Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a suit of quo warranto to remove Iron County Sheriff Jeffery Burkett from office.
“As Attorney General, I will always work to hold accountable those who refuse to do their job as required by Missouri statute,” said Attorney General Bailey. “Missourians have seen firsthand what happens when elected officials fail to enforce the law, and my office is not going to stand by and let it happen again. To that end, I am moving for the immediate removal of the Iron County Sheriff, and I demand that he resign.”
The quo warranto holds that Burkett “has knowingly or willfully failed and refused to perform official acts and duties with respect to the execution or enforcement of criminal laws of the State, and has engaged in willful acts of misconduct, malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance in office.” The petition alleges that Burkett is unfit to hold office after allegedly helping Rick Gaston, an Iron County resident, with a plot to kidnap Gaston’s children from their mother after a domestic dispute.
Following this incident, the Washington County Prosecutor criminally charged Iron County Sheriff Jeffery Burkett with:
- one count of participating knowingly in criminal street gang activities, a class B felony;
- one count of tampering with a victim, a class D felony;
- one count of attempted kidnapping in the third degree, a class B misdemeanor;
- one count of stalking in the first degree, a class E felony;
- one count of stalking in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor;
- one count of unlawful obtaining of criminal history information, a class A misdemeanor;
- one count of unlawful disclosure of criminal history information, a class A misdemeanor;
- one count of misuse of emergency telephone services, a class B misdemeanor;
- and one count of making a false report, a class B misdemeanor.
The Attorney General’s Office argues that Burkett “abused his power and authority as an elected sheriff by encouraging other law enforcement officers to make illegal arrests and detentions, knowing that he had no jurisdiction or authority and knowing that the arrests and seizures lacked any probable cause or reasonable suspicion.”
The petition further asserts that Burkett’s “actions of utilizing his office and its resources, including two deputies, to further criminal acts and conspiracies, were willful acts of misconduct, malfeasance, and misfeasance, and constitute willful and fraudulent violations of his official duty to enforce the criminal laws of the State in direct violation of Section 106.220, RSMo, and outside his jurisdiction granted by Section 57.010, RSMo.”
The petition also asks the Court to remove Burkett from office immediately due to the Department of Public Safety’s temporary suspension of his peace officer certification.
The petition for quo warranto can be read by clicking or tapping this link.