Boise County Commission Chairman Alan Ward said Monday that no decisions have been made about the future of Prosecutor Jolene Maloney, who was charged Friday with her third DUI since 2012.
Ward and his two fellow commissioners, Roger Jackson and Laura Baker, don’t yet know if they have the authority to remove Maloney — if that’s even a possibility. They’ve asked outside counsel to present all options in executive session at their regular Tuesday meeting.
“Then we’ll talk about it in public session,” said Ward, who expects that to happen in the late afternoon. The commissioners meet in the Miners’ Exchange building at Main and Wall streets, across the street from the county courthouse.
The public will probably think she has to give up her office at this point. And the answer is no, she does not.
Dan Chadwick, Association of Idaho Counties
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Maloney was appointed in 2015 to finish the term of Ian Gee, who left the office for private practice in Boise. Ward said he did not know if Maloney was back at work in the prosecutor’s office Monday. Her attorney, Matt Stoppello, did not return calls requesting comment.
Dan Chadwick, executive director of the Idaho Association of Counties and former division chief for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, told the Statesman on Monday there’s nothing stopping Maloney from continuing to work while the felony DUI case makes its way through the court system.
“You are innocent until proven guilty. Period,” he said. “All we have is an allegation and a charge. Nobody gets removed from office unless there is a conviction.”
Chadwick said Maloney has the same standing as any elected official, so could not be fired by other county officials.
“Only the public can recall you,” he said.
But an elected county official who is convicted of a felony forfeits his or her position, Chadwick said. A recent example was Jefferson County Sheriff Blair Olsen, who lost his job after he was found guilty of misusing public funds.
Brenda Secor, wife of acting Idaho City Mayor Tom Secor, said commissioners shouldn’t go into executive session to discuss the matter.
“It shouldn’t be a secret,” she said.
Ward, who lives in Garden Valley, said he’s received a lot of feedback from constituents.
“I’ve had people on both sides — people in support (of Maloney) and people requesting her resignation,” he said. “The smart thing is to not react, it’s to think. We need to process it, seek advice and look at all of our options.”
Brad Andrews, counsel for the Idaho State Bar, said the bar association typically lets the criminal process play out before making any decisions about disciplinary action. Sanctions by the bar range from public reprimand to disbarment.
Can felons practice law in Idaho? Yes, Andrews said, but they are subject to formal charge proceedings and possibly interim suspension.
Maloney, who now has a residence in Idaho City, was the only person who filed to run for Boise County prosecutor in November, according to County Clerk Mary Prisco. She’s running as a Republican. But a write-in candidate could challenge Maloney.
Jay Rosenthal, chief deputy prosecutor for Boise County, championed Maloney as Gee’s replacement despite her struggles with alcohol and previous convictions. Ward said Maloney seemed to be making the most of her second chance at working in public service. He said he had heard no reports of relapse.
“I was completely caught off guard,” he said of the early-morning phone call Friday about Maloney’s arrest in Garden City.
He and others have concerns about what the charge against Maloney will mean for the county’s prosecution of some major cases, including those against Michael S. Dauber, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Joshua Reddington and Steven Kalogerakos. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the Reddington case, which is set to go to trial in September.
Maloney was arraigned Friday. She’s been released on $50,000 bond, according to online court records. Her preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 22. The conditions of her pre-trial release included no possession of alcohol and no driving.