County’s expenses expected to rise if trial is relocated to a new venueIf a judge orders a change of venue in the trial of Leron Lee Howard, 34, Jamestown, it could end up costing Stutsman County.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
If a judge orders a change of venue in the trial of Leron Lee Howard, 34, Jamestown, it could end up costing Stutsman County.
Howard has been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy in the death of Abdi Ali Ahmed, Jamestown, on April 30, 2011, and is scheduled for trial in August.
Fritz Fremgen, Stutsman County state’s attorney, said at Tuesday’s Stutsman County Commission meeting that he will fight a change of venue.
“Well, it’ll be what it’ll be,” said Commissioner Mark Klose. “It is what it is.”
Should the venue be changed, at least four and perhaps seven county employees would have to rent hotel rooms. Potentially, Fremgen said, witnesses could need hotel rooms, too, because they do not always testify when they are scheduled to, depending on trial events.
Fremgen’s own staff would need a work room for the thousands of pages of documents a trial produces.
Many items such as projectors and printers would also have to be transported.
Sheriff Chad Kaiser could be called upon to provide some security in the courtroom as well, Fremgen said.
The trial of Janelle Cave, 22, Jamestown, who was found guilty of manslaughter and criminal conspiracy in Ahmed’s death in February, cost the county about $4,500 in meals, overtime and reserve deputies.
“We tried to minimize the overtime just as much as we could. That was getting a skeleton crew at night,” Kaiser said.
In other news Tuesday, the commission:
* heard the annual report for the Sheriff ’s Office, which saw 6,738 calls for service in 2011.
The number had nearly doubled due to a change in callreporting methods, which enabled better documentation and will earn the department additional grant money, Kaiser said.
* accepted a $46,373 bid to install keyless entry security on doors to the Law Enforcement Center and the Stutsman County Courthouse.
* voted to install a television screen in the Commission Room for presentations. The screen would cost about $1,500 and would enable people to hook their laptops up to show presentations to the board in 10 seconds with just a cord.
* agreed unanimously to close Stutsman County Road 64 — also known as the South Gavilon Grain Road — to truck traffic due to deterioration.
* received an annual report from 911 Coordinator/Emergency Manager Jerry Bergquist. The dispatch center handled 26,068 calls for service in 2011, up from 22,575 in 2010. Bergquist also reported that 73 percent of 911 calls had come from cell phones. * met as the Stutsman County Park Board and voted to proceed with infrastructure work on a campground at Pelican Point Landing.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org