Thursday, September 16, 2021

Circuit Court Turf War Won By Court Clerk

The Missouri Supreme Court has sided with a Circuit Court Clerk in a dispute with a Circuit Court judge, holding that the judge lacked the power to essentially dethrone the clerk

Both Judge Flynn and [circuit clerk] Allsberry were elected to their respective positions in the 2018 general election and took office in January 2019. Intense conflict between the two began immediately and escalated over the weeks and months. There was considerable evidence at trial about the parties’ acrimonious power struggle, the rift this discord created among the staff at the Lincoln County courthouse, and the disruption their dysfunctional professional relationship caused – the details of which are largely irrelevant to the legal questions presented in this appeal.

The judge's actions

Judge Flynn’s suspension of Allsberry has been kept in effect continuously since May 2019; at this point, she has been suspended more than half of her four-year term in office. In March 2020, she filed a petition seeking a declaration that Judge Flynn was not authorized under any of the cited statutory provisions to place her on indefinite administrative leave and bar her from performing her duties as circuit clerk or entering the courthouse. She also sought...injunctive relief...

The circuit court correctly concluded that the judge had exceeding his authority

the circuit court did not err in concluding that Judge Flynn had no authority to take the action he did against Allsberry.

But erred in denying injunctive relief

the circuit court erred in concluding that it had no power to order injunctive relief solely because the defendant was another circuit judge.

(Mike Frisch)

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