allowed to stay on as Pirate case prosecutor
It wasn't a typical day in Platte County Circuit Court
Division III on Tuesday.
A couple of things took place during a court appearance
for the last of the stolen Pirate statue defendants that
certainly don't happen in every court session.
1. A prosecutor was called to the witness stand, something
legal observers called highly unusual.
2. An attorney in a misdemeanor case announced his client
will seek a jury trial, something sources said is not
completely unusual but certainly not something that happens
with great frequency.
When the smoke had cleared after 20-25 minutes of court
discussion, Judge Daniel Czamanske denied a motion by
Nicholas Jaros' defense attorney to have Platte County
Prosecutor Tammy Glick removed from the case for a conflict.
Jaros' attorney, Matt O'Connor, then indicated his client
will seek a jury trial. He also indicated co-defendants
in the Pirate case may be called to testify at trial,
as may the school superintendent and principal.
O'Connor said some depositions will need to be taken
and his side may be ready for trial in mid-September.
The case has been put back on Judge Czamanske's schedule
for a docket call on Aug. 20, at which time it's possible
a trial date will be set.
Jaros, 17, and five other defendants were charged with
misdemeanor counts of stealing, first degree trespassing,
and first degree property damage. The charges stem from
the theft of a carved wooden Pirate statue from the lobby
of the Platte County High School in March.
The other five defendantsChase A. Verdoorn, 19;
David R. Poolman, 19; Kevin L. Remmers, 18; Joseph L.
Mules, 18; and Steve B. Jones, 17have already pled
guilty and have been given sentences of probation time
and community service hours.
Court documents filed by the prosecution allege the students
gained entry into the school by using building keys issued
to Nick Jaros' father, who is the athletic director at
the high school.
Investigative reports done by the Platte City Police
Department say that all six defendants eventually confessed
to taking part in the crime.
Primary discussion during Tuesday's court hearing centered
on whether Glick should be removed from prosecuting the
case. O'Connor requested permission to call Glick to the
stand to answer several questions. Judge Czamanske initially
asked O'Connor to tell him what the questions were going
to be, but as O'Connor was reading off the questions Czamanske
stopped him and instructed Glick to take the witness stand.
O'Connor's questions concerned Glick's dates of service
on the school board, what date she had been appointed
county prosecutor, and Glick's earlier representation
of the mother of one of the other Pirate co-defendants
in a civil matter.
Glick quietly answered questions from O'Connor, but neither
the questions nor the answers provided any great details
other than dates and a confirmation of Glick's previous
representation of the mother of a co-defendant.
O'Connor attempted to paint a picture of a conflict of
interest on Glick's part, at one time saying Glick had
previous dealings with Jaros' parentsboth of whom
are teachers in the school systemthat were "not
pleasant" in nature.
O'Connor's arguments were answered by assistant prosecutor
Jim Roe. At one point as the defense pointed out connections
Glick had with parties involved in the case, Roe said:
"The position of prosecutor is an elected position.
She has to know the community to get elected."
O'Connor also tried to tie in a connection between an
unrelated case in which Glick had asked the court to determine
if there was "the appearance of a conflict"
when it was announced a member of her staff had previously
represented Jason Hendrix, the man accused in the death
of a Dearborn volunteer firefighter.
O'Connor's argument appeared to be that if there is an
appearance of a conflict in that case, then it could be
said there is the appearance of a conflict in this one.
"The thing about ethics is they don't change case
to case," O'Connor remarked.
Judge Czamanske said he saw a "strong difference"
in the two cases.
"I don't see the appearance of impropriety. I see
a prosecuting attorney being charged with representing
the state of Missouri," the judge said in overruling
Jaros, who will be a senior when school starts in a few
weeks, is a member of the defending state champion Pirate
football and wrestling teams, and had been a member of
the eventual state champion baseball team last spring
until being suspended from the squad after being charged
with the crime.
Under guidelines set by the Missouri State High School
activities Association, students are ineligible to compete
in athletic activities until their problem with the legal
system has been cleared and any community service hours