MADD’s Court Monitoring Program enlists court monitors to observe and document what happens in the courtroom during impaired driving case proceedings. The program was created to ensure that impaired driving offenders are prosecuted and justice is achieved. Court monitoring is a tool proven to affect the adjudication process and is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as an effective countermeasure to reduce impaired driving (1). Court monitors on the local scale can impact the handling of impaired driving cases by their mere presence in the court room.
Court monitoring is intended to enhance transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system and reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses. One way this goal is achieved is by sharing data and observations with law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and the public to promote awareness of impaired driving and ensure accountability for all impaired driving offenders. To reduce future offenses, MADD® supports swift and unbiased treatment of all impaired driving cases. Court monitors track misdemeanor impaired driving cases in the judicial courts of their respective counties. Court monitors are often physically present for court settings and acquire case information from courtroom observation and, when necessary, from researching online databases. The data is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes. The information presented in this report is from cases monitored in 2021. Grant funding for this program was made available through the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety.
The Idaho Court Monitoring Program monitored cases in Canyon County.
Idaho State Report (reporting period: 1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021)
Case Disposition DUI
Where disposition is known.
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the counties monitored and is not intended to be a statistical analysis.
Pending Cases Monitored* | 62 | 63% Adjudicated Cases Monitored | 37 | 37% Total Cases Monitored in 2021 | 99 *pending cases are cases waiting for a judgement
MADD Idaho began our piloted Court Monitoring program this year. Idaho staff monitored a total of 99 DUI cases in Canyon County. On average there are approximately three to five new DUI cases a day. For cases that are adjudicated, the sentencing follows the DUI misdemeanor laws in the State of Idaho. According to the Idaho Transportation Department for the year of 2020:
Last year impaired driving was a factor in 6.7% of all crashes in Idaho but contributed to 43% of all traffic fatalities. In 2020, a person was killed in an impaired driving crash every four days in Idaho. 71% of motor vehicle occupants killed in DUI crashes were not wearing seat belts. 6,939 people were arrested for DUI in 2020. Males comprised 72% of the drivers involved in impaired driving crashes.
& Age Gender Where age and gender are known.
Among observations, it was noted that there was a high prevalence of cases involving individuals 21-39 years old. The majority of defendants also were reported as male. These cases usually have subsequent charges of possession of paraphernalia, controlled substance or resisting arrest. Of these cases that were monitored, the defendant typically pled not guilty as to make a plea agreement to have the subsequent charges dropped.
Canyon County Dispositions in
Where disposition is known.
Plea Deal 1
Of the cases that that were monitored, about 99% were found guilty of a DUI while one resulted in a plea deal.
Of the cases monitored, approximately 75% of the DUI offenses have subsequent charges. Most other charges attached to these cases are second or excessive DUI with many of the subsequent charges revolving around some type or paraphernalia charge. MADD Idaho also observed three cases where the DUI was a result from other drugs rather than alcohol.
Key Findings & Observations
MADD Idaho observed that approximately 65% of defendants used public defenders as opposed to private counsel in the cases monitored. No discernable difference has been identified between the two practices yet. However, observations have noted a slight increase in the use of private attorneys rather than public defenders. In addition, there were only two cases monitored where the defendant was pro se (i.e., a person who presents their own cases in court without a lawyer) in which the defendant pled guilty as their initial plea. About 90% of the DUI arrests came from Nampa Police Department and well over 50% of these arrests included a refusal to blow (i.e., refusing a breathalyzer). After reviewing officer reports it was observed that some defendants agreed to a breathalyzer instead of a blood draw after being reminded of the potential consequences that may follow a refusal to blow, which is a one-year license suspension. There was also an influx in cases for non-citizen DUIs. According to a local prosecutor the defendant is put on an immigration hold, and then they will have to address issues around their citizenship in the federal immigration court system, as well as their DUI through the magistrate court. This is a separate court system and, as a result, we are not notified of the consequences the defendants received in relation to their immigration status.
Key Findings & Observations Continued
Through our observations we have identified future action items and goals. In the year 2022, MADD Idaho would like to: Continue to build a rapport and relationships with local agencies. As courts allow for in-person attendance it will be beneficial for MADD Idaho to talk with the officers and prosecutors in person to advance this goal. Although court hearing attendance has been limited to via Zoom meeting, the court clerks are beginning to recognize our court monitors. Increase the number of cases monitored through recruitment of new volunteers. We look forward to increasing our efforts along with the support of our volunteers in attendance via Zoom and in person as DUI cases take place throughout the day. Gather further data on age ranges and further review case data as we continue our observation and collection in the coming year. Canyon County holds a specialty DUI court every Monday which MADD Idaho believes to have a great deal of promise. Defendants are reviewed one by one. Canyon County looks at work and family life, as well as taking into consideration if they are attending alcohol classes or counseling. The court also reviews the steps that defendants need to take in order to graduate from the program. Observations determined that most of the participants are over 150 days sober, with the longest being 850 days sober. There is an eligibility criterion to be accepted into DUI court, which is conducted by a referral to the court and a screening process. Misdemeanor and first time non-aggravated, non-alcohol or drug related probation violations are eligible and some are case by case basis for special circumstances.
We look forward to monitoring cases over the coming years in order to have comparable data over time. We are grateful to the law enforcement agencies of Canyon County who have provided support and information for our Court Monitoring program.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY DRUNK OR DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING, MADD IS HERE TO HELP. CALL OUR VICTIM/SURVIVOR 24-HOUR HELPLINE AT 877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435).
(1) Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018, April). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offices, Ninth edition (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime, yet continues to happen across the United States. Each year, about 1 million individuals are arrested. What happens after those arrests depends on the criminal justice system. As a MADD court monitor, you can get the insider’s perspective on the judicial system while making a vital contribution to your local community. Your presence in court and the data you collect will help make sure our laws are upheld and the criminal justice system does what it is intended to do: Keep us safe. Court monitors achieve the work of MADD’s Court Monitoring Program by doing the following: Remind law enforcement that MADD wants to see their cases prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Identify trends in offender age, gender, and blood alcohol concentration level
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Promote public awareness and understanding of the dangers of impaired driving
For more information about court monitoring efforts in your state, please visit madd.org/courts to learn more about the program and the availability to volunteer.
For more information about volunteering in Idaho, please visit madd.org/Idaho.
Idaho State Office 5501 Kendall Boise, ID 83706 Idaho.firstname.lastname@example.orgPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
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