Senior District Judge G.D. Carey this week denied the countys motion to reconsider allowing former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak to use public defenders to defend him on charges that he wrongfully took $236,000 from the county. The court is satisfied that Mr. Bujak does not have the resources to pay in full for his defense, Carey said.
But Carey also said the countys motion and supporting documents raise a substantial issue about the propriety of continuing the appointment of defending Bujak at public expense.
Court documents show the countys cost for defending Bujak topped $44,000 in less than six months, from the filing of the charge just before Christmas through June 11. The case is complicated and requires a substantial amount of time and effort on the part of appointed counsel, Carey said.
And the case is growing more complex: The original charge of misusing public funds was joined this week by two related felony charges that contend Bujak falsified a document that could support his defense and anonymously faxed the document to the special prosecutor.
Tuesday, Carey upheld an interim order requiring Bujak to pay $1,000 a month, starting this month, toward the cost of his two public defenders. Bujak had asked the judge to reconsider that requirement.
The county argues that Bujak, granted a public defender in mid-December to handle a contempt charge during his divorce case, should have been asked to reaffirm his indigence before that lawyer was appointed to represent him in the criminal case that was filed a week later.
Attorney Nancy Callahans colleague Rolf Kehne was later appointed to join her on Bujaks publicly funded defense team.
In documents filed with the court, the county claimed Bujaks financial status appeared to improve dramatically immediately after he was granted a public defender; his lifestyle and bank records belie his claims that he cant afford representation. Bujaks law license is suspended as charges against him play out in the courts and before the Idaho State Bar, but the county said he has been depositing between $4,000 and $7,000 per month into at least one bank account.
Bujak said Friday he couldnt comment on Careys decisions because of a gag order his attorneys requested in the criminal case. The Canyon prosecutors who challenged Bujaks eligibility for public defenders could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447