Effingham Daily News
Former Effingham County State's Attorney Ed Deters will be allowed to participate in the case of a rural Dieterich woman accused of causing permanent injury to an infant in her care nearly two years ago.
Defense attorneys for Kelci N. Niemerg had sought to exclude Deters - who opted not to seek a fourth term last year - from further participation in the case. New State's Attorney Bryan Kibler had hired Deters as a special assistant state's attorney specifically for the Niemerg case, citing the former prosecutor's familiarity with the hundreds of pages of medical records in the case file.
Niemerg, 25, is facing trial on one count of aggravated battery to a child in connection with injuries suffered by Nathan Dill in May 2011. She could receive up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorneys Bill Milner and Craig Griffin unsuccessfully sought to exclude Deters from further proceedings in the Niemerg case, citing state law that, they said, prohibited Kibler from using a private attorney to prosecute a criminal case.
Judge Kimberly Koester said Kibler had the right to hire Deters for this specific case.
"It's not a problem with this court to allow Mr. Deters to appear," the judge said. "I believe Mr. Kibler has that authority."
During an earlier argument Friday, Milner warned the presence of Deters at the prosecution table may cause any conviction to be overturned on appeal.
"My concern is that I don't want to try this case twice," he said.
Earlier this week, the Effingham County Board passed a resolution allowing Kibler to hire assistants at his discretion as long as he stayed within his budget.
Koester set a final pretrial for 9 a.m. March 18. Jury selection is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. April 8 at the Clinton County Courthouse in Carlyle.
Koester had earlier granted a defense motion to move the trial out of Effingham County because of extensive pretrial publicity.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.