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Zahnd critical of Glick trip to Vegas

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A four-day, three night stay in Las Vegas—for which nearly $1,100 of expenses were covered using county funds—has Platte County Prosecutor Tammy Glick coming under fire from her opponent this week.

Glick flew to Las Vegas last Wednesday and returned on Saturday. She said the purpose of her trip was to attend a conference of the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation.

According to information provided by the association, the conference is designed for "government attorneys involved in prosecuting capital (death penalty) cases."

Eric Zahnd, who will be Glick's opponent in the November election, said he feels Glick's trip using county money was inappropriate given that "Platte County currently has no death penalty cases, and has had no such case go to trial since at least 1994."

Glick, in a telephone interview this week, defended her trip by saying the county currently has five murder cases pending.

"We have five pending homicide cases, and any one of those could be capital (death penalty) litigation," she said.

Platte County has murder cases going against Jimmy Williams, Brenda Williams and their daughter Chrysta Mize in the shooting death of Thad Mize, the ex-husband of Chrysta; against Cornell Williams, who allegedly killed a man over a set of wheels; and James Detmer, who is accused of killing his father with a claw hammer in his father's garage.

"Potentially, any of those five could go to capital murder status," Glick said.

Is it likely any of them will?

"I'm not making any comment on that at this time," she responded.

Zahnd said he believes that if Glick had any intention of moving any of those cases to capital murder status, she would have already done so.

Glick said it's possible the determination to go to death penalty status could be done closer to trial.

"You take a look at pre-meditation and other (factors)," she said.

As for the use of county funds, payment requisition forms from Platte County show county funds covered the cost of Glick's air fare, which was $385 for her non-stop flight. County money also covered Glick's hotel stay, which totaled $294.30 for three nights; and the registration fee for the conference, which was $400.

Glick said she would not be submitting requests for per diem reimbursements.

Glick's husband accompanied her on the trip but none of his expenses were paid for by the county.

Zahnd called on Glick to pay back the county money she used.

"This is not a personal attack on Ms. Glick. She can fly to Las Vegas to spend four days at Caesar's Palace with her husband anytime she wants. But I believe it is wrong for her to have Platte County pick up the tab. She should return the money for this trip," he said.

Glick said she won't be returning the money.

"No, it was business," she said. "It was not a junket to Las Vegas, it was a training session. It's the best training I've had with regard to homicide trial," added.

Glick pointed out that three assistants from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Clay County Prosecutor, an assistant from Clay County, and two assistants from Wyandotte County also attended the same conference.

Zahnd claims similar prosecutor training seminars are available through the National District Attorneys Association in South Carolina for free. He also says Missouri regularly has a "death penalty school" to provide training to lawyers interested in death penalty cases.

"It doesn't make sense to spend county money for a four-day spree in Las Vegas when similar training is available in Missouri or in South Carolina for free," he said.
Zahnd said Glick's trip was surprising given her earlier pledge to save the county money. When Glick was criticized for seeking a special prosecutor to handle a murder case in the county, she said the decision was made in part to help save Platte County money in the long run.

"This junket to Las Vegas certainly did not save Platte County money," he remarked.
Glick emphasized she feels the trip was beneficial.

"The training was very worthwhile and I see it as a very effective use of the prosecuting attorney's training fund," she stated.

She said the training fund receives money from court costs paid by defendants.