Plaintiffs Appeal County Municipal Court Lawsuit - The Missourian: Local News

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Plaintiffs Appeal County Municipal Court Lawsuit

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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:00 pm

Two county residents have appealed their lawsuit in which they allege the Missouri Constitution was violated.

The lawsuit has been filed in relation to a Missouri House bill that led to the creation of the county’s new municipal court.

However, plaintiff Art LeBeau said the lawsuit has nothing to do with the municipal court itself but rather the amendment that allowed the court to be created in Franklin County.

Even though the lawsuit pertains to the bill and not the court, LeBeau said the legal action should still be against the Franklin County Commission and not the state Legislature.

LeBeau and his fellow plaintiff, Eric Reichert, are representing themselves in the lawsuit.

“I firmly believe the appellate court will rule on the merits, whether (the bill) is constitutional or not,” LeBeau said.

Instead of answering the questions raised in the lawsuit, Associate Circuit Court Judge Robert Schollmeyer simply dismissed the case for lack of standing, LeBeau asserted.

LeBeau said he and Reichert have standing to sue since they are citizens.

“Everybody that’s a citizen in the state of Missouri has standing when it becomes a constitutional issue,” LeBeau said.

The appeal paperwork was filed with the Franklin County Circuit Court and was then sent to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District in St. Louis.

LeBeau said the basis of his lawsuit is that the state House bill that led to the creation of the county municipal court was unconstitutional.

The bill violated state law because it contained two subject matters, he said. The bill’s original purpose changed when it was amended, LeBeau said, adding that this also violated the Missouri Constitution.

The original bill dealt with juvenile courts and then was amended in the state Senate to change the number of county residents required for a county municipal court, the plaintiffs say.

The county has been represented in the case by Matthew Becker, a lawyer for Purschke, White, Robinson & Becker of Union.

But LeBeau said his appeal also alleges that Becker has no standing to represent the county in the case. Becker was never appointed as a lawyer for the county, LeBeau said.

County officials have previously said that they think the court was legally established. Franklin County Counselor Mark Vincent said Tuesday he had not seen the appeal.

The county municipal court has been meeting since late last year and was established to handle traffic cases and code violations.

/local_news

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