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Scott County commissioners alarmed by change-of-venue cost

Monday, November 17, 2008

BENTON, Mo. -- When it comes to high-profile trials, a change of venue is often needed. But it's also quite costly.

Scott County commissioners received a bill from Boone County during their regular meeting Thursday morning for jury expenses for the trial of Vincent Minner of Matthews, held earlier this year on a change of venue. The total costs were $11,010.66.

"And there will be more costs," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner. The county will also pay for Minner's housing, as well as pick up the tab for the county investigator, as well as costs incurred by Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd through the trial.

The trial resulted in Minner's sentence to life in prison for the Nov. 5, 2006, murder of Michael Terry, whom Minner shot at Terry's Sikeston apartment.

"I don't think the public has any idea that the change of venue costs that much to the county," said Burger.

Pam Glastetter, circuit clerk, explained that, since it was a murder trial, the jury had to be sequestered, and was housed in a hotel for three nights.

"Sequestered juries cost a lot of money," she said. "And the originating county has to pay the cost."

One of the downsides of such trials, Glastetter and commissioners agreed, is that they are unplanned and thus can't be budgeted.

Later in the meeting, Burger called Boone County officials to request itemized receipts, due to what he called "an alarming cost." He said commissioners would not approve a payment until those receipts are reviewed.

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These things are steep but they are not avoidable. Its better to pay and just do it right the first time. Paul can't avoid a trial like that one. The comissioners are doing their job by questioning the bill but the PA had to do his job regardless. Sometimes cost has to be a secondary issue. I do think its good the county looks at each bill individually and doesn't just sign and pass though.

-- Posted by Donnie on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 1:15 AM

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