March 17, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today filed a petition asking the Montgomery County Circuit Court to remove Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Lee Elliott from office for violation of his duties as prosecutor. Elliott has held the office since January 1, 2011.
Koster said a prosecuting attorney is entrusted with the responsibility of charging and prosecuting all violations of the law in his or her county. He said Elliott violated state law when, on March 7, he represented a defendant in Montgomery City Municipal Court who was charged with speeding, a misdemeanor. Koster said even though Elliott is a part-time prosecuting attorney, the law expressly limits him to represent clients only in civil cases. Koster noted that local prosecutors are responsible for charging individuals in their jurisdictions with crimes, and as the prosecutor in Montgomery County, it was improper for Elliott to have represented a defendant in a case in a municipal court within his county.
“Mr. Elliott violated his oath of office and the public trust when he appeared on behalf of a defendant in a criminal proceeding and encouraged the judge to enter a favorable judgment to a criminal defendant,” Koster said. “He was elected and is required by his oath to represent no party in a criminal matter other than the state.”