Cost Of Justice

Cass County taxpayers are paying the bills for the court case against a former crime scene investigator.

The defense opted for a bench trial which lasted five days. Costs would have skyrocketed much more had there been a jury trial which likely would have taken four weeks or more.

Clarence Mock was appointed as special prosecutor in the case when it was filed in April 2009. Since that time he has billed the county for $92,054 in attorney fees through his firm, Johnson and Mock.

With investigative work, expert witness fees and various expenses added to that, the prosecution tab comes to over $116,000.

The court agreed to have the county pay some defense expenses prior to trial, but defense attorney Steve Lefler had been working with the expectation he would be paid directly by Kofoed. However, just a couple days before the trial, Lefler said Kofoed was broke and he (Lefler) was going to have to withdraw as counsel because the case was going to cause him financial hardship. Rather than start all over with a new attorney, District Judge Randall Rehmeier agreed to Lefler’s appointment as a special public defender and set a fee of $70 an hour from that point for Lefler, about half of what Mock is being paid as special prosecutor.

Defense costs have totaled just over $15,000, with $6,510 of that in the first invoice from Lefler.

Both attorneys submitted detailed fee reports.

Warrant service and witness fees make up the rest of the bill.

Yet to be included are costs from the sentencing June 1st and any appeal costs.

Lefler has said there will be an appeal. Rehmeier kept Lefler as Kofoed’s attorney for that process. The judge told Cassgram that appeal costs will be have to be paid by Cass County.

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