Boise City Prosecutor's Office Does The Right Thing
I have to give credit where credit is due. Yesterday, I appeared at a hearing with a young man who had put himself in a very difficult situation. He is college age, a good kid from a good family, with a very bright future. Unfortunately, he had fallen into the trap that nearly everyone falls into at that age - he made a bad choice and then compounded that mistake by making another bad choice. In a 36-hour period of time he ended up being charged with 3 misdemeanor crimes; including two DUIs. No one was hurt (thankfully) but his bright future was now at risk.
It should be noted that these crimes came about, at least in part, because he was prescribed medication for stress and anxiety. Like many people before him, he took these medications without realizing how powerful they are and the effects they can have on your decision making ability. That is not to say the medication or the doctor who prescribed them is fully to blame, this young man made choices of his own that he is responsible for - including consuming alcohol and marijuana (both in very small amounts) after taking these medications - but these medications and their interactions played a significant roll in his behavior.
After this tough 36-hours that included two separate visits to the Ada County Jail, this young man finally showed his true colors. Rather than continue to dig the hole deeper, or get into bed, close the curtains, isolate himself, and just hope everything is going to be OK (something I see many people do), he took the bull by the horns and sought help. He sought the love and support of his parents and then contacted me. Within a couple of days, we had a plan in place and he check himself into a rehabilitation/treatment facility. Over the course of the next couple months he made every possible effort to get his life back on track.
I had been in discussions with the prosecutors for several weeks prior in an effort to make them aware of every effort this young man was making to right the ship. Candidly, although I hoped for the best, I was expecting the prosecutors to take a far more harsh position than I believed was justified. These prosecutor's (2 separate individuals that were handling the 3 cases) are people I deal with on a regular basis. They are good people, I consider them to be among the more reasonable of those in their profession, however, they could have decided to throw the book at this young man - I can't say that position would be completely unreasonable. Instead, they saw this young man for what he is. In a nutshell, unlike nearly everyone the prosecutor's see every day, this young man made a clear showing that: 1. He understands what he did was wrong; 2. He accepts full and unqualified responsibility for his actions (no justifications or excuses); 3. He can not change what happened but he has taken every positive action available to him since that time; 4. He is deserving of any leniency afforded him but will accept whatever punishment no matter how harsh; 5. He will live up to all terms and expectations are required of him by the court, the prosecutor, and probation without issue, and; 6. He will never end up in this situation again.
So, back to yesterday. This young man, his parents, and I entered the courtroom. I pulled the prosecutor aside to discuss their position on the case/cases and try to find a reasonable resolution for everyone involved. As I previously said, I expected this to be an uphill battle that, without much of a position to negotiate from, would likely result in my client accepting a plea deal that involved a unnecessarily severe punishment. Instead, without any real requirement to do so, these prosecutor's agreed to resolve the case for a punishment far below what I expected. Did this still involve serious repercussions - yes. Was this resolution still slightly harsher than I would have required of this young man if it was completely up to me - of course (such is the nature of any plea negotiation). However, these prosecutors agreed to a resolution that was far below what was possible simply because it was the right thing to do.
There is no doubt that this young man has a long road in front of him. There is still a considerable amount of punishment and treatment ahead of him without any room for error. He will still have a criminal record and there can be no doubt that a bad 36-hours of his life, during an age where everyone makes mistakes, is likely to have an impact for many years to come. However, thanks to the reasonableness of the two Boise City Prosecutors in this case, the negative impact should be small and this young man's future is still very bright.
So...credit where credit is due and I hope these two prosecutors see this post because this is probably the only acknowledgment of actions that will exist. Instead of doing the easy thing, like many in their position might have done, they did the right thing and, if nothing else, that restores my faith in humanity just a little.
I also hope others read this post because it shows how much can be achieved after you are charged with a crime. You can the choices you made that led you to be charged with a crime but you can take advantage of the opportunity afforded in every case; the opportunity to prove yourself worthy of leniency. I can not promise that everyone who makes the effort will be rewarded for it - they wont - but some will. Wouldn't you rather do everything possible to put yourself in a good position then not make the effort and wish that you had?