As in Dorton case, pre-trial meetings tie up loose ends

By David Knopf/Richmond News

When attorneys and Circuit Judge David Miller gather Jan. 8 to discuss defendant Michael Dorton’s jury trial, most trappings found in a courtroom will be missing.

That’s by design, the judge said, because pre-trial conferences – much like the pre-game meetings at home plate where umpires and managers discuss ground rules and exchange lineup cards – are informal and designed to avoid surprises once the real action starts.

“They’re off the record,” said Miller, whose initially scheduled pre-trial meeting for the Dorton attorneys coincided with a day of wintry conditions. “The client usually isn’t there, but the attorneys usually go through the motions to see if there are any that haven’t been ruled on.”

Dorton, scheduled for a two-day jury trial Jan. 15-16, is a Richmond man charged with two felonies for allegedly attacking his mother, Stephanie Ann Bryant, in January 2013.

He is being represented by Excelsior Springs attorney William Greim.

Prosecutors have alleged Dorton fractured Bryant’s skull with either a baseball bat or small hammer, called 911 to report an attack without implicating himself and then later fled the area in his parents’ car.


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