Two residents who filed a lawsuit challenging the formation of the Franklin County Municipal Court will get 15 minutes to argue their case before the Missouri Supreme Court.
Matthew Becker, the attorney representing the county, also will have 15 minutes to make oral arguments to the high court.
The court this week set oral arguments for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Jefferson City.
Art LeBeau and Eric Reichert filed the lawsuit alleging the county’s new municipal court was illegally created by the Missouri Legislature through an amendment attached to a bill.
They are representing themselves in the suit which they filed against the Franklin County Commission rather than state lawmakers who added the amendment and approved the legislation.
After an associate circuit judge dismissed the lawsuit in Franklin County Circuit Court, the plaintiffs sought an appeal to the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals which transferred the case to the supreme court, explaining that the high court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving the validity of a state statute.
In its notice to both parties, the supreme court stated that the appellants (Reichert and LeBeau) will be given 15 minutes to make their argument, “of which a maximum of three minutes may be reserved for rebuttal, in accordance with Rule 84.12.”
The respondents (county commissioners) will be allowed a maximum of 15 minutes for argument, the notice states.
The county has filed motions asking the court to dismiss the suit and for damages in the “frivolous” suit.
The plaintiffs allege the legislation violated state law because it contained two subject matters and that the amendment changed the bill’s original purpose.
The original bill dealt with juvenile courts. The amendment added in the state Senate changed the number of county residents required for a county municipal court.
Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, added the amendment to the bill late in the 2012 legislative session.
The new municipal court was established in September 2012.