There's been another continuance in the case of a Leavenworth woman accused of leaving her baby alone in an alley.
The trial of Elizabeth A. Michaud was continued last month because of a snow storm. The trial was rescheduled for March 25. But another continuance was granted Friday in Leavenworth County District Court. And the trial is now set for April 8.
The trial was continued Friday because of concerns about the availability of a witness.
Michaud is charged with aggravated endangering a child. She is accused of leaving her infant son alone May 3 in an alley in Leavenworth. Authorities believe she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol the night of the incident.
Assistant County Attorney Cheryl Marquardt, who is prosecuting the case, filed a motion asking to take a deposition of a witness who would be unavailable if the trial were held the week of March 25.
Marquardt said the witness is believed to have seen Michaud immediately before the baby was left in the alley. The prosecutor said the witness apparently saw the defendant with a stroller.
"He would testify as to her behavior at that time," Marquardt said.
The prosecutor said the witness has to travel to Chicago the week of the March 25 for mandatory certification for his employment.
Marquardt said he is the only eyewitness who can testify about the defendant's whereabouts prior to the baby being abandoned.
Defense attorney Elaine Halley argued the witness is not essential, saying he reported seeing a woman with hair color that is different than her client's.
Halley said the prosecution could have checked on the availability of witnesses. She said the prosecution also had not shown that the witness can't get his certification some other time.
Halley objected to a video deposition being introduced during the trial.
District Judge Gunnar Sundby said he believes the witness is an essential witness. He therefore ordered a deposition be taken and he ordered the defendant to be present during the deposition.
Sundby said whether the deposition can be used in court can be taken up at the time of the trial. He reviewed the reasons for which a deposition could be used during a trial including an inability to testify because of illness or death.
Halley asked for a continuance, saying the defense wants "this witness in front of a jury."
Marquardt opposed the continuance. She said the witness had only two dates available for the certification, the weeks of Feb. 25 and March 25. When the trial initially was scheduled for Feb. 25, the witness' employer made arrangements for March 25.
Sundby said he didn't know he would allow the deposition to be used during the trial because the situation may not meet the criteria set out in the law. He said the witness can subpoenaed to appear at the trial.
Page 2 of 2 - "It's inconvenient for him," Sundby said.
And the judge acknowledged the circumstances would be unfortunate for the witness' employer.
The judge noted that the defense wants the witness in court.
He said the only solution is rescheduling the trial.