by Scott Faughn

russ-oliver-courthouse
Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver

Jefferson City, MO – Cole County Judge Jon Beetem issued a ruling stating he saw no disability legal or otherwise that would prevent the Secretary of State from performing her ministerial duties. The ruling opens the door for the Missouri House of Representatives to seat Kent Hampton to represent the 150th district.

“I felt confident from the beginning that we would win this case and that Kent Hampton would ultimately be seated, and after Judge Beetem’s ruling today I am even more so,” said Hampton’s attorney and Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver.
The Attorney General filed the case on behalf of the Secretary of State requesting a declaratory judgment for advisement as to whether or not to present Hampton’s certification in light of the pending litigation surrounding the case. Hampton defeated Tom Todd by just over 100 votes in the general election last fall. Although both the Dunklin County Clerk and Missouri Secretary of State certified the election, the outcome has been the subject of multiple lawsuits over the past two months.
At a press conference scheduled to discuss the blue ribbon transportation committee’s report on need and funding, Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones reiterated that he intended to seat Hampton on the first day of session, and, “saw no new evidence that would change his mind.”
The original court cases that were brought on behalf of the Dunklin County Clerk are now sitting in Missouri’s Southern District Court of Appeals awaiting hearings, and are not expected to be taken up before the house seats Hampton.
While Hampton is due to be seated on Friday, many have taken notice of the work Oliver has done on behalf of Hampton opposite the attorney for the Dunklin County Clerk Steve Sokolof. ”Kent Hampton will be seated in the House of Representatives today first, because he won the election. But in no small part because of the efforts of Russ Oliver. As a lawyer representing his client Russ pulled off some of the finest legal work from the District to the Missouri Supreme Court I have seen in southeast Missouri since I’ve been a lawyer,” said former State Senator Jason Crowell.
Scott Faughn can be reached by emailing scott@themissouritimes.com