Jefferson appoints new judge
A new district judge was appointed for Jefferson County Friday. This comes as a relief as judges said they have their work cut out for them.
Lawyer, and now judge, Alan Stephens said he is ready to get to work.
"It's obviously an honor and I appreciate the governor's confidence. It's obviously a good thing or I wouldn't have applied."
Although it may be a good thing, Stephens applied for more than just a gavel and a nice chair. Currently judges are taking turns covering cases in Jefferson County and they said it isn't easy. Judge Greg Moeller said it has a lot to do with Eastern Idaho's growing population.
"We've had a huge population increase in the 7th District. We've also had a huge increase in the number of cases because of that," said Moeller.
Moeller travels throughout Madison, Teton, and Jefferson counties taking on criminal and high-profile civil suits.
"That's a lot of travel and I think most of the judges in our district have to travel a lot. So, this new position is going to mean all of our caseloads are going to decrease by 20 percent," he said.
He also said although all three candidates were strong and well-suited for the position, Stephens was the best person for the job.
Judges said Stephens was appointed at a good time because without the extra help, judges wouldn't be able to manage their time effectively between cases. Judges in the area have often found themselves focusing on criminal cases to ensure that they abide by a citizen's right to a speedy trial.
"When we have to spend a lot of time on criminal cases it gives us less time to spend on civil cases," said Moeller.
Although Stephens has been appointed to Jefferson County, Moeller will be taking over the Granados murder trial starting Monday.
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