Sara B. Thomas

State Appellate Public Defender

Found on Governor Otter's website:

January 12, 2012

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter today announced the appointment of Sara B. Thomas, long-time chief deputy to Molly Huskey as State Appellate Public Defender, to succeed Huskey as head of that office.

The Governor appointed Huskey to a Third District Court vacancy on December 30.

Thomas, of Meridian, has been chief of the Appellate Unit within the Office of the State Appellate Public Defender since July 2002. She previously was a staff attorney with that unit for three years, and before that was a law clerk for Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Alan Schwartzman.

"I am honored by the Governor's choice and appreciative of the opportunity to serve this state," she said. "I look forward to working with other members of the criminal justice community in ensuring that Idaho's justice system serves its people effectively and efficiently."

Thomas has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration from Boise State University and a law degree from the University of Idaho.

The Office of the State Appellate Public Defender was created in 1998. With a staff of 20, it provides appellate representation to indigent defendants who have been convicted of felonies in State district court.

Who We Are

The Office of the Idaho State Appellate Public Defender was created in 1998. The legislature recognized that the cost of providing appellate representation was an extraordinary burden on the counties of Idaho. “In order to reduce this burden, provide competent counsel but avoid paying high hourly rates to independent counsel to represent indigent defendants in appellate proceedings,” the legislature created the SAPD. See I.C. § 19-868. The SAPD provides appellate representation to indigent defendants who have been convicted of a felony in district court. The SAPD also provides appellate representation to petitioners in state felony post-conviction and habeas cases. In capital cases, where a defendant has been sentenced to death, the SAPD provides district court representation for post conviction proceedings, as well as representation on appeal from both the denial of a post conviction petition and the direct appeal from the judgment of conviction.

The State Appellate Public Defender is Sara B. Thomas, who was appointed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter in January, 2012. The office has 22 full-time employees, including the agency head. The Capital Litigation Unit includes three attorneys, a mitigation specialist, an investigator, and one assistant. The Appellate Unit has a Chief of the Appellate Unit, ten staff attorneys, two legal assistants, and one paralegal. There is also an Office Administrator.

Contact Information

Address: 322 East Front Street, Suite 570
                    Boise, ID 83702

Phone: (208) 334-2712