A Missoula man charged with felony burglary, Max Edward Sayer, appeared in Missoula Justice Court via video from the Missoula County jail, only to face questions directly from the Missoula County Attorney, Fred Van Valkenburg.

According to court documents, Sayer allegedly broke into a home on Stephens Avenue on June 7, 2013 and stole several items, including two televisions and two laptop computers. He later admitted to police detectives that he had committed the burglary, and that he was extremely intoxicated at the time.


photo by Peter Christian

At his justice court appearance, Van Valkenburg spoke directly to Sayer, clearly identifying himself and telling Sayer he did not have to answer if he chose not to.

"Mr. Sayer, I'm Fred Van Valkenburg. I'm the Missoula County Attorney," he said. "I want to ask you some questions for the purpose of making a bail recommendation to the judge. You, I think, were issued a summons to appear in court yesterday. Did you get that?"

The public defender responded that Sayer did not wish to answer. Van Valkenburg continued.

"How about answering this question? Why didn't you come to court yesterday?," Van Valkenburg asked.

Again, the public defender said Sayer refused to answer. Van Valkenburg then addressed Judge Karen Orzech.

"Alright, that's enough," he said. "Your Honor, I would ask that bail in this case be continued in the amount of $25,000. The state tried to get this defendant to appear just by summons, but he doesn't want to tell the court why he didn't show up, and I think that's indicative of the fact that he doesn't have anything positive on his own behalf to say about it, and I think to guarantee his appearance in the future that $25,000 bail is necessary."

Judge Orzech agreed, setting Sayer's bail at $25,000. His next court appearance will be December 26.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg