Jury Trial Costs Add Up Quickly

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When a jury trial begins, officials say expenses like jury fees and witness mileage start adding up.

Howard County Clerk and District Court Clerk Marge Palmberg says when it came to the John Oldson trial, her office paid most of that up front, but Valley County will ultimately foot the bill.

"They did tell us to keep a list of anything we have spent for the trial, witness fees included, and then we will pay them and send the bill to Valley County and be reimbursed," she says.

But will it create a budget hardship for Howard County in the time between paying for the 10 day long trial and getting paid? Palmberg says no.

"In our miscellaneous fund we have so much set aside for juries, so it will come out of that," she says. "I don't know when Valley County does pay their bills, but they'll submit it to us. No, we'll be fine."

When a trial is moved it's not just the court clerks that work together.

Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt says they were helped by the Attorney General's Office, the Nebraska State Patrol, St. Paul Police Department, and the Howard County Sheriff's Office.

"Sheriff Schenck, we kind of overwhelmed his office and court house this week and they were nothing but great," says Hurlburt.

The Valley County District Court Clerk says they have no idea how much the trial will ultimately cost, but say they're planning on paying for nearly everything. She says budgeting for jury trials is hard because they never know how many they'll have or how long they'll last.

Hall County paid over $21,000 in initial costs for the Arkanjelo Kot murder trial. That trial lasted seven days, but the state lost the case.