Owensville Municipal Court cases will now be heard in Linn

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 7/8/20

Owensville Municipal Court cases will be heard in Linn starting with tickets written by city police for the August docket.

City Marshal Robert Rickerd said he was notified on June 9 by the …

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Owensville Municipal Court cases will now be heard in Linn

Posted

Owensville Municipal Court cases will be heard in Linn starting with tickets written by city police for the August docket.

City Marshal Robert Rickerd said he was notified on June 9 by the city’s prosecuting attorney, Scott Fulford, that Owensville court cases would be heard in Osage County rather than in Gasconade County at Hermann. Beginning with tickets written for an August court date, Rickerd was instructed to have his patrolmen write tickets for Osage County which is also part of the 20th Judicial Circuit along with Gasconade and Franklin counties.

Aldermen on Monday reluctantly approved a resolution “recognizing the authority of the 20th Judicial Circuit to assign the cases prosecuting the city’s municipal ordinance violations to Osage County.”

The vote was 3-1 with Ward 2 Alderman Rob Borgmann, the board’s president, voting against Resolution 2020-7. Fulford had requested the city amend its ordinance (No. 1281) adopted Feb. 4, 2019, which assigned city ordinance cases to the Associate Circuit Court in Gasconade County.

Mayor John Kamler said the city received an email “out of the blue” notifying them of the move to Linn.

Fulford had forwarded a request from the presiding circuit judge’s secretary, informing the city of the change and asking the city to amend its ordinance to acknowledge the change.

“We can’t stop it,” Kamler told the full board on July 6.

He said the city’s attorney, Ed Sluys, “even asked how you have court in a town not even in your county?”

Pam Gruenke, the circuit court clerk for Gasconade County, said Tuesday that when the city of Berger’s Municipal Court was abolished by ordinance as of July 1, 2017, those cases were assigned to Gasconade County.

She said she was told by state court officials that Berger, in northwestern Franklin County, was the first known case in the state where there was a cross-over between municipal court cases from one county being heard in another county.

“We were unique with Berger now we’re even more unique with Owensville,” Gruenke said.

Along with Berger cases, Gasconade County’s Associate Circuit Court also currently hears municipal cases from Hermann, Rosebud, and Gasconade city.

Gruenke said she did not receive an order from the presiding judge but was instructed to fill out, and has sent, a “judge transition form” notifying the Osage County court the Owensville cases would be sent there.

The resolution approved Monday noted Owensville city police and staff were “instructed to take all steps necessary to effectuate the intent of this Resolution” while “The Board of Aldermen respectfully requests that if the Court’s scheduling and case assignment may allow it in the future, that the City’s municipal prosecution cases be reassigned to Gasconade County which is closer to Owensville.”

Attempts to obtain a copy of any possible order issued by Judge I.I. “Ike” Lamke on this matter, if one even exists, were not successful.

“We recognize you have authority  but we don’t necessarily agree with it,” said Kamler on Monday summing up the intent of the resolution. “Not a perfect answer by no means.”

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