An Asotin County public defender charged with possession of cocaine has been approved for a felony diversion program in Garfield County.

According to court documents, Sarah M. McFadden, 33, was charged with the class C felony based on an investigation stemming from her Sept. 8 DUI arrest in Clarkston.

McFadden, who has no prior felonies, agreed the facts of the case were sufficient to prove guilt and entered into the diversion program at Garfield County Superior Court on Jan. 16. If she successfully completes the terms over the next 18 months, the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.

McFadden was arrested by Clarkston police behind her law office on the 700 block of Sixth Street after leaving Lancer Lanes on Bridge Street. She was taken into custody for driving under the influence, and her vehicle was impounded and searched with a warrant.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a small bag containing a white substance was found in her console and sent to a crime lab for identification.

The documents also indicate McFadden had been contacted by detectives from the Quad Cities Drug Task Force recently for her suspected involvement with a complaint in Pullman and earlier reports of her allegedly soliciting people at Lancer Lanes in an attempt to acquire cocaine.

“McFadden was very forthcoming in regards to these incidents,” according to the report. “McFadden stated she had an addiction to cocaine and was having a hard time with this addiction. At that time, (she) voluntarily gave up a small amount of cocaine to detectives from her residence.”

The attorney, who represented herself, was arraigned on a DUI charge in Asotin County District Court and later charged with the felony in Garfield County Superior Court. Garfield County Prosecutor Matt Newberg handled the case on behalf of the state and signed the order for the diversion program, along with Judge Thomas Cox and the defendant.

Under terms of the agreement, McFadden has to report to the Garfield County prosecutor and Superior Court every six months, complete 48 hours of community service and obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation within 30 days.

In addition, she must follow through with all treatment recommendations and complete no less than 12 months of outpatient treatment and consume no controlled substances without a valid prescription.

If she violates the terms during the next 18 months, McFadden faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, the standard range is up to six months in jail, based on her criminal history.

After 18 months the state will move to amend the charge to a misdemeanor, according to the court documents obtained Wednesday by the Lewiston Tribune through a public records request.

All parties, including McFadden, the prosecutor and judge, agreed to have the case handled in Garfield County, although the crime occurred in Asotin County.

McFadden has been working in Asotin County for one year through a contract to provide public defense to indigent defendants. She is paid $6,135 a month for her services.

County officials said they have been informed of the recent developments in her court case and continue to monitor the situation. Her contract runs through the end of this month.

Sandaine may be contacted at or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.

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