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Idaho Lawmakers Vote To Drop Laws On Sheriff's Posses, Dueling

An Idaho House panel on Thursday passed a spate of bills that would trim certain criminal offenses from Idaho law.

Some of the laws were pretty dusty.

One bill would eliminate the crime of refusing to join the sheriff’s posse. Another item slated to be removed: a law on vehicle tampering. It specifically forbids people from entering an unattended vehicle and manipulating the levers or the starting crank.

And lawmakers were amused by another update to Idaho law: eliminating a section on dueling. House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee chair Richard Wills offered Rep. Don Cheatham the honor of presenting the bill to the full House.

“Anybody else wanted to join in? Because this is a dueling situation!” Wills said to laughter.

The gentleman from Post Falls won the honor and didn’t even have to fight for it.

The law in question said that Idaho has jurisdiction over people who die in the state from injuries in out-of-state duels involving Idahoans. The old territorial law was meant to avoid situations like the one where Aaron Burr was charged in two states for the murder of Alexander Hamilton.

Another bill would repeal a law that requires the county to get permission from a judge before moving prisoners from the jail in the event of “pestilence or contagious disease."

“It is normal to remove prisoners who are ill, place them in hospitals, place them in other settings to protect both themselves and other prisoners,” the Idaho Sheriffs Association’s Michael Kane said. “I don’t think anybody’s asked a district judge to do this probably in 100 years. It’s simply obsolete.”

The House judiciary panel also voted to downgrade curfew violations from a misdemeanor to an infraction. It’s part of an effort to better match punishments with crimes and lighten the burden on the public defense system.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.