Crime

DUI arrest calls prosecutor’s second chance into question

Jolene C. Maloney
Jolene C. Maloney

Boise County officials embraced the opportunity to give a hardworking local attorney a second chance at a career in public service despite her troubled past — a decision that many will question following her Friday arrest on a felony DUI charge.

Jolene Maloney, the county’s top prosecutor, had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 when an officer gave her breath tests early Friday morning, an Ada County prosecutor said in court.

Maloney, who was appointed as prosecutor a year ago and filed to seek election in November, was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Friday on Chinden Boulevard near 38th Street in Garden City, according to Idaho State Police.

Boise County Commission Chairman Alan Ward said commissioners are going to “let the dust settle” before making any decisions about Maloney. He said they are conferring with the county’s contracted attorneys, as well as Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jay Rosenthal, about their options.

“It’s simply too early to know exactly the path from here,” Ward said. They plan to discuss options at their regular meeting Tuesday.

It’s a bump in the road, and it’s a tragedy. But we will continue to move Boise County forward.

Boise County Commission Chairman Alan Ward

In addition to her role as prosecutor, Maloney had been serving as the human resources director for the county, Ward said. He said her job performance was “excellent.”

“Her work has been wonderful,” he said. “She’s got energy, and she’s knowledgeable. I just can’t say enough on the work side. The work has been exceptional.”

Maloney, 40, has been open about being an alcoholic in recovery. 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. If convicted, Maloney faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 and suspension of her driver’s license for at least a year and up to five years.

Maloney sat quietly Friday afternoon during the video arraignment from the Ada County Jail.

She was initially pulled over for speeding — 52 mph in a 35 mph zone. The officer detected a strong odor of alcohol and other indications of intoxication, an Ada County deputy prosecutor said.

Maloney initially refused sobriety tests but then agreed to them, the deputy prosecutor 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.

Attorney Matt Stoppello, who is representing Maloney, told Judge John Hawley that Maloney is employed and poses no flight risk. He said the courtroom was filled with her supporters.

The judge set bond at $50,000. The terms of Maloney’s release include no driving, no possession of alcohol and alcohol monitoring. A preliminary hearing has been set for April 22.

FIFTH ARREST SINCE 2009

Maloney’s legal troubles started seven years ago. She told the Statesman last year that she began abusing alcohol that year to cope with a traumatic incident from her past.

Here are details from Boise police reports on her prior arrests:

May 2, 2009: Maloney collided with a motorcycle while turning from Federal Way onto Bergeson Street. The motorcyclist suffered a leg injury and was thrown from the bike. He told police he had to roll out of the street to avoid being hit by another car. Maloney, working for the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office at the time, left the scene and turned herself in the next day. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident.

Oct. 31, 2010: Police were called to the Eastside Tavern for a report of a battery. A responding officer found Maloney, who appeared intoxicated and had a wound on her head. The officer was told she was kicked out of the bar for being disruptive. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of her injuries. She told an officer that she was worried about her two young children, who were home alone. An officer was sent to check on the children, asleep in the unlocked home. She was charged with two counts of felony injury to a child but pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor injury to a child and one count of disturbing the peace. She was granted a withheld judgment, which was later revoked.

Oct. 20, 2012: An officer stopped a vehicle traveling west on Overland Road after watching it drive over a curb. Maloney told the officer that she had not been drinking, but breath tests showed a blood alcohol level of 0.19. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI and a probation violation.

May, 2, 2013: An officer found Maloney asleep in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that was partially in the outside lane of westbound Overland Road near Jade Avenue. The keys were in the ignition. Her driver’s license had been suspended for the prior DUI. Breath tests showed blood alcohol levels of 0.217 and 0.227. Maloney pleaded guilty to excessive DUI.

COUNTY TUMULT

Boise County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jay Rosenthal was among those in court Friday. He declined to comment after the hearing.

The Boise County Prosecutor’s Office has one other attorney, Ross Pittman.

I am very disappointed. This really puts Boise County’s prosecutions of major cases in a bind.

Barbara Balding, former Boise County commissioner

The county prosecutor’s office is handling a death penalty case set to go to trial in September. Michael S. Dauber is charged with killing Joshua Reddington, 25. He’s also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Steven Kalogerakos, 42.

The office is also prosecuting former county employee Rana Klingner, who is accused of stealing nearly $47,000 from the county.

It’s a generally tumultuous time in Boise County. Idaho City Mayor James Obland was recalled in March, and there’s a petition drive to recall County Clerk Mary Prisco.

Barbara Balding was part of the three-member Boise County Commission that appointed Maloney as prosecutor following the departure of Ian Gee, who is now in private practice in Boise.

“I am so disappointed, and my heart breaks for her,” Balding said. “And she has children.”

Balding said she believed Maloney when she told commissioners that she was on a path to recovery.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

Erin Fenner contributed.

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