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DISTRICT COURT

Crawford County attorney is new district judge

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hernandez sail3 17-10-19

Crawford County Attorney Roger Sailer gives his closing remarks during a vehicular homicide trial

A county prosecutor who has tried criminal cases big and small for the past 11 years was appointed this week to be a district court judge.

Crawford County Attorney Roger Sailer, 55, of Schleswig, will preside over cases in a judicial district that encompasses Crawford, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her appointment of Sailer on Monday to replace Judge Julie Schumacher, whom the governor appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals.

“I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity,” Sailer told the Times Herald. “It really was a difficult decision for me. I really truly love my job as county attorney — it’s the best work I’ve ever done in my life.”

Sailer began as an assistant county attorney in 2008, was appointed county attorney in 2013 when his predecessor retired and has been elected by voters to the post twice since.

County attorneys are tasked with piecing evidence together to explain crimes for court trials and why they believe defendants are guilty of them.

Sailer’s prosecutorial duties over the years have stretched from minor traffic offenses to murders.

In 2015, Sailer helped prosecute two men accused of murdering two people near Deloit. The men had been trespassing on a rural acreage to steal scrap metal when the victims caught them in the act. The men were sentenced to life in prison.

In 2017, Sailer successfully prosecuted a man for vehicular homicide for crashing his car into a river after he drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. A 15-year-old passenger was swept away by the river and drowned as she tried to escape the car. The man was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

Sailer said he looks forward to his new role as judge, in which he might preside over similar trials.

“It’s a serious responsibility,” he said. “I just look forward to doing my part in my corner of the state. I’m going in with my eyes wide open.”

In the coming weeks Sailer will help his successor — who will likely be appointed by the county supervisors — transition into the role before he assumes his new job as judge.

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