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Jurors went unpaid in Cass County

Updated: 2013-11-12T03:12:48Z

By BETHANY BASHIOUM

Special to The Star

The Cass County Circuit Clerk’s Office has neglected to pay some jurors, who are owed more than $12,000 collectively for their service earlier this year.

Presiding Judge Bill Collins revealed the lapse in an Oct. 17 letter to the Cass County Commission after reports surfaced of mismanagement in the circuit clerk’s office.

On Aug. 20, Circuit Clerk Amy Bell, who had been in office since 2010, was relieved of her duties and placed on administrative leave with pay.

Collins wrote that the court discovered six juries went unpaid from Jan. 25 to Aug. 19, resulting in an unpaid bill of $12,576.32 to a total of 297 jurors.

The court has empaneled four juries from Aug. 19 through Oct. 4, essentially after Bell’s suspension, and those jurors were paid within two weeks of their service, for a total of $6,396.23.

The payments do not include costs associated with the recent Jeffrey Moreland murder trial. Collins said the Boone County Circuit Clerk will submit a jury bill.

Collins said the court has established a process to insure prompt payment to the citizens of Cass County.

As a result of the continued investigation, two other budget matters have been discovered:

• In May, Attorney Gary Fanning Jr. advised Bell that several payments totaling $3,700.43 were given to the wrong attorney in a garnishment that was initiated in a civil case.

Collins said the court discovered the error only recently in a review of finances, and had not been able to contact the improperly paid attorney.

He said it’s possible a claim may be made by the plaintiff in the case.

• The Circuit Clerk has $4,840.71 in unpaid office supply bills from Office Products Alliance. The invoices are from January to September this year.

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