Coroner/Medical Examiner Laws

Medicolegal Death Investigation System

Is medical death investigation system centralized, county-based, or district-based?
County-based. Idaho Code Ann. § 34-622.

If centralized, in which department or agency is the system housed?
Not applicable.

Does the state system have a coroner, medical examiner, or coroners and medical examiners?
Coroner. Idaho Code Ann. § 34-622.

“In practice” notes

Is there a state medical examiner?

If so, what is the state medical examiner’s role?
Not applicable.

In what department or agency is the state medical examiner’s office located?
Not applicable.

Are there deputies?
A coroner may appoint a deputy or deputies as he deems necessary.
Idaho Code Ann. § 31-2809.

If so, what are the deputies’ roles?

What are the qualifications for deputies?

Qualifications, Term of Office, and Training

Is the coroner or medical examiner position elected?
Elected or appointed. Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5408; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5510; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5610; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5213; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5311.

If so, how many years is the term of office?
Four [but may be less than four years as provided by resolution or petition]. Idaho Code Ann. § 34-622; but see Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5408; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5510; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5610; Idaho Code Ann. § 31-5213; Idaho Code Ann.
§ 31-5311.

What are the qualifications specified by law?
After January 1, 2010, each county coroner shall complete twenty-four (24) hours of continuing education on a biennial calendar basis. Idaho Code Ann. § 31-2810.

No person shall be elected to the office of coroner unless he has attained the age of twenty-one (21) years at the time of his election, is a citizen of the United States and shall have resided within the county one (1) year next preceding his election . . .
All newly elected or appointed county coroners shall attend a coroner’s school within one (1) year of taking office. Such school shall be sponsored or endorsed by the Idaho state association of county coroners. Idaho Code Ann. § 34-622.


What types of deaths are required to be investigated?
(1) When a county coroner is informed that a person has died, the county coroner shall investigate that death if:

(a) The death occurred as a result of violence, whether apparently by homicide, suicide or by accident;

(b) The death occurred under suspicious or unknown circumstances; or

(c) The death is of a stillborn child or any child if there is a reasonable articulable suspicion to believe that the death occurred without a known medical disease to account for the stillbirth or child’s death.

(2) If a death occurs that is not attended by a physician and the cause of death cannot be certified by a physician, the coroner must refer the investigation of the death to the sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the city in which the incident causing the death occurred or, if such county or city is unknown, to the sheriff or chief of police of the county or city where the body was found. The investigation shall be the responsibility of the sheriff or chief of police . . .

Idaho Code Ann. § 19-4301.

What types of deaths are required to be autopsied?
The coroner may, in the performance of his duties under this chapter, summon a person authorized to practice medicine and surgery in the state of Idaho to inspect the body and give a professional opinion as to the cause of death. The coroner or the prosecuting attorney may order an autopsy performed if it is deemed necessary accurately and scientifically to determine the cause of death. Idaho Code Ann.
§ 19-4301B.

Does the state require that pathologists perform the autopsies?

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