Decades of Idaho's legal history sits in law libraries across the state, encapsulated in the case law and code books. But the interesting stuff - the living, breathing side of the law - was disappearing as the state's most influential lawyers and judges grew old and died, says Boise attorney Deb Kristensen, president of the Idaho Legal History Society.The story continues here.
Inspired by the oral history projects of the 9th Judicial Circuit History Society and StoryCorps, Kristensen and other members of the Idaho Legal History Society decided to take depositions of their own. The 9th Judicial Circuit History Society's oral history project collects interviews with judges throughout the circuit, and StoryCorps is a national nonprofit project that records the stories of average Americans.
They compiled a list of 50 candidates and began recording interviews in 2007, as well as gathering oral histories taken by other individuals and groups in earlier years. Court reporters around the state pitched in, transcribing the oral histories, and workers at the state Historical Society Library took on the painstaking work of indexing, cataloging and archiving the interviews.
"Idaho Meanderings," a website on (among other things) one of the more famous chapters in Idaho history, the "Trial of the Century" of Big Bill Haywood for the assassination of Governor Frank Steunenberg (pictured at right), maintained by Steunenberg's great grandson, John T. Richards, Jr. is here.