Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Case Of The Juiced Jurist Highlights Larger Problem

OK, let’s give 1st District Court Judge Craig Kosonen points for admitting he drove drunk Tuesday afternoon. Other public figures might have fought the charge. But Kosonen pleaded guilty to drunken driving less than 24 hours after he crashed his pickup into a concrete barrier near Coeur d’Alene. Then, what choice did he have? He did poorly on his field sobriety test and blew a .14 and .15 on two Breathalyzer tests. Idaho’s legal limit is .08. This incident shows the problem American society has with drunken driving. If a judge can’t tell when he’s too pickled to drive, how are lay people supposed to clean up their act? After all, a judge regularly sees the awful carnage caused by society’s infatuation with the bottle. Ultimately, Kosonen was lucky. The pickup and his reputation were the only things hurt when he had one too many for the road.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave

Sometimes, people risk so much for so little. Take the three Spokane County employees who were forced from their jobs in the auto licensing office. Please.

It’s likely the trio regularly heard complaints from residents who didn’t want the hassle or expense of a $12 emission test required for Spokane-area vehicles - or possible repairs that could cost $150 more. Yet, when the boss wasn’t looking - in this case, County Auditor Bill Donahue - the Three Amigas falsified documents so they, their relatives and friends wouldn’t have to pay their fair share. Then, they tried to excuse themselves by saying office supervisor Ellen Marsh did the same thing. Actually, Marsh’s husband did. He falsely registered his 1983 gas burner in a suburb that didn’t require the hated emission test. Marsh kept her job by bringing her husband’s peccadillo to Donahue’s attention. But good grief. The credibility of this office leaves much to be desired.

Idaho’s time has come for a Megan’s Law

Idaho can learn a thing or two from its cousins west of the border on how to deal with sex offenders. Both Washington and Idaho require sex offenders to register with the local sheriff. But Washington goes a step further by warning residents when a convicted pervert moves into their neighborhood. Idahoans can learn if a specific person is a sex criminal only by writing to the Idaho Department of Law Enforcement. Then, they have to supply the suspect’s name, birthday and address. Now, Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas is pushing for an Idaho version of the New Jersey Megan’s Law that requires public notification. A similar bill died in committee during the last Legislature. Any lawmaker who’d vote against this common-sense law doesn’t deserve to serve.

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to