Judge Dismisses Franklin County From Court Suit - The Missourian: Local News

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Judge Dismisses Franklin County From Court Suit

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 6:45 pm

A lawsuit filed by a group of county residents against Franklin County’s new municipal court has been dismissed.

In a written order issued Friday, Associate Circuit Court Judge Robert Schollmeyer dismissed the case, stating the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.

Schollmeyer’s order gave the plaintiffs until March 1 to amend their lawsuit, and if they fail to do so, then a final judgment of dismissal will be granted to the county.

Plaintiff Art LeBeau said he plans to appeal or amend the lawsuit.

“It is not going to die,” LeBeau said. “This will go all the way through the courts.”

LeBeau said there is nothing in state statute that backs up the judge’s ruling that the plaintiffs do not have standing in the case.

“I think the judge took the easy way out, typical of judges in courts to say somebody doesn’t have standing without having to rule on the merits,” LeBeau said.

Matthew Becker, the attorney representing the county, previously argued that the plaintiffs had no basis to sue the county since they were not directly impacted by the county municipal court.

For instance, Becker said the plaintiffs were not charged with any violations in the court.

The plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleged that the county’s municipal court, which was established last year to handle zoning and traffic violations, was unconstitutionally created.

The suit alleged that the court was established by the Legislature after enabling language was added to a bill that dealt with a different subject.

Specifically, the original bill dealt with juvenile court, but then language establishing the Franklin County Municipal Court was added onto the bill.

The plaintiffs, who represented themselves, said state law prohibits new language being added onto a bill that is different from the bill’s original purpose.

Presiding county Commissioner John Griesheimer said the judge’s dismissal of the case proves that the county municipal court has always been legal.

But Griesheimer said he does not think the court fight is over, noting that the plaintiffs can still amend their lawsuit or appeal.

“I don’t know where they’re coming up with their grounds for the lawsuit to begin with,” Griesheimer said.

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