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Judge takes Binger case under advisement

Defense seeks venue change

June 16, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - A defense request for a change of venue regarding a jury trial for a 49-year-old Level 3 predatory offender living in New Ulm was taken under advisement Friday in Brown County District Court.

James A. Binger, with a registered address of the 100 block of Center Street, is being held on $12,000 bail in the Brown County Jail. He faces charges of criminal sexual conduct, violating parole and privacy interference.

With a history of sexual contact with boys ages 7-16, Binger provided some victims with alcohol, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC).

A speedy jury trial was set to begin June 8, 2012 until Binger's attorney, Gregory L. Handevidt of Mankato, withdrew the request after he filed a motion for a change of venue.

The memo stated that new, potentially exculpatory evidence (favorable to the defendant) came to light and that he would be unable to fully examine it with sufficient time to prepare for trial, according to a May 31, 2012 court memo.

"This is a case about a person with a big profile and past criminal history that has been reported in southern Minnesota media," Handevidt told Judge Bruce Christopherson Friday. "This makes it impossible for him to get a fair trial, which he deserves nothing short of."

The judge asked about exculpatory evidence noted in the memo.

"It's evidence surrounding an alibi," Handevidt said.

State's Attorney Josh Steinbrecher of New Ulm said he anticipates a contested omnibus hearing in the case and objected to the defense motion.

"The news reports on Binger are quite stale, dating back to 2010 and 2011," Steinbrecher said. "Juries handle cases like this every day."

Steinbrecher said changing venue will cost the state "quite a bit of money."

"I don't think the (jury) pool is as tainted as Mr. Handevidt wants to portray," he added. "There's no way Binger's past won't come up at a trial."

Handevidt said Binger's right to a fair trial trumps the cost of it.

According to court documents, Binger was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sexual contact with a number of male juveniles in Nicollet and Renville counties.

Committed to the DOC on May 24, 2001, Binger was also incarcerated on other criminal sexual conduct counts.

Two months ago, Binger was arrested and taken to jail by New Ulm Police after two people said he was seen peeking in their windows, according to court documents.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Binger was arrested by New Ulm Police for indecent exposure after a man fishing the Minnesota River in Minnecon Park said Binger exposed himself to him before riding away on a bicycle, according to court documents.

Monitored by five DOC agents, Binger was earlier sentenced to be on Intensive Supervised Release until Nov. 16, 2014.

For more information, visit the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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