Twin Falls County, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) In Twin Falls County, when it comes to felony cases in the judicial system, it's the Twin Falls Prosecuting Office heading the criminal prosecution.
And on the other side, for the most part, it's the Public Defenders representing the defendants.
So which side is taking on the higher caseload?
Last year alone, the Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney's Office handled a little under 700 filed felony cases.
And, like we all know, if you can't afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.
That's where the public defenders come in.
So the caseloads between these two entities are similar.
But, there are still minor differences.
"It's a large caseload constantly... when one case goes away another case is added. So it's a constant number," explains Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs.
A constant number of cases making their way through the Twin Falls judicial system.
On any given day, the Twin Falls Prosecuting Attorney's Office could be handling hundreds of cases a day... all at different phases in the system.
"The prosecutor's job is to represent... in criminal cases... to represent the State of Idaho, and that is our client. And obviously the public defender's job is to represent their client. Both offices work hard. Both offices are trying to make the system work efficiently, and both offices have a significant caseload," Loebs says.
So how do the caseloads compare?
When it comes to a public defender... They are typically not called into a case until a defendant has officially requested one.
But for the prosecuting attorney... It's a different story.
"The prosecutor is involved almost from when the crime is committed... all the way through appeals and if the person is incarcerated through parole hearings... sometimes years and years later. Sometimes the public defender is involved long after the case seems to the public to be over because of appeals and things of that nature. But obviously they come into the case a little bit later. That of course is the way the system is designed," Loebs explains.
So if we are talking specific numbers... How many attorneys, on each side of the gavel, are representing felony cases?
"The felony caseload is divided up between 8 prosecutors and I believe 6 full-time public defenders. In every county, the public defender handles fewer felony cases than the prosecutor does... because the prosecutor essentially handles all of the felony cases,” Loebs says.
As for the relationship between the Twin Falls Prosecuting Attorneys and Public Defenders...
"I think we get along very well... we have to. We have to spend a lot of time with one another,” Loebs points out.
Two sides of the law... Two separate goals... But a shared promise to maintain and uphold the American judicial system.
Grant Loebs says that as the population continues to grow, the crime rate can also be expected to increase.
A strong working relationship between the two is essential in making the community a safe and fair place to live.