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The 7th Judicial District celebrates the 65th Annual Law Day with the Idaho Falls Rotary Club

IDAHO FALLS – Local attorneys from the 7th Judicial District and members of the Idaho Falls Rotary Club gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the 65th annual Law Day.

Established in 1958, Law Day is celebrated each May 1 to expand knowledge about Idaho's legal system, the rule of law and the importance of democracy.

The theme for 2024 was “Votes for Democracy” as speakers discussed the importance of unity in our democracy and community.

Liberty Bell Awards

To begin, Deputy Court Administrator Alayne Bean presented the Liberty Bell Award to Bonneville County Jury Commissioner Joseph Lugo.

“This award is the most prestigious award that lawyers give to non-lawyers,” Bean said. “The award honors an individual who, through his or her extraordinary contributions to the community, has strengthened the American system of freedom and justice under the law.”

Alayne Bean with Liberty Bell award winner Joseph Lugo. | Kaitlyn Hart, EastIdahoNews.com.

Bean said Lugo was honored to do his best to familiarize himself with the new jury software to help jurors learn their duties and responsibilities. Lugo even contacted other county courts to make sure they knew how to use the new software.

“It's not just because Joseph is doing his job that he's being recognized as an honoree today,” Bean said. “That’s because he contributes to the effective functioning of our courts on a larger scale than just Bonneville County.”

Lugo said he is grateful for the opportunity to work with other counties toward a common, helpful goal.

“I just want to thank you for this; Beyond that, very few words come to mind. I think the experience we've had with a number of these other counties has been very useful and helpful in making things smoother and getting them up and running with the new system,” Lugo said. “I’m just grateful that I had the chance and opportunity to be in the position that I’m in.”

“You need balance”

Attendees also celebrated Law Day by listening to keynote speaker Lee Radford of Parsons Behle & Latimer Law Practice. Radford is also chairman of the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency.

Lee Radford
Lee Radford speaks at Law Day with the Idaho Falls Rotary Club | Kaitlyn Hart, EastIdahoNews.com

Radford spoke about growing up in Idaho Falls and remembered the Teton Dam flood as the moment he realized how special the Idaho Falls community is.

“The morning started slowly, but we heard the static of the radio. As we listened more closely, we learned that the Teton Dam had breached,” Radford said. “Suddenly everything started happening. The first thing I remember is the city got a backhoe and just started plowing through Broadway and building a canal through the end of the Broadway bridge, a wide canal, so we could save the bridge.”

Radford says the community came together to barricade the river with sandbags and build walls to protect the town from extreme water damage.

“We worked, and we worked, and we were busy all night, as I recall,” Radford says. “I remember standing there when there was nothing we could do, watching the Wasserkuppe. And I'm just looking at the big sand walls that we built as a community in 36 hours. I just appreciated being part of a community that could come together and build something so quickly. That’s always a memory I have of the community.”

Radford emphasized the importance of unity in a community and the impact of balance on a thriving democracy.

“It is important to love mercy, it is important to love people. But you can't always love people the way the left advocates. There are limits to this. It is also important to do justice, as demanded by the right. But you can’t always do that because you also have to have compassion,” Radford said. “Sometimes you need one, sometimes you need the other. You need balance.”

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Anna Harden

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