Near Record Setting Year For Trials in Stearns County
A large portion of the money spent by the Stearns County Attorney's office went into trials in 2021. Janelle Kendall is the Stearns County Attorney. She joined me on WJON today. She says they were close to a record setting number of trials last year. Kendall says the trials included the 3 Red Carpet homicides which were a big expense for the county. She says they have not had any problem getting jurors.
Kendall says many cases get settled prior to a trial taking place. She says as the prosecutor they present all the evidence to the defendant. Kendall says often times they know what the end result in the case will be before it happens based on the evidence. She says very commonly a defendant and their lawyers see what the result will be and come to a plea agreement to avoid the trial. Kendall says trials are everyone's right and they have no problem when cases go to trial. She said they had almost 1,300 felonies in Stearns County last year and only 40 trials.
During the last couple of years in 2020 and 2021 many functions done by the county used a hybrid or remote setting. Kendall says they is continuing this because of the convenience and cost savings. She says many cases can be resolved remotely. Kendall says the process of doing some remote work with cases will continue and they are looking to make that a permanent part of their policy. She says Stearns County is approaching cases that they will be hybrid unless circumstances won't allow it.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Janelle Kendall it is available below.