AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials involved in the upcoming jury trial of Richard Kazmaier, an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University and a Canyon resident, are asking for an extension due to the complexity of the litigation.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, officials with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division previously announced that Kazmaier’s trial was initially set for 9 a.m. Monday, March 28 in Amarillo Federal Court. This comes after Kazmaier pled not guilty to charges in relation 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.
“The nature of the case involves (an) allegation that (the) Defendant illegally smuggled wildlife parts from deceased endangered species into the United States without properly declaring the imports or receiving the necessary permits,” court documents read.
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.
According to court documents released Monday, officials from both the prosecution and the defense issued a joint motion for “continuance,” asking the judge to push the trial date by at least 120 days. Court documents detailed that officials with both the prosecution and defense have “cooperated with regard to the production of discovery.” The documents also detail that some of the wildlife items the trial centers around are currently being held in a Federal facility in Dallas.
“(The) Defendant requests the continuance so as to locate and retain a qualified zoology and craniology expert to evaluate the animal parts for purposes of identification under the Endangered Species Act and relevant statutes and to accompany Defendant’s counsel for an inspection and review of the evidence,” the documents read. “(The) Defendant also requests the continuance to fully review the voluminous discovery produced by the Government which dates over a decade.”
Officials requested a trial date to begin at least 120 days from March 28, which would be Tuesday, July 26. Court documents state that there are conflicts on the following dates:
- April 7-16;
- April 18-19;
- May 16-21;
- June 1-16;
- July 11-24.
Officials from both the prosecution and the defense state that they believe the “ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the Defendant in a speedy trial.” As of Monday afternoon, there has not been a response by officials from Amarillo Federal Court regarding this joint motion.
This story is developing. Check with MyHighPlains.com for updates