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Court date postponed in sheriff's election recount request
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Feb. 13, 2009) — A court case seeking a recount or a new election for the Pulaski County sheriff’s office has been postponed until at least mid-March.

The case had been scheduled since early January to go to trial at 10 a.m. today in the Pulaski County Courthouse before Judge William R. Haas, a senior judge from outside the area who was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case after all local judges decided they couldn’t hear the case due to conflicts of interest.

Former sheriff J.T. Roberts, who held the office for 12 years until he was defeated by the current sheriff, J.B. King, in the 2004 election, is challenging both the narrow margin of his second loss in the Nov. 4, 2008 general election and the way in which the election was conducted.

Court offices were closed Thursday for a state holiday, and as of Friday morning, there is nothing in online court records on CaseNet or printed documents in Circuit Clerk Rachelle Beasley’s office indicating the reasons for the postponement. Beasley said that’s not unusual when attorneys for both sides make a verbal agreement with the judge to change a court date, and she confirmed that no new court date has yet been set.

However, County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer said she’s been asked by the county’s attorney, Ivan Schraeder, to be available in mid-March for taking of depositions — a series of questions asked by attorneys to the parties in a case that are conducted privately in preparation for legal proceedings.

“I have no idea why the continuance was requested,” Linnenbringer said. “Ivan asked if I would be available for depositions on March 16, 17, or 18 and I told him my calendar was empty.”

Sheriff J.B. King said he didn’t have much more information. He first learned about the possible postponement on Tuesday and hasn’t spoken directly with the county’s lawyers.

“All I know is Diana called me into her office and said Ivan had called her and said J.T.’s (attorney’s) office had requested a continuance,” King said. “Wednesday afternoon late, Rachelle called me and said she had received an e-mail from the judge saying he had granted a continuance.”

Roberts couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the reasons for the postponement, and King said he didn’t know the reasons, either.

“I have no clue what comes next,” King said. “J.T.’s attorney asked for a continuance, our attorney said that’s OK, and the judge said if that’s what both attorneys want, it’s fine with him, too.”

Click here for a copy of Roberts' court petition

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