A 19-year-old Hailey man will get a chance to rehabilitate his life after being sentenced Monday to the Idaho Department of Correction's "rider program" on cocaine distribution and grand theft charges.
Sentence was pronounced on Richard M. Livingston in Blaine County 5th District Court. Judge Robert J. Elgee agreed with recommendations from the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and defense attorney Douglas Werth that the rider program was the best option.
Even Livingston agreed with the sentence.
"To his credit, Richard wants the recommendation to be the rider program because that represents a real opportunity to change his life," Werth said. "He can see that where he was is not a good place."
In the rider program, convicted felons are provided a chance to rehabilitate as an option to going to prison. Rider sentences, which can be for up to a year in duration, depending upon Department of Correction findings, are typically served at the North Idaho Correctional Facility in Cottonwood.
Livingston was also given a suspended six-year prison sentence that can be imposed if he fails in the rider program or once he is released and placed on probation.
In accord with a plea agreement, Livingston pleaded guilty in April to the felony charges of aiding and abetting distribution of cocaine and grand theft by possession of stolen property. The drug charge stems from a cocaine sale he helped arrange in Hailey on Sept. 29 between another person and a confidential informant for the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team. In an unrelated incident, Livingston was charged with grand theft for possessing a shotgun that was stolen in April 2010 from a storage trailer in the West Glendale Road area.
At sentencing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback described Livingston as an intelligent young man who dropped out of high school several years ago.
"He's smart, but basically he found himself in a bad situation with a lot of bad people," Fredback said. "Drugs were part of that. He pretty much took everything he could get his hands on."
Terry Smith: email@example.com