CASS COUNTY POLITICS | Presiding commissioner loses appeal

Missouri Supreme Court affirms ouster of Cass County commissioner

Herschel Young, who was elected in 2010, was removed from office because of a 1995 felony assault conviction.

Updated: 2012-03-07T05:32:51Z

By MATT CAMPBELL

The Kansas City Star

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the ouster of Cass County Presiding Commissioner Herschel Young.

In a unanimous decision, the court said the ouster was proper and the statute under which it was done was constitutional.

Young was removed from office by a lower court based on his guilty plea in 1995 to the Class C felony of second-degree assault in Cass County after he hit someone who spat on his wife. He was elected presiding commissioner in 2010.

But a state law that took effect in 2007 bars felons from seeking public office. The Cass County prosecutor’s office sought his ouster, and a trial judge last year ordered him removed. Young appealed that ruling, and on Tuesday he lost.

Young could not be reached for comment but has said he thinks the law is unfair.

Assistant Cass County Prosecutor Scott Wright, who argued the case in November before the Supreme Court, would not comment.

Georgia Sanders, spokeswoman for the county, said the court decision speaks for itself.

The drama has affected the political balance in Cass County. Young, a Republican, defeated Democrat Gary Mallory for presiding commissioner. Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Hensley is a Democrat.

Young’s removal means two of the three elected commissioners in Cass County will have been replaced this year. South District Commissioner W.J. “Bill” Cook, a Republican, resigned to take a job elsewhere. Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Luke A. Scavuzzo, a Democrat, to replace him. North District Commissioner Brian Baker, also a Republican, has been acting presiding commissioner.

Young’s assault plea resulted in probation, but the conviction was never recorded in his criminal history. Two days after he was sworn in, the prosecutor’s office filed for his removal.

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.

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