The Statesman did an excellent job of explaining the “for Profit Probation” problem in the American criminal justice system (March 17). In Idaho the problem is even worse. In 2003 the Idaho Legislature in its “wisdom” adopted Idaho Code Sec. 1-1624 which empowers the State Tax Commission to seize tax returns due to Idaho citizens who owe money: fines, penalties or interest to any court in the state. This statute is evidently also being used to grab taxpayers’ tax returns to satisfy restitution claims of victims. This may all sound reasonable until one realizes that as part of a criminal sentence, where incarceration is not ordered, the defendant and a Probation Officer enter into a payment agreement for periodic (monthly) payments that the defendant agrees to make or be returned to court for re-sentencing. The state is now seizing tax return funds from Idaho taxpayers even though the taxpayer has met all requirements of the probation agreement. This is an illegal seizure in violation of the due process clause of the state constitution. A good class action suit should be considered. As a former elected Prosecuting Attorney, I see this situation as the perfect example of the “set up to fail” motivations of the “for profit Criminal Justice System” in Idaho.
Jim C. Harris, Boise