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BOISE -- A committee of Idaho lawmakers has begun the complicated task of trying to bring the state's public defense system in line with constitutional requirements.

Members of the Public Defense Interim Committee met in Boise on Thursday to hear from state and national experts who warned that Idaho's system is so inadequate that it's likely unconstitutional, and as a result, it's only a matter of time until a lawsuit forces the state to make major changes.

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick told lawmakers they would need tremendous political courage, but that the state must aggressively improve the public defense system.

The interim committee is expected to present its recommendations and any proposed bills to the full Legislature next year.

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