A Pierce County, Nebraska, jury found Katie Conner Jacobsen, a former employee of the City of Plainview, "Not Guilty" of stealing City funds while employed by Plainview, Nebraska. Plainview, population 1,222, is in northwest Pierce County.
Jacobsen worked for Plainview between mid-2008 and early 2010. She lived in Plainview, left employment in Norfolk, and took the municipal job to save travel costs.
The Pierce County jury heard, in a three-day jury trial in early December, that the City suffered long term, serious problems with its accounting methods and procedures, but believed a cash shortage in its accounts existed in December 2009 and January 2010. While law enforcement was involved, the investigation was undertaken by City civilian officials and an outside accountant. County and local law enforcement were not involved. The State Patrol's involvement was nominal.
"Katie Jacobsen was the lowest ranking person among city personnel," Dave Domina said. He also said, "She steadfastly maintained her absolute innocence and submitted to voluntary interview after interview and questioning whenever asked by investigators."
The jury heard from three City employees, the investigating accountant, and briefly from a State Patrol officer. These witnesses were all called by the State.
Mrs. Jacobsen, who gave many statements to police, chose not to testify, but called an expert accounting witness, a State Patrol investigator, and a City employee during her presentation.
"Like many people accused of terrible wrongdoing, Katie knew she had completely bared her soul to the investigating officer," Domina said. When called to testify, the State Patrol's investigator candidly recited the defendant's repeated assertions of her innocence and declarations of willingness to cooperate with the investigation.
During final argument to the jury, Domina argued that neither the actual loss of funds, nor any connection to Domina Law Group's client was proven. Testimony by accounting witnesses for the prosecution and the defense, respectively, were important considerations.
"Of course, we are relieved for our client's sake," Domina said. "Her life will restart, she will be reinvigorated, and I am sure Katie Jacobsen will contribute beneficially to her community."
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