YOUNGSTOWN Prosecutors want to tap teen inmate's trust fund
Prosecutors are going after Goins' assets from a wrongful death suit settlement.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The cost of sending James Goins to prison was more than $21,000, and prosecutors want him to pay it.
Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains filed a motion to that effect Monday in probate court, where Goins has a trust account funded with income from the settlement of a wrongful death claim for his father.
The trust was established in 1991 in Texas, where Goins' father died as the result of an industrial accident. It's a structured settlement, which means money is paid into each year.
Gains said there is enough money in the fund now to pay the $21,038 cost of Goins' criminal trial. The cost includes $14,950 for DNA testing by a Maryland laboratory and $3,771 for experts from that lab to testify during the trial.
It also includes $2,000 for juror fees and $317 for other associated costs.
"This kid has assets, so we're going after them," Gains said.
His crime: Goins, 17, is serving more than 85 years in prison for robbing and beating three city residents in January 2001. Another teen convicted in the case is Chad Barnette, also 17. They were tried as adults.
Gains said Ohio law allows prosecutors to seek recovery of prosecution costs in criminal cases where a convicted defendant has the means to pay. However, in most cases defendants are too poor to pay so prosecutors don't bother asking.
"You can't get blood out of a turnip," he said, noting that Barnette was declared indigent so won't be made to pay a share of the costs.
Judge's ruling: When he sentenced the teens, Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court ruled that they pay the costs of prosecution. Because Goins is a juvenile and his assets are administered through the probate court, prosecutors had to file a claim against the trust account, Gains said.
Atty. Alfred J. Fleming, who represents Butler Wick Trust Co., had not seen Gains' motion so was unable to comment on it. Butler Wick is the guardian of Goins' trust account.