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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane city prosecutor running for municipal court judge seat arrested Sunday after allegedly driving drunk

UPDATED: Wed., June 7, 2017

Prosecutor Adam Papini speaks to two young defendants Monday, Mar. 10, 2014 at the Spokane Public Library. Papini was arrested for DUI in June, but remains on the ballot as a candidate for municipal court judge. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Prosecutor Adam Papini speaks to two young defendants Monday, Mar. 10, 2014 at the Spokane Public Library. Papini was arrested for DUI in June, but remains on the ballot as a candidate for municipal court judge. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A Spokane city prosecutor running for a municipal court judge seat was arrested Sunday in Cheney for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Adam Papini, 45, is an assistant city prosecutor who often works on DUIs and other misdemeanor cases. Papini did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment, nor did his manager, city Prosecutor Justin Bingham. Papini filed May 19 to run against Judge Tracy Staab for her seat in municipal court.

City of Spokane spokesman Brian Coddington said Papini had taken a personal leave of absence this week. The city attorney’s office is aware of the incident and is investigating, he said. Papini has been in communication with the office while on leave.

On Sunday, Papini blew well above a 0.08 after being stopped on First Street near Andrus Road at about 9 p.m. after a witness reported seeing a car weaving in and out of its lane – Papini’s 2008 Ford Mustang, according to a Cheney Police Department arrest report. Papini’s child was in the back seat.

Arresting Officer Rocky Hanni wrote that Papini smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred and eyes were watery, according to the report. After refusing a field sobriety test, his car was impounded and the child was picked up by his mother, the report said.

Papini was taken to the Cheney Police Department, where he voluntarily agreed to take a blood-alcohol level test. But officers had to wait for about a half-hour for the observation period to start over again, because Papini took an unauthorized drink of water.

About an hour and a half after he was first stopped, Papini’s blood alcohol content was 0.161, the report states. He was cited and released that night.

The witness who first called 911 reported seeing Papini’s Mustang slowing down and speeding up again, and crossing over the fog line and center line on Cheney Plaza Road. The witness told police he started flashing oncoming cars to warn them of the vehicle’s erratic driving.

Papini is one of the leaders of downtown Spokane’s community court, which addresses low-level crimes like public urination, trespassing and sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks. It’s been praised by those who’ve used it for offering sentencing alternatives to offenders who complete community service.

Voters will decide between Papini and Staab in the general election Nov. 8.

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