Lincoln County, Mo. – Despite a ruling from Missouri’s highest court, the feud between 45th Circuit Court Presiding Judge Patrick Flynn and Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Karla Allsberry is far from ending.
Twenty-four hours after the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously ruled he didn’t have the legal authority to remove an elected circuit clerk from office, Flynn issued an order lifting the suspension of Allsberry and allowing to her reenter the restricted areas of the Lincoln County Justice Center on Wednesday, effective on Thursday.
According to the wording of the order, however, the conditions of Allsberry’s reinstatement to her office is to “refrain from the misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance behavior and actions that existed prior to the suspension and that you will act in fact, truth, protocol and respect,” a reference to the 14 reasons Flynn claimed were his justification for suspending the circuit clerk in May of 2019, but were all rejected by now-retired Cole County Judge Richard Callahan in February.
Also attached to the letter was a copy of an administrative order prohibiting the use of recording devices.
Callahan ruled Flynn should not have suspended Allsberry – but ruled back then he did not have the legal authority to force Flynn, another judge, to reinstate Allsberry, nor reverse the Justice Center ban.
While the Missouri Court of Appeals agreed with Callahan’s original ruling, it disagreed with the Cole County judge’s assessment he could not reinstate Allsberry – and it fast-tracked the case to the state Supreme Court for review.
In a e-mail sent exclusively to the Lincoln County Journal, Allsberry’s attorney, David Duree, said his client does not need permission from Flynn to resume her duties as the elected circuit clerk of Lincoln County because the state Supreme Court has already ruled in her favor, and directed the circuit court to issue a mandatory permanent injunction against Flynn.
Duree also said the letter was an attempt to publicly smear Allsberry, even though she has been exonerated of any charges.
“Judge Flynn's letter also falsely alleges that Karla committed acts of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance before he unlawfully suspended her,” he said. “Those statements in Judge Flynn's letter are defamatory. They have been published widely on the website of the Lincoln County Journal.
“Judge Callahan ruled that there was no evidence to support the 14 separate charges Judge Flynn made against Karla.”
Duree also said Flynn has tried to have charges brought against Allsberry on multiple occasions, but two separate Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s, as well as the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, have refused to bring charges against her. The state Supreme Court has affirmed Allsberry did not commit a misdemeanor in office.
“Judge Flynn's publication of his Sept. 14, 2021 letter is a continuation of his years-long effort to damage (Allsberry’s) reputation, and diminish her chances for reelection in 2022,” Duree said.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Trisha Stefanski was appointed in June to investigate allegations Flynn lied in his affidavit against Allsberry in August of last year.
That case is currently under investigation.