Public defender John Adams to be history - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Public defender John Adams to be history

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Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:58 am, Sat Mar 23, 2013.

COEUR d'ALENE - Lawyer John Adams said Friday he has been notified his last day as Kootenai County's chief public defender will be Sept. 30.

Numerous members of the criminal-justice community stepped forward to praise his work and express their disappointment and shock at the news.

The Kootenai County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday to end his term this fall.

"It's absolutely a termination," Adams said.

Adams said the termination notice comes three weeks after he made a formal complaint against Commissioner Jai Nelson, saying she had allegedly harassed him since she joined the board. The notice comes two weeks after Adams, 59, told Commission Chairman Todd Tondee that he has cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy and will need a day off each week for the treatment. Facing the loss of his health insurance is scary, Adams said.

"I get this one-line memo (from the commissioners) saying my services are no longer required," he said. "It seems like pretty shabby treatment for someone who put in 17 years."

Adams has headed up 26 murder cases for the county, and seven death-penalty cases. Joseph E. Duncan III is his most notorious client.

Nelson said the commissioners are going to do a "comprehensive study" of the county's public defense system. Setting an expiration date for Adams' services is the first step in that process, she said.

"He may be reappointed," Nelson said Friday. "Periodic evaluation is something that's part of the commissioners' duty."

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association published a study in 2010 saying Kootenai County has the best public defense office in Idaho. The report also said there was too much political influence from the county's board of commissioners.

Nelson said the county hopes to complete its study by this fall. At that time, it's unlikely the commissioners will choose to reappoint Adams.

"They're just going to put somebody in there who they think they can control," Adams said.

"These terms aren't meant to be indefinite," Nelson said. "People don't own these offices."

In a Sept. 30 report of Adams' job performance, Nelson wrote: "The relationship between you and the board has continued to deteriorate over the last year and there have been several instances where you have communicated with the board members in an angry, disrespectful and unprofessional manner."

She said he needed improvement in budgeting, "respectful communication," following "board directives," attendance, and "timely response in communicating issues and concerns with a concerted effort at internal resolution of conflicts."

She graded him a "6" in "job understanding" on a scale of one to 10. He got a "5" in job performance, "6" in productivity, "6" in dependability and efficiency, and "3" in cooperation. His overall score was "5," putting him in the "marginal" range, meaning his performance requires improvement and he needs more than normal supervision.

Evaluations last fall by members of his staff graded him at "9" or "10" in those categories. Many gave him "10" across the board.

One deputy public defender in his office at the time, Anne Taylor, wrote in her evaluation that Adams is an asset to the legal community "and we in Kootenai County are extremely lucky to have him here."

She said he is well-respected throughout the state and is an "excellent" boss.

"He is a good and caring man," Taylor wrote.

Deputy public defender Jed Whitaker wrote in his evaluation of Adams: "Best boss I have ever had."

In an October 2010 exit interview, then deputy defender Sean Walsh wrote: "John Adams was a superb mentor to me, and he does an excellent job of running a very busy law office."

In October, Adams responded to Nelson's evaluation of his performance, writing that in the past 16 years he had received evaluations "laudatory of my work as the public defender until you came to work for the county and then the evaluations of my work have been steadily in decline."

He listed his salary at the time at $99,000.

He added that "either I no longer do a good job as the public defender or you do not evaluate me based upon my legal work, but rather on some other criteria that is simply not a substantive aspect of providing quality legal services to the people that live in our community."

The reaction in the legal community to the commissioners' action was swift and loud.

Craig Kosonen, who spent 25 years on the bench in North Idaho as a magistrate and judge, said Friday, "This is disastrous."

Kosonen, who retired as a 1st District Court judge in August 2001, said Adams operates a "solid" public defense office despite a severe lack of time and money to meet caseloads.

He said that if Adams is being let got for "personal reasons," the commissioners' action is "inexcusable."

David Ducharme, a Coeur d'Alene trial lawyer, said the people of Kootenai County will be hurt the most.

"You never know when you're going to need the help of the public defender office," Ducharme said.

He described Adams as a fearless trial lawyer, a talented cross-examiner, and great leader of his deputies.

"I don't think they can replace John, with the degree of professionalism he brought to the job and instilled in his deputies," he said. "The most professional thing I've seen in my 33 years in law was John's representation of Duncan. That was a beyond-difficult job."

He added, "The county is going to need a politician in that position now to put up with this person Jai Nelson, who is a wannabe lawyer."

James Siebe, one of North Idaho's top criminal defense lawyers, described the news as "catastrophic."

Siebe said, "John is the best guy for any public defender job anywhere."

He pointed out that Adams is listed as one of the best lawyers in the U.S. every year.

"He's a lawyer's lawyer, and a mentor for lawyers in the state," he said. "He takes care of his troops."

He said Adams could have easily been a giant in any field of law.

"He had to fight with the commissioners all along the way," Siebe said.

Adams was hassled unfairly by Nelson, Siebe said.

"The public defender office has to be an independent functionary to work properly," Siebe said. "You can't be part of a team with the commissioners and the prosecutors."

He said "those caught in the jaws of the justice system" are now going to be punished by the commissioners' decision.

Former Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas said he was "shocked," describing the firing as "shameful."

"John Adams has been the best public defender in the history of Kootenai County," said Douglas, who served as the county's prosecutor for 20 years. "He is the most qualified criminal defense lawyer that I know, and he has saved the county vast sums of money through the efficient running of his office."

Douglas said Adams is the most qualified death-penalty lawyer in Idaho, a tough adversary, and a dedicated and loyal public servant.

"Perhaps the commissioners didn't truly appreciate his abilities and talents," Douglas said. "He will be impossible to replace."

He called Adams' firing the result of "unnecessary meddling by the commissioners."

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46 comments:

  • Yoda1970 posted at 3:05 pm on Wed, Mar 27, 2013.

    Yoda1970 Posts: 5

    My guess is the Commissioners want to disband the entire PD Office despite the warning from the ACLU. These three are so ego driven that common sense makes no sense to them. I just hope they change their minds before Mr. Adams and/or the ACLU tags them for multiple millions of dollars at tax payer expense. The only good thing that could come from that would be for a court to find the Commissioners did this as some type of personal retaliation which would likely result in Mr. Adams being able to sue them personally and individually. This would make their personal assets subject to collection for any judgment he is likely to recover. Can you say personal bankruptcy???

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 6:59 am on Tue, Mar 26, 2013.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    I find this Statement interesting, "He may be reappointed," Nelson said Friday. "Periodic evaluation is something that's part of the commissioners' duty."

    The Commissioners are currently doing "evaluations" of all County positions, Have they all received termination notices as part of these "evaluations" so they "may be reappointed", or is this special treatment.

    With this one statement, I think when the courts get involved, jai will be forced to reappoint him. This is a prime example of why important offices should be elected and not appointed.

     
  • MyOpinion posted at 1:32 am on Tue, Mar 26, 2013.

    MyOpinion Posts: 36

    Jai said: "He may be reappointed."

    Well then, I suggest you do that post haste to mitigate damages you've already created; to wit, for Retaliatory Termination - three weeks after he filed a formal complaint against YOU (and I don't imagine John Adams suffers fools lightly - he's too good a man, attorney and public servant) AND firing him just after learning he had cancer and needed treatment!!!??? REALLY?! Contract or not, the law of equity (but you know nothing about that as a nurse and decorator), the courts and ANY JURY on the face of the Earth would find you have harmed him - and we taxpayers - greatly. But then, in my opinion, you and your fellow non-trained idiots don't have a scintilla of knowledge or expertise to judge a man of John Adam's stature to begin with!

    As a taxpayer, I demand more from you and I don't plan to pay for your egregious errors in judgement and petty, vindictive power plays. Reverse the decision before you expose ALL OF US to even more monetary damages! Do I need to remind you he should also add 'intentional infliction of emotional distress' (in the litany of bona fide causes of action against you and ALL of us taxpayers) due to his recent diagnosis of cancer? Will there also be punitive damages for the heinous nature of your decision as well?

    Perhaps you and the boys should reverse your decision before we are forced to find out.

    Let's face it. You work for US. I'd prefer John Adams maintained his job than any of you Commissioners any day of any week, month or year. You clearly don't know what they hey you're doing! That is MyOpinion.

     
  • boohoo2U posted at 10:42 pm on Mon, Mar 25, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    and the communisches will follow in November.

     
  • Yoda1970 posted at 8:33 pm on Mon, Mar 25, 2013.

    Yoda1970 Posts: 5

    So I stopped by the Commish office today and I see they are dealing with this by remodeling their office again. $28,000 is what I have been told. This is the second remodel they have done since Nelson, Tondee and Green have been in there. They better start spending their money because the ACLU is going to come in and hit this County like a Hammer. I wonder what the cost of defense will be for firing a man with cancer who asked for some time off for treatment. I can't understand how evil people can be. All three need to go....

     
  • Hayden Joe posted at 7:39 pm on Mon, Mar 25, 2013.

    Hayden Joe Posts: 168

    I hear that the county's long-time HR Director disappeared a few weeks back all of a sudden like.

    Might it be related to all the other monkey business happening down at the county building?

    Anyone know what happened to him/her??

    Doesn't sound like they left on their own.

     
  • Jenny posted at 4:40 pm on Mon, Mar 25, 2013.

    Jenny Posts: 41

    I believe the "Interior Decorator" bit off more than she can chew!

     
  • Diamond Jim posted at 9:30 am on Mon, Mar 25, 2013.

    Diamond Jim Posts: 48

    If the commissioners do not revoke this unlawful termination action, there will be enough support for a recall petition. From the comments here, all political persuasions feel strongly that the termination of a well respected, cancer patient after he asks for time off for chemo, is WRONG.

     
  • efromm posted at 10:09 pm on Sun, Mar 24, 2013.

    efromm Posts: 648

    Mr Adams I would like to offer you my heart felt love. I hope that you make a complete recovery from your Cancer. What they are doing to you is evil. I wish nothing but the best for you and your family. God Bless you. And thank you for all your hard work!

     
  • Joseph Jr posted at 10:52 am on Sun, Mar 24, 2013.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512


    Have we forgotten that we live in the United States of America? A percentage of all accused are innocent. We know the powers that be, can trump up charges, or minimize charges ("good ol' boy club). We need passionate defense attorney's who represent those who cannot afford a private defense attorney. WHO can afford hundreds of dollars an hour? Only a few...and the final outcome always reflects the financial status of the accused.

    Reminds me of some switcheroo's that took place a couple years ago (prosecutors who are elected). An elected prosecutor from one county was sent to a southern Idaho county, the prosecutor from that county was sent to replace a northern county prosecutor who was sent to the county where the first prosecutor was elected. They spun these people around, thinking no one would be the wiser. The paper either didn't care to expose this, or was told not to expose this. It wasn't rocket science.

    Why you ask? Well, a prosecutor who claims to be tough on child sex crimes, can't really prosecute a commissioner's nephew, can he? Nope...

    The commissioner's are elected. Stop electing the same people!

     
  • Rogue Cop posted at 9:15 am on Sun, Mar 24, 2013.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2271

    Communicating through your lower blow hole again, huh foolist? The last time you tried that L&I horsezhit it blew up in your face. You just can't help help playing the fool, can you?

     
  • taxpayer posted at 9:11 am on Sun, Mar 24, 2013.

    taxpayer Posts: 314

    next election we will have all new commissioners

     
  • Jenny posted at 6:38 am on Sun, Mar 24, 2013.

    Jenny Posts: 41

    There is really something wrong when an interior decorator can fire one of the top attorney's in the country. This women needs to be impeached!

     
  • Rogue Cop posted at 9:38 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2271

    Maybe the Public Defender should be elected like the Prosecutor and that would de-politicize the job insofar as he/she being subject to the whim of elected officials. Either that, or amend his contract whereby they could only fire him for cause. He would then be entitled to an administrative hearing if they terminated him.

    I know John Adams professionally. He is a good man. 2 years ago The National Legal Aid and Defender Association published a study saying Kootenai County has the best public defense office in Idaho. The report also said there was too much political influence from the county's board of commissioners. Hint hint!

     
  • MixMart posted at 8:47 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    MixMart Posts: 957

    sdpd92:

    "I do know for a fact that after the court assigns a public defender to a defendant the public defenders office doesn’t call the client. The defendant has to call that office numerous times just to get a response."

    They are attorneys, not baby sitters.When a public defender is assigned, the court informs the defendant it is their responsibility to contact their attorney. Likewise, they are not social workers or hand holders. Believe it or not, the people they represent are often extremely dysfunctional.

    "The public defender had him plead guilty"

    This is impossible. When a person enters a plea of guilty they are questioned extensively by the judge as to whether or not they understand, and whether or not their plea is voluntary and intelligent. If you knew anything at all about the court system you would know that.

    "I personally would want a pit bull defending me "

    You watch too much TV.

    It is the dysfunctional nature of the public defender clientele to blame their situation on someone else besides themselves. The cops arrest, the judge finds probable cause, witnesses testify and the prosecutor conducts the trial. But when it all is over with, the public defender is blamed. Mr. Adams deserves a lot of respect for putting up with this kind of garbage for all these years and still doing an excellent job of it.

    "Unfortunately for him he does work for the commissioners and has to answer to them in a professional and timely manner"

    No. According to the Idaho Bar, the Idaho Supreme Court and the rules of professional responsibility Mr. Adams first and foremost responsibility is to his clients and not the Commissioners. A responsibility he conducts very well.

    Disclaimer: I don't work for John Adams and never have, nor do I socialize with him. I have dealt with him in an adversarial capacity and I respect his skill and dedication.

     
  • 1voice posted at 8:27 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    1voice Posts: 56

    Are there no laws on the books about elected officials abusing their positions, wrongful actions - anything like that?

     
  • 1voice posted at 8:25 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    1voice Posts: 56

    Pubcrawler, I completely agree with you about reducing many misdemeanors to infractions. The laws around here are out-of-control, criminilizing decent people, causing all kinds of trauma, and costing taxpayers a fortune.

     
  • Sluggo posted at 7:31 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Sluggo Posts: 5

    In addition to the emotional and thankless nature of the job, 26 murder trials is a career for 3-4 lawyers! Adams deserves all of our respect and deep thanks. Blessings John to you and your family, and great shame on these disgusting commissioners. Replace them all-Now!

     
  • Sluggo posted at 7:24 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Sluggo Posts: 5

    John is one of the nicest, most considerate and hard working individuals I have ever met. Who would want this thankless job? John has given excellent representation to sad and sometimes scary people accused of the most heinous acts. I imagine the emotional scars run deep for many years for all involved in the cases, including the victims, families, police and lawyers. 26 murder

     
  • voxpop posted at 6:16 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Don't use the Press for your own proselytizing.

     
  • voxpop posted at 6:14 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Those people in his office are not his peers, they're his minions. Minions only give their true opinions in a bar after 3-4 drinks.

     
  • local guy posted at 5:40 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    local guy Posts: 26

    I smell a recall election where Ms. Nelson is concerned. Us voters and taxpayers in North Idaho can't do much at the federal level or even the state level as it pertains to the northern part. But when it comes to local city and county clout, we have those people under our thumbs. Time to clean house in the city of Cda and at the county level. Those people are there to work for our benefit not theirs.

     
  • sdpd92 posted at 2:29 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    sdpd92 Posts: 107

    Looks like it is me against the rest of you.

    I often go off about lack of supervision here in the criminal justice system. This office is no different. All these people say what a great guy he is and what a wonderful attorney he is. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, however, I would recommend asking the defendants/clients what they think of the service they received.

    I don’t know about John Adams directly but I do know about some of the Public Defenders doing the work. They aren’t called “public pretenders” for nothing. I do know for a fact that after the court assigns a public defender to a defendant the public defenders office doesn’t call the client. The defendant has to call that office numerous times just to get a response. More often than not the public defender never meets with a defendant until the pre trial conference and then they tell you to plea bargain out before doing any investigation. If the defendant wants to fight their charge, you can’t get anybody to investigate beyond skimming the reports. In one instance the public defender recommended to a client to go into court and plead guilty to DUI, tell the court he had no priors and attempt to get diversion. In the defendants record, it indicated a prior DUI in Arizona. Talk about recommending perjury!

    I know another person who was arrested by a Rathdrum police officer for excessive BAC, DUI. The public defender had him plead guilty. This is a person who was on private property and he wasn’t in the vehicle when the police showed up. He was outside the vehicle loading dirt into the back of a truck, did not have the keys in the ignition (they were on the floorboard) and had not driven a vehicle in 2 ½ hours. While I admit the defendant was under the influence and his BA was a .21, he was not so inebriated that he was unable to care for his own safety and the safety of others as in a drunk in public charge.

    I also previously quoted a case about a murderer who received a second trial because of ineffective assistance of counsel. This defendant ended up going through something like (5) attorneys.

    I can go on about (3) other cases that I know about. While I have never been charged with a crime and I am not an attorney, I sure wouldn’t want to be charged here. All the attorneys are more interested in getting along with their peers rather than protecting their clients. As former law enforcement I have seen a lot of defense attorneys and have been on the stand a lot. I personally would want a pit bull defending me rather then somebody who gets along with everybody. I don’t see any pit bulls here. The closest pit bulls I see are Judge Cooney, his son and grandson in Spokane.

    Jai Nelson wrote: "The relationship between you and the board has continued to deteriorate over the last year and there have been several instances where you have communicated with the board members in an angry, disrespectful and unprofessional manner." If this is the case his contract deserves to be terminated. He works for us and the commissioners are our representatives.

    Siebe said. "The public defender office has to be an independent functionary to work properly," "You can't be part of a team with the commissioners and the prosecutors.". Unfortunately for him he does work for the commissioners and has to answer to them in a professional and timely manner. Not when and how he wants.


     
  • Mschickenfarmer posted at 2:13 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Mschickenfarmer Posts: 29

    How must other county employees feel about this??? Who is next? First Queen Sandi, now Jai....

     
  • Wolfeyes posted at 12:50 pm on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Wolfeyes Posts: 72

    My opinion you are right. This woman thinks because she reads a book, she has the knowledge to take on anyone in any profession. Adams is not the first. Looks like she has come of out of the closet. She has been very quiet, not making any waves and letting the other two take all the heat. She has been busy redecorating the commissioners offices on our dime. Funny how we don't have money for important things, but we do for redecorating. I looked it up after CHS dad posted it below. What is that costing. She will probably say that she redecoarted without it costing the county. Bull. Next she will want to redecorate the entire building. She is in over her head. Ever notice she will not answer any questions without a prepared statement, Carries her files around, now all her notes can be on a tablet so it looks better. I can't believe I was stupid to vote for this unqualified commissioner. Thought she was the same mind set as Hart. What a joke on all of us conservatives. Heard she played KEA and the left the same way. This is one time all the residents made the same mistake. Question is what type of deal did she make with the other two commissioners to make such an idiotic decision. If I were a county employee I would be real concerned. If she can just terminate a man like Adams, who is next? And don't think she is not scheming to prepare a stupid response and say the paper misquoted her. Went back and looked at some of her prior articles. She always says that everyone misquotes her. How can there be such real fire around this person and no one seeing it until now. There is an old saying, Stupid is as stupid does and this is the height of stupidity. Hope she does something smart and decides not to run again. This is a low blow to Adams. Kootenai county will now be short of talent. She must be old enough for menopause, will probably use that as an excuse. Oh forgot when I looked it up she would not give her age. I thought she ran on transparency. Election can't come soon enough for me and my buddies.

     
  • Jenny posted at 11:51 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Jenny Posts: 41

    pubcrawler I don,t know what abandoning the flat fee has to do with letting a man that has 17 years at the public defenders office and greatly admired by his peers. Is it the choice of the firms to take these defense cases? If so they don't gripe about the pay. Do you know what the public defenders make a year, not much. They do it by choice for those who can not afford an attorney. This is about a petty women, Ms. Nelson, who took her dislike for Mr Adams way to far. Anybody who would fire a 59 year old man who has just been diagnosed with cancer and will loose his health insurance benefits is beyond unconscionable. There is a special place for someone who would do this.

     
  • MyOpinion posted at 11:37 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    MyOpinion Posts: 36

    I am a J.D. To ALL the Commissioners without legal training that stands for Juris Doctor, or law degree.

    I was a court appointed investigator for many years in Kootenai and other Idaho counties. I have observed John Adam's work on many occasions. He is - absolutely - one of the state's, if not nation's, very finest attorneys and administrators.

    Jai Nelson is a nurse (!), and without apparent training in interior design (according to her bio) managed to land a few decorating jobs. The other two commissioners have degrees in Political Science and Electronic Engineering.

    None of these people are even QUALIFIED to determine the job performance of a highly trained lawyer who has in fact performed Exceptionally for Kootenai County and its multiple indigent defendants for many, many years.

    What they have done to John Adams is a TRAVESTY. It is clearly actionable 'retaliatory termination' and I believe all legal remedies should be pursued. Given John's physical challenges at this point, that's about the last thing he needs. My best wishes for his speedy recovery.

    TO THE COMMISSIONERS: REVERSE YOUR RIDICULOUS, RETALIATORY DECISION. You have exposed the voters to unnecessary legal penalties and fees.

    And these statements on their face are ABSURD: "He may be reappointed," Nelson said Friday. "Periodic evaluation is something that's part of the commissioners' duty." How idiotic is that? You are playing with legal fire at the expense of Kootenai residents and are clearly out of your league in making intelligent decisions.

    Can't we do better than this in local representation? I am outraged!

    Godspeed, John Adams.

     
  • pubcrawler posted at 10:44 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    pubcrawler Posts: 78

    If this is about a personality conflict, then Jai Nelson needs to apologize to John Adams and to the community and back down. The county commission was right to abandon the old flat fee conflict public defender system and move to hourly compensation. Overhead is a function of time. Professional office costs tend to be fixed, and that old contract rate was hoplessly inadequate to cover the time required for those folks to properly defend sometimes dozens of cases per month. Even the new contract rates are less than half of the prevailing hourly rate for attorneys. And from that the lawyer must provide an office, staff, equipment, paper, toner, files, phones, and all of the expenses of doing business, and make a profit. Profit is why most people work. If you want to spend less taxpayer money on defending the indigent, the recipe is easy. First, Mike Palmer is absolutely right - the Idaho legislature needs to seriously consider removing potential jail time from a number of offenses by grading them differently as is done in most states. For example, if you're driving on a suspended license and have insurance, you can't get jail, just a fine. Do that and no public defender is available for that case. There are a myriad of other crimes in Idaho that could get the same treatment without affecting public safety one bit. Like public intoxication, open container, negligent/careless driving and many more. Most of those charges are plea-bargained without jail anyway, so why not just make them infractions and eliminate the need for a public defender to be appointed in the first place. Doing so would collectively save county governments millions in defense costs. Spokane County has come up with a program offered to many offenders before they get to apply for a public defender. The prosecutor offers community service in lieu of prosecution at the first hearing. There is never a plea entered for the charge. The policy being that for many minor offenses, an offender doing a couple days of community service does more to repay the community as a whole for the offense than some criminal conviction. People who accept that offer are not prosecuted unless they don't complete the program, and thus they never qualify for a public defender. That's a very smart program. Second, the Idaho legislature needs to seriously consider the number of different things that can get a person's driving privileges suspended absolutely in this state, and I'm not talking about DUIs. Our justice system is wholesale putting people out of work. It's one thing to lose your license in New York City (where half the work force doesn't even own cars because they use public transport and have nowhere to put a car). It's another thing in Idaho where loss of driving often means loss of employment. We have to quit manufacturing unemployment as a means of behavior control. There are other methods of controlling conduct, probably much more effective than drivers license suspensions. The people with behavior problems drive anyway. It's the generally law abiding types that respect the license suspensions and don't drive, so we're entirely throwing our nets in the wrong place. Third, as business owners and employers we need to do something about the wage base. Idaho is 48th in the nation in personal income. It's certainly understandable that folks living on fixed or low incomes like a low cost of living driven by low labor costs, but way too many people working 40 hours a week qualify for government assistance and public defenders in Idaho. You can't have it both ways. We need to focus on public education, personal responsibility and good job creation. Just selling stuff to one another, which is pretty much our local economy, doesn't hack it. People making a living wage don't qualify for government assistance nor public defenders, and therefore don't cost the taxpayer in that respect. We need to look across our borders and see how other communities are handling these isues, and if something makes sense, we need to emulate it and not be afraid of change and progress.

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 10:37 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1122

    the taxpayer's of Kootenai County. There is an election on the horizon.

     
  • Tim Herzog posted at 10:31 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 353

    "These terms aren't meant to be indefinite," Nelson said. "People don't own these offices."

    Let's hope the voters in Kootenai County also realize this in 2014 when two County
    Commissioner seats are up for reelection. Both Jai Nelson and Todd Tondee will be challenged in 2014.

    We need candidates that are not agenda driven and truly represent the best interests of the voters and taxpayers.

    Tim Herzog
    Former Candidate for District 1, County Commissioner (Tondee's district)
    2008 & 2012
    www.herzog4taxpayers.com

     
  • MixMart posted at 9:41 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    MixMart Posts: 957

    For criminal matters, John Adams is probably the best lawyer in the state. In 1996 the public defender was in complete disarray and he and the other attorneys built it into an excellent law firm. It is those very qualities that make him a great lawyer also make him unsuited to brown nosing and petty personality politics. This is an incredibly stupid move by Kootenai County and the taxpayers will be paying for it.

     
  • librtyhuntr posted at 9:33 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    librtyhuntr Posts: 305

    you want more people in the jails? just let the government pick your defense lawyer !

     
  • mister d posted at 9:33 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Another GOP action that goes against the best interests of the community all for political power. Get rid of Jai and the rest of the bozos making these stupid decisions. Why do some elected official seem to think they are God when they are elected. Leave the man alone to run his office in a professional manner and don't involve yourself in legal issues you do not understand.

     
  • Sheeken Hunter posted at 9:25 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Sheeken Hunter Posts: 176

    Perhaps the Republican county prosecutor is tired of getting thumped by Adams? Can't beat him so have him fired?

     
  • Diamond Jim posted at 9:14 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Diamond Jim Posts: 48

    Her legal adviser is County Prosecutor Barry McHugh, not Mike Gridley. Get out the checkbook, Kootenai County! Fired 2 weeks after telling the commissioners you have been diagnosed with cancer and need time off for chemo? Respected by your peers and judges? How do you say, "Americans with Disabilities Law?" Your legal adviser is the county prosecutor who is Mr. Adams' chief opponent? Questionable violations of public policy and denial of due process. Just my 2 cents.

     
  • 1voice posted at 8:53 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    1voice Posts: 56

    Ancienttemplar - Don't pis
    s off the boss? They are trying to micromanage the professional, complex (and successfully run) public defender's office. Egotistical idiots!

     
  • 1voice posted at 8:50 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    1voice Posts: 56

    Outrageous! This has to be reversed. This is, hands down, the worst bunch of county commissioners in the history of Kootenai County.

     
  • nice try posted at 8:13 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    nice try Posts: 37

    Who is Jai Nelsons' boss? She gets a 0 on her evaluation.

     
  • Jenny posted at 8:12 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Jenny Posts: 41

    Sounds like a personality conflict gone awry, that will cost the taxpayer millions. Not to mention, what kind of character a person has to let someone go just after being told they have cancer. Shameful and sick on many levels.

     
  • CHSdad posted at 8:12 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    CHSdad Posts: 362

    Jai Nelson may be qualified to decorate her office but little more. She shouldn't make up for her inadequacies by tearing down those who do know what they are doing. Shame on her and the other commissioners.

     
  • wheels1 posted at 8:00 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 381

    @templar Are you a lawyer?What big boy world do you live in? Not knowing Adams immediately disqualifies you on this decision.He gets high marks from his peers.

     
  • wheels1 posted at 7:56 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 381

    What makes Jai Nelson more qualified to evaluate Adams than his peers?This is overreaching at the least.Time to re evaluate the duties of commissioners.

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 7:40 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1122

    Not knowing either individual I would say that in the "Big Boy World" you have to strap on your "Big Boy Pants". The #1 rule in an office is that you don't p*ss-off the boss.

     
  • Mschickenfarmer posted at 7:11 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Mschickenfarmer Posts: 29

    I cannot get past her relationship with Phil Hart and therefore my opinion of anything she does is suspect. No respect.

     
  • Screen Name posted at 6:39 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    Screen Name Posts: 708

    What game is Jai Nelson playing? First she did away with the flat fee conflict public defenders and replaced them with attorneys paid on an hourly basis, which increased the cost to the County, and now she fires a man who appears to have been doing a fine job by those who have actual legal experience.

    A "5" in job performance? I wonder what the criteria was for evaluating job performance. What does Jai Nelson know about providing criminal defense for the indigent? I would guess nothing. Jai, I would have to give you a "0" for your job performance on this issue. I would not be surprised if your actions result in a lawsuit against the County.

     
  • pubcrawler posted at 2:28 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    pubcrawler Posts: 78

    We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile... We have more knot-headed, penny-ante politicians in Idaho. It's enough to exasperate you from here to Tuesday.

     
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