TWIN FALLS • Richard Bevan, a Twin Falls County district judge, is reportedly being considered as Idaho’s next U.S. District Judge.
Bevan is also Idaho’s Fifth Judicial District administrative judge.
The Spokeman-Review’s Eye on Boise blog cites multiple unnamed sources in reporting that Bevan was proposed for the spot by Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and is being vetted by the White House now.
The Spokesman-Review also reports that Boise lawyer Erika Malmen is no longer being considered for the job.
Bevan did not return a call for comment Wednesday, and Crapo and Risch’s press offices said they couldn’t comment.
“The process is ongoing and not yet complete,” Risch’s spokeswoman Suzanne Wrasse wrote in an email. “The senator will have a comment once the White House makes a selection.”
Bevan has been district judge in Twin Falls County since 2003, and was a lawyer in private practice and Twin Falls County prosecutor, running for that office as a Republican, before that.
State Rep. Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said he has known Bevan for almost 30 years. Bevan did some legal work for the Times-News when he was in private practice and Hartgen was the paper’s publisher.
“I consider him to be an excellent candidate, and I’m honored to know him,” Hartgen said. “I think he would be very, very good in the position. He’s very well respected in the bar and among the judicial community.”
Federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, but the president generally defers to a state’s senators on the pick. Crapo and Risch started the search process in December 2014, and have kept the process and who’s being considered mostly secret. In April, news came out that at least five prominent women attorneys interested in the job weren’t interviewed even though four men were, prompting the senators to insist publicly that they were interviewing both men and women.
The federal district judge in Idaho has been a prominent position in recent years, with some of the court’s more high-profile rulings including ones allowing political parties to close their primaries, striking down the state’s gay marriage ban and the so-called “ag-gag” law, and invalidating the state’s school broadband contract.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge notified the president in September that he planned to assume senior status July 3, which allows him to provide volunteer service and handle a reduced number of cases. That leaves U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill as the only federal district judge in Idaho.
In November, Bevan sentenced two people to up to life in prison in the murder of a man at the Apollo Motor Inn in Twin Falls. He presided over the 2013 trial of Cayde Lish, who was convicted of manslaughter for stabbing another man outside a Twin Falls restaurant.
He has also ruled in Sarah Johnson’s appeals. She was convicted of murdering her parents when she was 16 in 2003 in the family’s Bellevue home. Most recently, he ruled that new DNA evidence couldn’t exonerate Johnson because of an “overwhelming” amount of evidence against her.
Bevan also presides over a number of problem solving courts in Twin Falls County.
He was most recently re-elected in May 2014 for a term that expires in January 2019. Bevan received a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University in 1984 and in 1987 he graduated with his law degree from BYU.