AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with Amarillo Federal Court recently approved a request by both the prosecution and the defense to push back the upcoming jury trial of Richard Kazmaier, an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University and a Canyon resident, because of the trial’s expectedly complex subject matter.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, officials from both the prosecution and the defense requested the court to push the trial date by at least 120 days, although the trial was initially expected to start later this month. This comes after Kazmaier pled not guilty to charges connected to importing various wildlife items between March 2017 and Feb. 2020. This includes two counts of violating the Endangered Species Act as well as one charge of smuggling goods into the United States.
Kazmaier allegedly imported various animal skulls, skeletons, and taxidermy mounts, according to previous reports. Kazmaier faces a maximum of 21 years in federal prison and a $350,000 fine if convicted for all three charges.
In court documents filed earlier this month, officials with Amarillo Federal Court ordered that the trial is now scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 2. Officials cite numerous reasons to push back the trial, including the unusual and complex subject matter, as well as the time frame of research for the case, which dates back more than 10 years.
“…This Court finds that due to the complex and time-consuming nature of the discovery, this case is so unusual and complex that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings or for the trial itself within the time limits established by the Speedy Trial Act,” the documents read. “…The Court therefore finds, on the basis of the reasons and findings set forth herein, that the ends of justice served by granting the requested continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and defendants in a speedy trial.”
The documents outline various dates that officials for both the prosecution and the defense have to meet prior to the beginning of the trial on Aug. 2. These include deadlines for pretrial motions, deadlines for written designation of expert witnesses, and deadlines for an agreed jury charge prior to the trial.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates