May 28 Trial Date Set in Citizens’ County Court Suit - The Missourian: Local News

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May 28 Trial Date Set in Citizens’ County Court Suit

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Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014 3:00 pm

A May 28 trial date has been set in a lawsuit filed against the Franklin County Commission concerning the county’s new municipal court.

Plaintiffs Art LeBeau and Eric Reichert, both of Villa Ridge, argue in their lawsuit that the House bill that authorized the Franklin County Municipal Court is unconstitutional.

The bench trial will be at 9 a.m. in Franklin County Circuit Court before Osage County Associate Circuit Court Judge Robert Schollmeyer.

The bill is unconstitutional because it contains two subject matters and the original purpose of the bill changed by adding language about the new municipal court, the suit alleges.

The language that was added to the bill dealt with the population a county must have in order to establish a municipal court, according to LeBeau. The original bill dealt with juvenile courts, the suit says.

The county has said the subject matters were not unrelated since they both dealt with the court system.

But the plaintiffs say the county municipal and juvenile courts fall under different sections of the state Constitution. Juvenile courts fall under “Public Health and Welfare” and county municipal court falls under “County, Township and Political Subdivision Government,” the lawsuit states.

Schollmeyer dismissed the case last year, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue the county over the matter.

The residents then appealed the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District in St. Louis. The appeals court then transferred the case to the Missouri Supreme Court since the suit alleges a constitutional violation.

The Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs do indeed have standing to sue and sent the case back to the county circuit court.

“This court has repeatedly held that taxpayers do, in fact, have a legally protectable interest in the proper use and expenditure of public dollars,” the Supreme Court stated in its opinion.

/local_news

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