Article V - JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Section 1. Forms of action abolished. The distinctions between actions at law and suits in equity, and the forms of all such actions and suits, are hereby prohibited; and there shall be in this state but one form of action for the enforcement or protection of private rights or the redress of private wrongs, which shall be denominated a civil action; and every action prosecuted by the people of the state as a party, against a person charged with a public offense, for the punishment of the same, shall be termed a criminal action.
Feigned issues are prohibited, and the fact at issue shall be tried by order of court before a jury.
Section 2. Judicial power -- Where vested. The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a court for the trial of impeachments, a Supreme Court, district courts, and such other courts inferior to the Supreme Court as established by the legislature. The courts shall constitute a unified and integrated judicial system for administration and supervision by the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of such inferior courts shall be as prescribed by the legislature. Until provided by law, no changes shall be made in the jurisdiction or in the manner of the selection of judges of existing inferior courts.
Section 3. Impeachments -- Where and how tried. The court for the trial of impeachments shall be the senate. A majority of the members elected shall be necessary to a quorum, and the judgment shall not extend beyond removal from, and disqualification to hold office in this state; but the party shall be liable to indictment and punishment according to law.
Section 4. Impeachments -- Where and how tried -- Conviction -- Impeachment of governor. The house of representatives solely shall have the power of impeachment. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators elected. When the governor is impeached, the chief justice shall preside.
Section 5. Treason defined and limited. Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. No conviction of treason or attainder shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
Section 6. Supreme Court -- Number of justices -- Term of office -- Calling of district judge to sit with court. The Supreme Court shall consist of five justices, a majority of whom shall be necessary to make a quorum or pronounce a decision. If a justice of the Supreme Court shall be disqualified from sitting in a cause before said court, or be unable to sit therein, by reason of illness or absence, the said court may call a district judge to sit in said court on the hearing of such cause.
The justices of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the electors of the state at large. The terms of office of the justices of the Supreme Court, except as in this article otherwise provided, shall be six years.
The justices of the Supreme Court shall, immediately after the first election under this constitution, be selected by lot, so that one shall hold his office for the term of two years, one for the term of four years, and one for the term of six years. The lots shall be drawn by the justices of the Supreme Court, who shall, for that purpose, assemble at the seat of government, and they shall cause the result thereof to be certified to by the secretary of state and filed in his office.
The chief justice shall be selected from among the justices of the Supreme Court by a majority vote of the justices. His term of office shall be four years. When a vacancy in the office of chief justice occurs, a chief justice shall be selected for a full four year term. The chief justice shall be the executive head of the judicial system.
Section 7. Justices prohibited from holding other offices. No justice of the Supreme Court shall be eligible to any other office of trust or profit under the laws of this state during the term for which he was elected.
Section 8. Terms of Supreme Court. At least four terms of the Supreme Court shall be held annually; two terms at the seat of state government, and two terms at the city of Lewiston, in Nez Perce county. In case of epidemic, pestilence, or destruction of court houses, the justices may hold the terms of the Supreme Court provided by this section at other convenient places, to be fixed by a majority of said justices. After six years the legislature may alter the provisions of this section.
Section 9. Original and appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction to review, upon appeal, any decision of the district courts, or the judges thereof, any order of the public utilities commission, any order of the industrial accident board, and any plan proposed by the commission for reapportionment created pursuant to section 2, article III; the legislature may provide conditions of appeal, scope of appeal, and procedure on appeal from orders of the public utilities commission and of the industrial accident board. On appeal from orders of the industrial accident board the court shall be limited to a review of questions of law. The Supreme Court shall also have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, and habeas corpus, and all writs necessary or proper to the complete exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
Section 10. Jurisdiction over claims against the state. The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear claims against the state, but its decision shall be merely recommendatory; no process in the nature of execution shall issue thereon; they shall be reported to the next session of the legislature for its action.
Section 11. District courts -- Judges and terms. The state shall be divided into five judicial districts, for each of which a judge shall be chosen by the qualified electors thereof, whose term of office shall be four years. And there shall be held a district court in each county, at least twice in each year, to continue for such time in each county as may be prescribed by law. But the legislature may reduce or increase the number of districts, district judges and district attorneys. This section shall not be construed to prevent the holding of special terms under such regulations as may be provided by law.
Section 12. Residence of judges -- Holding court out of district -- Service by retired justices and judges. Every judge of the district court shall reside in the district for which he is elected. A judge of any district court, or any retired justice of the Supreme Court or any retired district judge, may hold a district court in any county at the request of the judge of the district court thereof, and upon the request of the governor, or of the chief justice, and when any such request is made or approved by the chief justice it shall be his duty to do so; but a cause in the district court may be tried by a judge pro tempore, who must be a member of the bar, agreed upon in writing by the parties litigant, or their attorneys of record, and sworn to try the cause. Any retired justice or district judge may sit with the Supreme Court and exercise the authority of a member thereof in any cause in which he is requested by that court so to do, and when requested by the chief justice shall perform such other duties pertaining to the judicial department of government as directed. Compensation for such service shall be as provided by the legislature.
Section 13. Power of legislature respecting courts. The legislature shall have no power to deprive the judicial department of any power or jurisdiction which rightly pertains to it as a coordinate department of the government; but the legislature shall provide a proper system of appeals, and regulate by law, when necessary, the methods of proceeding in the exercise of their powers of all the courts below the Supreme Court, so far as the same may be done without conflict with this Constitution, provided, however, that the legislature can provide mandatory minimum sentences for any crimes, and any sentence imposed shall be not less than the mandatory minimum sentence so provided. Any mandatory minimum sentence so imposed shall not be reduced.
Section 14. Special courts in cities and towns. The legislature may provide for the establishment of special courts for the trial of misdemeanors in incorporated cities and towns, where the same may be necessary.
Section 15. Clerk of Supreme Court. The clerk of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the court, and shall hold his office during the pleasure of the court. He shall receive such compensation for his services as may be provided by law.
Section 16. Clerks of district courts -- Election -- Term of office. A clerk of the district court for each county shall be elected by the qualified voters thereof at the time and in the manner prescribed by law for the election of members of the legislature, and shall hold his office for the term of four years.
Section 17. Salaries of justices and judges. The salary of the justices of the Supreme Court, the salary of judges of the court of appeals, the salary of the judges of the district court and the salary of magistrate judges shall be as provided by statute, and no justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the court of appeals, judge of the district court or magistrate judge, shall be paid his salary, or any part thereof, unless he shall have first taken and subscribed an oath that there is not in his hands any matter in controversy not decided by him which had been finally submitted for his consideration and determination, thirty days prior to the taking and subscribing such oath.
Section 18. Prosecuting attorneys -- Term of office -- Qualifications. A prosecuting attorney shall be elected for each organized county in the state, by the qualified electors of such county, and shall hold office for the term of two years, and commencing with the general election in 1984 shall hold office for the term of four years, and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law; he shall be a practicing attorney at law, and a resident and elector of the county for which he is elected. He shall receive such compensation for services as may be fixed by law.
Section 19. Vacancies -- How filled. All vacancies occurring in the offices provided for by this article of the Constitution shall be filled as provided by law.
Section 20. Jurisdiction of district court. The district court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases, both at law and in equity, and such appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred by law.
Section 23. Qualifications of district judges. No person shall be eligible to the office of district judge unless he be learned in the law, thirty years of age, and a citizen of the United States, and shall have resided in the state or territory at least two years next preceding his election, nor unless he shall have been at the time of his election, an elector in the judicial district for which he is elected.
Section 24. Judicial districts enumerated. Until otherwise provided by law, the judicial districts shall be five in number, and constituted of the following counties, viz:
First District--Shoshone and Kootenai.
Second District--Latch, Nez Perce, and Idaho.
Third District--Washington, Ada, Boise, and Owyhee.
Fourth District--Cassia, Elmore, Logan, and Alturas.
Fifth District--Bear Lake, Bingham, Oneida, Lemhi, and Custer.
Section 25. Defects in law to be reported by judges. The judges of the district courts shall, on or before the first day of July in each year, report in writing to the justices of the Supreme Court, such defects or omissions in the laws as their knowledge and experience may suggest, and the justices of the Supreme Court shall, on or before the first day of December of each year, report in writing to the governor, to be by him transmitted to the legislature, together with his message, such defects and omissions in the Constitution and laws as they may find to exist.
Section 26. Court procedure to be general and uniform. All laws relating to courts shall be general and of uniform operation throughout the state, and the organized judicial powers, proceedings, and practices of all the courts of the same class or grade, so far as regulated by law, and the force and effect of the proceedings, judgments, and decrees of such courts, severally, shall be uniform.
Section 27. Change in compensation of officers. The legislature may by law diminish or increase the compensation of any or all of the following officers, to wit: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state controller, state treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the court of appeals and district courts and magistrate judges; but no diminution or increase shall affect the compensation of the officer then in office during his term, provided, however, that the legislature may provide for the payment of actual and necessary expenses of these officers incurred while in performance of official duty.
Section 28. Removal of judicial officers. Provisions for the retirement, discipline and removal from office of justices and judges shall be as provided by law.