Since 2005 Idaho Legal Aid Services has worked to obtain funding from the state of Idaho to enable low income Idahoans to access our judicial system. We have requested either a direct appropriation or $10 filing fee assessed on specific civil case filings to provide free civil legal representation to low income veterans, victims of domestic violence/sexual assault, abused/neglected children, seniors who have been exploited and persons facing foreclosure. With Wyoming’s March 2010 passage of a $10 civil filing fee to help low-income residents of that state access Wyoming’s court system, Idaho has become the only state in the nation that does not provide financial support to its legal services provider. Idaho Legal Aid Services has pursued state funding because we are currently unable to meet roughly 80% of the legal needs of Idaho's poor. Those we turn away frequently need help for problems like leaving a violent relationship, obtaining a guardianship for a child with drug addicted parents, helping a senior obtain nursing home care, or advice on controlling runaway medical costs after a major illness. We have included materials below that show what other states are doing in this regard and that demonstrate the importance of this effort. To be successful we need the support of all those in Idaho who value our people's ability to access the courts created to serve them.
Nationwide map of State funding for Legal Services through Court Fees, Fines or Appropriations
If you have questions, feel free to contact Idaho Legal Aid Services Executive Director, Ernesto Sanchez or Deputy Director, Jim Cook at (208) 336-8980.
Equal justice under the law is not just a caption on the façade of the Supreme Court building. It is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society... It is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.
~Justice Lewis Powell