March 1, 2018
The Idaho State Public Defense Commission, with the assistance of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute, conducted a workload study of Idaho’s public defenders with the goal of utilizing the collected data to determine Idaho-specific maximum caseload standards. Development of such standards is pursuant to explicit legislative directive.
The workload study involved three major steps, as follows:
The first step in the workload study was the time tracking component. In this step, all of Idaho’s primary and conflict public defenders were asked to track the time they spent on case-related activity from April 24, 2017 to July 15, 2017 and report this data. We provided an online timekeeping piece of software to assist with this process.
Second, after the time study was complete, we distributed a time sufficiency survey. This survey instrument asked attorneys whether they feel they have sufficient time in their practice to complete a variety of case tasks.
Third, the final data collection activity involved a panel of experts in the field of criminal defense, known as a Delphi Panel. This panel made recommendations about how much time it takes to handle a variety of indigent defense cases. This process worked to determine a consensus position of all those participating in the panel.
The results of each of these three stages were then synthesized by the Idaho Policy Institute and the resulting information was given to the PDC. The PDC used that information in creating the workload standard.
The PDC and IPI take the protection of sensitive information very seriously. Identifiable time-tracking data elements was anonymized. Similarly, responses to the time sufficiency survey was anonymized.
Workload Study Resources
How to Leverage Public Defense Workload Studies – Geoffrey Burkhart, American Bar Association, discusses the importance of workload studies and the new era of public defense workload studies that are occurring across the United States. “The Court should finish the business it started in Gideon.”