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Andi Elliott: Jefferson County’s Response to My Request for Costs

September 13th, 2010 by Halli

By Andi Elliott, Tea Party Patriots State Coordinator and Animal Welfare Activist

I read this week’s Jefferson Star article entitled “County investigation draws to a close”. I had to smile. Recently I received a letter from our County Clerk. Due to the investigation and the complaint in the petition that county residents were having a tough time getting information, a new policy was instituted promising a 3-day turn around for information requests.

When my letter arrived in response to my request for the costs related to my prosecution for “trespass by agency” (involving the Mud Lake dog with broken legs) that was dropped 6 months later after multiple hearings and motions and discovery expenses, I laughed out loud.

To cite the letter: “Sheriff’s Office: Did not track man hours used, therefore no way to calculate cost. Prosecutor’s Office: There are no recorded hours. Prosecutor is salaried. Court Clerks: Do not track hours per case, only all encompassed caseload numbers per year. Judges-paid by state.”

I must admit, the response was timely…72 hour turn around, as promised.

So, since the county is unwilling to come forward with any reasonable information, let me see if I can estimate an approximate figure. My attorney expenses were approximately $12,000 and I’m sure that Prosecutor Dunn who was inextricably involved considers his time equally important. The Deputy Prosecutor has indicated that she was the lead prosecutor in my case, so shall we say around $10,000 for her involvement? I have a “trial notebook” loaded with Motions that I’m sure encompassed many “man hours”. Let’s guess 25 hours at about $8 an hour…about $200. And the multiple 1 1/2 hour round trips that the deputies made from Rigby to Mud Lake….hmmm, I’m guessing the deputies’ pay equals a teacher’s salary. I’ll low ball it…$20 an hour at maybe ten trips. And then consider the gas/wear and tear/benefits and “opportunity lost” on time dealing with criminals and then there were the hours that were spent in court. I’m thinking it was around 6 court hours and we’ll say the judge makes $50 (I’m guessing here)…so that’s another $300 plus all the clerks and deputies present. So, I’m thinking that we’re looking at close to $20,0000-$25,000 total cost to Jefferson County taxpayers.

I am also thinking that we could have better used the time and monies elsewhere. What do you think?

Andi Elliott

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