Judge Steele threatens commissioners with imprisonment

UPDATE: An Adair County official told KTVO Thursday that the bills in question have now been paid, and the Adair County commissioners issued the following written statement Thursday: "The County Commission has always acted in a way to protect county funds and resources. In this matter the Western District Court denied the relief that the County Commission requested. Therefore, the County Commission has acted to comply with the judge's original order."


In court documents filed Monday by Circuit Judge Russell Steele of Kirksville, the judge threatens to have the three Adair County commissioners arrested if they fail to comply with his order to pay certain expenses related to the Bruce Normile Juvenile Justice Center.

Stan Pickens, Mark Thompson and Carson Adams were supposed to be in their courthouse office Wednesday, but the office was closed.

In Monday's filing, Steele orders the commissioners to make the required payments by 5 p.m. this past Tuesday.

Those payments include Adair Countyâ??s portion of the salary and benefits of Court Services Administrator Matt Holt (a dollar amount is not mentioned in court papers); $400 for Learning Opportunities/Quality Works for janitorial/cleaning services at the juvenile justice center; $400 for All Season Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning for cleaning services at the juvenile justice center; $1,108.23 for Altorfer Incorporated for electrical generator maintenance services at the juvenile justice center; $160 for Jackson Electric for electrical work at the Adair County Courthouse.

In response to Steele's filing, an attorney for the county commissioners filed a "Writ of Prohibition" with the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

In those court papers, the commissioners claim Steele acted in excess of his jurisdiction and that they were never served any notice of the date and time of a hearing, meaning they were denied due process.

KTVO learned Wednesday evening that the Appeals Court has denied the commissioners' "Writ of Prohibition," meaning the court denied their request to prohibit Judge Steele from taking further action in this matter.