City Attorney’s Office Gets Tough on DUI’s

by jhwygirl

I almost titled this On That Note…, considering my last post….

Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller has a post up at her blog Missoula Red Tape, noting an end to DUI defendants being able to (basically) pick a judge.

Judge Louden, many think (especially those in the city attorney’s office), is too lenient with DUI defendants.

So, when a defendant waived jury trial, they always ended up in Lax Louden’s court.

City Attorney Jim Nugent, though, is exercising his prosecutor’s right to call for a jury trial, and he’s done it with a blanket order – of which you can see if you head on over to Szpaller’s website.

Good for this city. Nugent and and others who brought this policy decision about should be thanked. Our town will be safer for it.

State Senator Greg Barkus and our own congressman Denny Rehberg (along with his staffers that like our local Iron Horse Pub) might want to take note.

Now is the time for the county attorney’s office to step up and do the same: Fred Van Valkenburg, what say you?

Just to note – Van Valkenburg is an elected official, folks. He may be interested in hearing your opinion on this.

  1. Thank you for the mention. One thing Van Valkenburg wants is for the city hire another prosecutor. (Ahh, other people’s money … ) This from Tristan Scott’s story on Wednesday’s DUI panel:

    Finally, Van Valkenburg urged councilors to honor the public service of Deputy City Attorney Judy Wang, who was killed in September by an alleged drunken driver, by hiring another prosecutor with similar expertise.

    “You lost one of the best DUI prosecutors in the state in a DUI accident,” Van Valkenburg said. “And as far as I can tell the city has done nothing to fill that position. I don’t think that’s right.”

  2. Quick solution to the DUI problem: buses that run later. Plain and simple.

    • JC

      Well, that would help. And expanded bus hours, days and lines would be wonderful for a lot of other reasons.

      But who would pay for the bouncers on the buses? Seriously. There’s enough after hours violence downtown. I’d hate to see it extend to the bus line.

      • I don’t think people really get violent on buses. I’m sure the issues downtown will continue and the buses would actually be a safe haven for late nigh returns amongst friends.

        But I just dig public transportation.

  3. klemz

    Bench trials are cheap. Doesn’t Missoula have budget problems?

  4. Louden ran against Judge Clark for being too lenient. I wonder what happens when they’re on the bench a few years.

    • JC

      Judge Wallace Clark too lenient? They called his court “Wally World” for a reason. Sex, race, accent, hair color or length, kind of shoes or dress–they all played into erratic decisions.

      I think the “too lenient” was just a way for Louden to not say that Clark was batsh*t crazy when he challenged him. Most of Missoula was glad to see Clark go. I don’t remember the final vote, but at least the town knew they were getting a more consistent judge.

    • With little exception, they’re all running for re-election the minute they get elected.

      They don’t go there to actually get anything done…anything other than to guarantee their own self-perpetuation in office.

      What’s the solution? It’s the trillion $ ?.

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