- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

A lower court should reconsider the case of a suburban Kansas City official who was kicked out of office for allowing a homeless friend to sleep in City Hall, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The judges said a Johnson County judge used the wrong legal standards in ousting Prairie Village councilman David Morrison, and the Court of Appeals did the same in ordering Morrison reinstated. The Supreme Court said the lower court must determine whether Morrison acted with a “bad or corrupt purpose.”

Wes Jordon, the assistant city administrator for Prairie Village, said the ruling leaves many things still up in the air.

“I think it’s going to be another case of wait and see what’s determined,” Jordan said. “It’s been through two different bodies of the judicial system and now it’s going to a third. To us, it’s just a continuation of findings at this point.”

Tom Bath, who is Morrison’s attorney, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Johnson County prosecutors filed an ouster motion after Morrison took his longtime friend to the employee lounge in 2012, gave him his City Hall passcode and didn’t tell anyone.

Court documents said Morrison’s friend, who struggled with drug addiction, refused to go to the City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri, because he didn’t think it was safe. Morrison didn’t want the friend staying with him because he lived with his elderly parents and his mother’s immune system was compromised.

Morrison, who was first elected to the city council in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, apologized for his actions.

In ousting Morrison in October 2013, Johnson County District Judge David Hauber said Morrison was “willing to compromise his own integrity, the integrity of the city and the security of others because it appealed to his own need to be regarded as a benefactor” to his friend.

But the appeals court said last year that it found no evidence Morrison’s actions “arose out of an evil or corrupt motive; out of a habitual disregard for his public duty; out of a quest for selfish gain; or resulted in a serious threat to public safety.”

The Supreme Court said the appeals court had established “too high of a standard” for determining whether ouster was justified.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide