Judge: No automatic jail time for violators of cities’ ordinances

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 3/31/21

HERMANN — In clarifying her position regarding violators of municipal ordinances, Circuit Court Associate Judge  Ada Brehe-Krueger Thursday said she would not automatically hand down jail …

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Judge: No automatic jail time for violators of cities’ ordinances

Posted

HERMANN — In clarifying her position regarding violators of municipal ordinances, Circuit Court Associate Judge  Ada Brehe-Krueger Thursday said she would not automatically hand down jail sentences rather than assign community service work because her staff doesn’t have the time to oversee defendants ordered to work off their violations.

The judge announced her clarification through Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, during Thursday morning’s session of the Gasconade County Commission. Brehe-Krueger asked for an impromptu meeting with Lairmore shortly after the start of last week’s Commission meeting. She did not speak directly to the county administrators because her Division 4 court was in session the same time as the commissioners were meeting.

Last week, County Clerk Lesa Lietzow advised the Commission that because of a lack of oversight of community service workers by the cities the judge would be sentencing city ordinance violators to jail time.

“She said the punishment will be determined to fit the crime,” said Lairmore.

Lairmore oversees state law violators sentenced to community service work in the southern half of the county while Northern District Commissioner Jim Holland, R-Hermann, oversees the community service workers in his area.

The issue of handling the community service workers arises regularly among the commissioners.  Community service oversight became a significant concern last year when, thanks to a change in state law, allowed municipalities to transfer their Municipal Court activity to Brehe-Krueger’s  Division 4 Court. However, the cities within Gasconade County initially balked at being responsible for overseeing the workers, citing liability concerns.

Commissioners recently thought they had resolved the problem after meeting with Owensville and Hermann city officials and receiving a commitment from them to accept community service workers. But city officials apparently didn’t follow through on their commitment.

“It has to do with the cities,” Lairmore said.

“It was particularly Hermann,” added County Clerk Lesa Lietzow.

In other matters, Sheriff Scott Eiler met with commissioners in a closed session for what was listed as a personnel matter. However, the Gasconade County Republican learned the subject of the meeting was the filing of a lawsuit against the county. No formal action was taken by the administrators and no further information about the lawsuit was readily available.

Prior to the closed session, the sheriff discussed his department’s Internet service, which isn’t fast enough to accommodate a digital fingerprinting program the agency has.

“We’re on a totally different Internet” than the rest of the courthouse offices, Eiler said, referring to the service now being provided by Callabyte to almost all county government departments.

Eiler explained that not being able to use the more-sophisticated fingerprinting program means the agency uses the traditional ink-on-paper process, which requires mailing fingerprints to the Missouri State Highway Patrol rather than being able to enter them into a registry system quickly from here.

“So,” Eiler said, “we have this very expensive machine up there that we can’t use.”

The Sheriff’s Department is under contract with Fidelity Telephone until April. However, Eiler said Callabyte might be willing to buy out the department’s contract if it could be the provider of a new telephone system, which would include the higher-speed Internet the agency needs for its fingerprinting machine. Eiler said a Callabyte representative said that company would like to talk with the Commission about providing service to the department.

Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, said he’s interested in meeting with the company representatives. “I think we need to go forward and see what Callabyte has to say,” he said.

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