A17-member commission is expected to choose a successor on Thursday to replace Blaine County Magistrate Judge R. Ted Israel, who is retiring at the end of 2014.
Prior to a decision, the Magistrate Commission for the Idaho Fifth Judicial District will interview three finalists for the job beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the district courtroom at the Blaine County judicial building just to east of the Blaine County Courthouse on First Avenue South in Hailey.
The interview session is open to the public. However, the commission will convene in a private session after the interviews to deliberate and make a decision.
Twin Falls attorney Samuel Beus and Hailey attorneys Jennifer Haemmerle and Ned Williamson were selected earlier as finalists out of a field of eight applicants for Israel’s job.
Information on the three finalists was provided to the Idaho Mountain Express from the Fifth District Court Trial Administrator’s Office in Twin Falls.
Beus, 39, is currently a deputy public defender in the Twin Falls County Public Defender’s Office, a position he has held since 2009. He has been an associate attorney with the Twin Falls firms of Wright Brothers Law Office and Powers Tolman PLLC. Beus served as a legal intern with the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 2004. He obtained an undergraduate degree in 2002 in Russian and Economics and received a law degree from the Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2005.
Haemmerle, 51, has been in private practice with the Hailey law firm Haemmerle & Haemmerle since 2001. Prior to that, she was with the Roark Law Firm in Hailey from 1993 to 2001. Haemmerle has also been an associate attorney with the firm of Roark, Donovan, Praggastis, Rivers & Phillips of Hailey and the Elam, Burke & Boyd Firm in Boise. Haemmerle obtained an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Idaho in 1985 and received a law degree from the UI College of Law in 1989.
Williamson, 59, has been the sole practitioner of the Williamson Law Office in Hailey since 2001. He was a partner with Luboviski, Wygle, Fallowfield & Williamson. P.A. from 1992-2001. Williamson is a former Blaine County prosecuting attorney and is currently city attorney for the city of Hailey. He obtained an undergraduate degree in biology from Fort Lewis College in 1978 and received a law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1983.
Blaine County Commissioner Chairman Larry Schoen, a member of the Magistrate Commission, said in an interview Friday that the commission will consider three main factors in selecting a new judge.
“It’s always been very important that we consider: ‘will the person be a good fit in the community; will they be comfortable in the community,’” Schoen said. Second: “Do they have the temperament to be a good judge? You have to be able to be polite to both sides. You have to be willing to get results and make decisions.
“Those are two very important factors, plus experience in the matters they’ll be hearing,” Schoen said.
Matters handled by a magistrate judge include both felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, family law, various civil litigation and juvenile crime.
“We are always careful about how we make a decision,” Schoen said. “The very idea who the local judge is really matters to the community.”
In addition to Schoen, members of the Magistrate Commission are Fifth District Administrative Judge G. Richard Bevan, Jerome County Magistrate Judge Thomas H. Borresen, Magistrate Commission Electors Jon Anderson and Marty Orwig, attorneys Lance Loveland and David Gadd, Rupert Mayor Mike Brown, Declo Mayor Jay Darrington and Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall.
The panel also includes Camas County Commissioner Ken Backstrom, Cassia County Commissioner Dennis Crane, Gooding County Commissioner Tom Faulkner, Jerome County Commissioner Bob Morely, Twin Falls County Commissioner George Urie, Lincoln County Commissioner Marsha Hiatt and Minidoka County Commissioner Robert Moore.