Skip to main content

Panelists and Moderators

This page is in progress.

Panelist: Objective Fact, Truth, and the Media

Rebecca Boone

Rebecca Boone is the Idaho supervisory correspondent for The Associated Press. She covers national breaking news and specializes in criminal and civil justice issues. Boone is also a member of AP’s national law enforcement and LGBTQ+ beat teams, and is currently leading AP’s accountability team coverage of the deadly Maui wildfires.

Boone began her journalism career in 1999 as a criminal justice beat reporter at the Lewiston Tribune. She joined The AP in 2002, and her work covering the prison system has won a variety of national and regional awards including the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Public Service Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Boone is a University of Idaho alumna and serves on the UI’s School of Journalism and Mass Media advisory board.

Panelist - Safeguarding Democracy: Trust in the Judiciary

Ronald Bush

Ronald Bush served as a federal judge from 2008 to 2021 in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, retiring as the chief magistrate judge. Previously, he was a state district judge from 2003 to 2008 in the Sixth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, with his chambers in Pocatello.  His career as a lawyer spanned 20 years from 1983 to 2003 with the Hawley Troxell law firm, working in both Boise and Pocatello.  He is a graduate of the University of Idaho where he received a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, in English. He then obtained a juris doctor degree from The George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C.  Judge Bush is a proud, fifth-generation, Idahoan.

Moderator - Safeguarding Democracy: Trust in the Judiciary

Josh Hurwit

Josh Hurwit is the 32nd presidentially-appointed United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, having been nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the United States Senate in June of 2022.  Prior to his appointment, Mr. Hurwit served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Idaho since 2012.  He has investigated and prosecuted financial crimes, public corruption cases, environmental crimes, and organized crime cases using the federal RICO statute.

Mr. Hurwit received his undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Stanford University in 2002 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2006.  He then clerked for U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York and worked at national law firms before joining the United States Attorney’s Office here in Idaho.

Mr. Hurwit has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Idaho College of Law and has served on the boards of local non-profits.

Panelist: Objective Fact, Truth, and the Media

Mia Maldonado

Mia is a state politics reporter at the Idaho Capital Sun. Some of her favorite topics to cover include environmental stories and Latino affairs. She previously interned at the Idaho Capital Sun through the Voces Internship of Idaho, an equity-driven program for young Latinos to work in Idaho news. Born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Mia moved to the Treasure Valley for college where she graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international political economy.

Panelist - Safeguarding Democracy: Trust in the Judiciary

Betty Richardson

President Clinton nominated Betty Richardson to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho in 1993, and she was confirmed by unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate.  Richardson served in that capacity until 2001.  She also served as an attorney-advisor for the Executive Office for United States Attorneys during the Obama Administration. Previously Richardson served as the attorney member and chair of the Idaho Industrial Commission.  She has been a law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, the Idaho Supreme Court, and the San Francisco Superior Court, Criminal Division. She was an adjunct professor of law at Concordia Law School in Boise, where she taught courses in Federal Courts and Conflicts of Law.  A graduate of the University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly Hastings College of the Law), and the University of Idaho, Richardson worked for U.S. Senator Frank Church in his Washington, D.C., and Moscow, Idaho, offices and is a member of the Frank Church Institute Board of Directors.

Panelist - Safeguarding Democracy: Trust in the Judiciary

William E. Smith

Judge William E. Smith was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island by President George W. Bush in 2002. He served as Chief Judge from 2013 to 2019 and was the youngest person to serve as Chief Judge in the District of Rhode Island. 

Judge Smith is active in federal judicial administration and education, serving on the Judicial  Conference Committees on Judicial Resources, Information Technology, and Financial  Disclosure; as mentor and chair of the Federal Judicial Center’s Committee on District Judge Education; and as a mentor for newly appointed and mid-career judges. He serves on numerous community boards and is the past chair of the board of the Roger Williams University Law School in Bristol Rhode Island, where he has taught as an Adjunct Professor for fifteen years. 

Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Smith was a partner at Edwards & Angell in  Providence, Rhode Island, the firm he joined after graduating from law school. His practice focused primarily on the area of labor and employment law and representation of state and municipal agencies, colleges and universities, non-profits, and private employers. His private law practice years were interrupted by his service as Staff Director of the Rhode Island Office of U.S.  Senator Lincoln Chafee. 

Judge Smith was born in Boise, Idaho; he received B.A. and J.D. (cum laude) degrees from  Georgetown University. While studying at Georgetown, he worked as an aid in the Senate Foreign  Relations Committee (chaired by Senator Frank Church of Idaho), and he then worked on Senator Church’s 1980 re-election campaign. In 2014, Judge Smith received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Rhode Island Association for Justice. In 2019, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Bryant University and was awarded the Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger Judicial Excellence  Award from the Rhode Island Bar Association for “exemplifying and encouraging the highest level  of competence, integrity, judicial temperament, ethical conduct, and professionalism.” In 2023, he received the Neil J. Houston, Jr. Memorial Award for “dedicated service and citizen contribution toward the justice profession and the public interest” from Rhode Island Justice Assistance.