases to the Court of Appeals. It consists of one Chief Judge along with two Associate Judges. These three individuals review cases from the lower courts to ensure that no errors were made, and justice was served. Each case is handled by the panel of three judges who review all the case information along with oral arguments and briefs prepared by each side. They then come to a decision called an “opinion.”
Not only does the Court of Appeals review cases from District Court but they also review decisions made by the State Public Utilities Commission and the Industrial Commission. More than half (51%) of all opinions made by the Court of Appeals are regarding civil cases, 39% are for criminal cases, and 18.5% are appeals from the PUC and the Industrial Commission. Some cases reviewed by the Court of Appeals are then requested to proceed to the Supreme Court. On average about 100 are requested, and only seven are accepted.
Because Idaho’s court system is Integrated, the Court of Appeals has the jurisdiction to hear any appeals assigned by the Supreme Court, however, the Supreme Court is not allowed to assign cases that involve a claim against the state, or extraordinary writs or appeals that include capital punishment. Nor can the Supreme Court assign appeals that come directly from the Industrial Commission or the Public Utilities Commission.
The Idaho Court of Appeals website has an Appellate Handbook available for download which provides all the information necessary to navigate a successful appeal. This guide is for self-represented individuals. The site also includes contact information for the Court of Appeals clerk if anyone has questions and detailed biographies of each of the four judges the sit on the bench.