Jolene Maloney pleaded guilty Friday in 4th District Court to felony driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The 41-year-old attorney, who was Boise County prosecutor when she was charged with her third DUI last April, reached a plea deal with Special Prosecutor Dan Norris.
Norris, who served as district attorney in Malheur County, Ore., for 16 years, was appointed Oregon’s first statewide elder abuse prosecutor last September.
Felony DUI carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, and suspension of her driver’s license for at least a year and up to five years.
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In exchange for Maloney’s guilty plea, the prosecutor agreed to recommend 30 days in jail, with another 120 days at the discretion of her probation officer. She would be on supervised probation for five years, facing up to five years in prison for a violation.
Norris told the Statesman on Friday that the sentence he’s recommending is in line with what defendants facing the same charge typically get.
“Frankly, 30 days [in jail] is more than most of them get,” Norris said. “I know that she’s a public official, which is an aggravating factor. I’m trying to be even-handed and fair and treat her as anyone would be treated in an Idaho court.”
He said the plea agreement was a “principled decision, based on 28 years of experience.”
Under the deal, Maloney cannot withdraw her guilty plea if she is unhappy with the sentence she receives.
Judge Jason Scott said in court Friday that he would not be bound by the state’s recommendations in the plea agreement because he didn’t want to be limited to a maximum of 30 days in jail. He said the sentencing investigation report would factor into his decision.
Sentencing is set for March 17.
Maloney has four prior misdemeanor convictions, including DUIs in 2012 and 2013. Idaho law calls for charging a third DUI in a 10-year period as a felony.
Maloney was appointed Boise County prosecutor in April 2015 to finish the term of Ian Gee, who left the office for private practice in Boise. She was arrested early on the morning of April 8, 2016, after getting pulled over for speeding on Chinden Boulevard in Garden City.
Breath tests measured her blood alcohol at 0.183 and then at 0.182, more than twice the legal limit of .08.
Maloney left the prosecutor’s office soon after her arrest. Judge Scott asked Maloney on Friday whether she’s been working for the Canyon County Public Defender’s Office, and she responded that she’s been an independent contractor handling conflict cases.
Maloney’s future as an Idaho attorney is unclear now that she’s pleading guilty to a felony.
The Idaho Bar Association’s rules for professional conduct require attorneys convicted of serious crimes to report it to the bar within 14 days. Once receiving notice, bar counsel can begin formal proceedings for sanctions.