Tracking code caldwell guardian

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Misdemeanor Prosecutions, Caldwell Takes High Bid

THE GUARDIAN is always thinking about the costs to taxpayers for all manner of things done by government at the local level.  The costs for misdemeanor prosecutions came up and a public records request was made to the City of Caldwell for the costs of private legal services v. services from the local Canyon County Prosecutor.  THE GUARDIAN interviewed Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Taylor, Tuesday of this week about the costs.  Mr. Taylor indicated he made an offer of $250,000 to prosecute misdemeanor and infraction issue for the city of Caldwell per year regardless of what the numbers of prosecutions came to over the course of the contract.

A public records request was made to Caldwell City for the RFQ's submitted by Canyon County and the current private law firm of Hamilton, Michaelson, Hilty Law Office.  Bids were: $250K/year from Canyon County and $297K from HMH.   We then used historical data of 3292 prosecutions in the HMH RFQ to figure the costs of each prosecution effort.  Canyon County came in at $76/ prosecution effort and HMH came in at $90/prosecution.  The fair City of Caldwell chose the HMH prosecution services at a elevated cost of nearly 18.5% or $47,000.00 more.

We have known Mr. Taylor for a number of years and consider him to be a learned man of the law as well as a very efficient Prosecutor.  Why the City of Caldwell would not opt to save Caldwell Taxpayers $47K on these services is baffling to THE GUARDIAN.

Editor Note:  RFQ = Request for Quotation...  Felony prosecutions automatically go to the Canyon County Prosecutor unless they are conflicted out to another county.


  1. If misdemeanor prosecutions are $90 each in Caldwell I would be curious to know what they cost in Nampa with all the overhead of a separate court, offices and a host of other overhead costs. Bujak's contract was about $650 thousand as I recall.

    It would seem to me the system has set itself up to be expensive. Make as many misdmeanors as you can like the infraction penalites. Pay a fine at a cash payment window and hit the road. Leave the court appearances to serious matters.

  2. Hey that would be a great idea. Make all Misdemeanors a fine with no jail time?!

    That's pure genius I tell you!

    Beat your neighbor up, misdemeanor battery, pay your fine and go home and beat him up again. After all, I got some more money. Now that jail is no longer in the equation, I'm only limited by how rich I am.

    Beat your wife, Misdemeanor Domestic Battery, pay your fine.

    Petit Theft of an item up to $999.00, Misdemeanor, pay your fine. Steal someones car and go joyriding, pay your fine.

    Trespass on another mans property and cause damage under $1,000.00, Misdemeanors, pay your fine.

    The post is about Caldwell city paying significantly more for prosecutions not how we should change the justice system.

    I am curious as to how long the contract Caldwell city has with this law firm? If it is a multi year contract, does this go back as far as the Bujak fiasco? If it does, I wouldn't blame them for being cautious.

  3. One (about the only) way to prosper in Caldwell is to somehow acquire "most favored provider status for City Hall. Great going Hilty and Assoc., you'all have the ANSWER.

  4. How about trimming your trees and not using a licensed arborist? Setting off illegal fireworks? Guess what it is all a misdemeanor as are a number of other city ordinances. Junk cars on your property are a misdemeanor. Some of it should just be scrapped and some reclassified to infractions.

    There have to be rules to govern a civil society but a good review would be worth the effort

  5. RFQ =Request for Quotation

  6. Funny you speak of ordinances. Ordinances are adopted by cities. Cities try to make not mowing your grass a misdemeanor so they can bully you. The problem isn't jailing misdemeanors, the problem is the CITIES trying to make crimes out of petty crap they want enforced. Take the power away from them so they cant make more stupid rules. The state laws are fine as they are.

  7. There have to be some standards withing city limits. We inherently live close to one another and not maintaining your property is bad form. Voluntarily taking care of problems offensive to neighbors via to Golden Rule works best. But I do not agree with misdemeanor citations when a simple infraction would probably work just as well.

  8. My point exactly. No ordinance should ever be more than an infraction.

  9. RFQ = "Request for Qualifications" not quotation

  10. Point here is City officials left nearly $50k on the table v. asking HMH to meet the price quoted by the County Prosecutor Brian Taylor. Does not sound like much of a negotiation on the part of Caldwell City Officials.

    It's OK to stay with HMH but it should have been a zero sum game with HMH meeting low bid.

  11. Some church sects favor and promote the same church members for awarding contracts. To be fair, any public contract should be awarded on qualifications and price. Not the church the awardee goes to.


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