Homicide trial date is set

GLENDIVE, Mont. -- More than five months after pleading not guilty to negligent homicide, Julie C. Rogers, 47, Wibaux, Mont., has a trial date set for June 4.

GLENDIVE, Mont. -- More than five months after pleading not guilty to negligent homicide, Julie C. Rogers, 47, Wibaux, Mont., has a trial date set for June 4.

Judge Richard A. Simonton oversaw an omnibus hearing Tuesday morning in Glendive, Mont., at the Dawson County Courthouse. Rogers waived her right to be present during the hearing.

According to Montana Code Annotated Section 46-13-110, an omnibus hearing shall be held within a reasonable time following a plea of not guilty and is for the purpose of expediting procedures leading up to the trial of the defendant.

Although not all of the evidence in the case has been analyzed, the judge was concerned about postponing the setting of a trial date.

"We're going to be running into speedy trial (concerns) soon," Simonton said. "Even then (in September), it would be 150 days by the end of the month."


Simonton stipulated the case would take a week at trial. Prosecuting Wibaux County Attorney Ron Efta said that should be long enough, although state public defender Ali Moulton said it could last longer.

Both attorneys stipulated to pre-trial jury selection, although Efta asked that it be a large jury pool because of Wibaux's population. Efta said the defendant had a large extended family in Wibaux.

Moulton, who is based in Glendive, said she was less familiar with the population of Wibaux and did not have a reason to disagree with Efta's opinion.

Simonton said the jury pool would be selected from 75 people.

"Seventy-five would be a minimum, I would say," Efta said.

The judge set dates for other trial actions as well, such as filing motions to suppress evidence. However, Moulton said some of the dates may be problematic, depending upon when she receives the evidence analysis.

"As the information comes in, the state has been making it available to Ms. Moulton," Efta said.

Efta said he spoke with the crime lab Feb. 26, and a worker informed him the more important evidence analysis would be available shortly.


Simonton asked if that time period was according to crime lab standards.

"I'm afraid it might be crime lab standards," Efta said.

Efta said he filed information with the crime lab on July 5, 2006.

Moulton pointed out that April 13, a date proposed by the judge for filing various information, may be too soon to present her defenses to the judge. She said it would take time for her experts to review and analyze the evidence, which is in a Missoula, Mont., crime lab.

"Our experts might take as long as the crime lab," Moulton said.

Simonton said Moulton's client could waive her right to a speedy trial.

"She's not going to be waiving speedy trial," Moulton said.

During the hearing, Montana attorney Jerry Cook informed the judge he would be filing papers to act as secondary counsel with Moulton.


Rogers was charged with negligent homicide in Justice Court on June 25. She pleaded not guilty on Sept. 13.

Rogers is accused of negligently operating a vehicle and striking Tamela Ann Curtis, 47, Wibaux, causing fatal injuries which resulted in her death on or about June 15. If Rogers is found guilty of negligent homicide, the result could be a prison sentence not to exceed 20 years, a fine not to exceed $50,000, or both.

Court documents show Rogers posted a $10,000 bond on June 25 and was bound over to district court.

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