Ex-Boise County prosecutor’s DUI trial canceled, plea agreement in works

Jolene Maloney
Jolene Maloney

Former Boise County Prosecutor Jolene Maloney was charged with felony DUI in April was set to go to trial next week. But that’s been canceled because she’s finalizing a plea agreement, according to court records.

Fourth District Court Judge Jason Scott set a change of plea hearing for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27.

Maloney was at the Ada County Courthouse Friday morning for a pretrial conference.

Judge Scott conferred with Maloney’s attorney, Matt Stoppello, in chambers. He then said in court that it was his understanding Maloney is close to reaching a binding Idaho Criminal Rule 11 plea agreement with Dan Norris, the newly retired Malheur County, Ore., district attorney who is serving as special prosecutor in this case.

In a Rule 11 plea deal, a judge cannot change the terms of the sentence agreed to by the defendant and prosecutors, but can choose to fully reject the agreement.

Scott asked if Maloney was ready to enter a guilty plea Friday, according to a recording of the hearing. Stoppello asked the judge to set another hearing for that.

“I think, at this point, I need some more time to try to put together a document that can be submitted to the court at the time of sentencing,” Stoppello said.

Scott agreed to allow Norris to participate in the Jan. 27 change of plea hearing by phone to save him a trip over to Boise.

Maloney was arrested at 12:20 a.m. April 8. An Idaho State Police trooper initially pulled her over for speeding — 52 mph in a 35 mph zone on Chinden Boulevard — but he asked her to do sobriety tests when he smelled a strong odor of alcohol and other indications of intoxication.

Maloney initially refused sobriety tests but then agreed to them, prosecutors previously said. She failed them and then agreed to a breath test. Breath tests measured her blood alcohol at 0.183 and then at 0.182.

She has two DUIs on her record, from 2012 and 2013. Idaho law calls for charging a third DUI in a 10-year period as a felony.

Boise County commissioners were aware of Maloney’s history when they appointed her prosecutor in April 2015, following Ian Gee’s departure to return to private practice. She left the prosecutor’s office a couple of weeks after the felony DUI arrest, and commissioners appointed Boise County deputy prosecutor Ross Pittman to the position.

Pittman ran unopposed for the job in the November election, but decided after his election to instead return to Payette County to run the prosecutor’s office there. Instead of another appointment, county commissioners this week contracted with Boise-area attorney Dan Blocksom to serve as prosecutor, an option allowed under Idaho law when a county can’t find enough qualified, willing residents who are attorneys to fill the elected role.

Blocksom has already been working as an independent contractor, serving the county as a deputy prosecutor.

The penalties for felony DUI are up to 10 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines and a driver’s license suspension for one to five years.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller