CHARLESTON -- Circuit Court Judge David A. Dolan will remove himself as judge for the consideration of convening a grand jury in Mississippi County.
In a written response that appears in todays edition on page four, Dolan said he intends "to grant the prosecutor's request, but not for the reasons stated in his motion."
Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney Darren Cann filed a motion Monday requesting Circuit Court Judge David A. Dolan recuse himself from making a decision on empaneling a grand jury in Mississippi County.
The motion alleges that Dolan has too close of a relationship with the county's former sheriff, Larry Turley; Turley's wife, Circuit Clerk Karen Turley; and the former jail administrator, Don Chance; and that decisions regarding a grand jury should be referred to another judge for consideration.
"The business relationship with the Circuit Clerk's Office is no different than that relationship of Mr. Cann," Dolan wrote in his response. "The luncheon dates that he cites in his motion are not private luncheon dates, but meals at which court personnel, probation officers, public defenders, and on many occasions Mr. Cann himself, are present. ... I am discouraged that Mr. Cann has chosen to cast a pall of impartiality in regard to this investigation."
According to the prosecutor's motion, Cann requested on Sept. 8, 2005, that a grand jury be convened to investigate approximately 60 drug cases and two murders.
The grand jury would also be tasked with investigating missing property and funds from the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department and Detention Center.
The investigation into missing property and funds was initiated by a former Mississippi County prosecuting attorney, Jennifer Raffety, who requested a special prosecuting attorney be appointed to handle the investigation.
On Sept. 30, 2004, Cann was sworn into office as the new prosecuting attorney for Mississippi County. Around Nov. 1, 2005, Dolan received a motion from Cann to reappoint him to handle the missing funds investigation as Cann did not have a conflict of interest from a social or professional relationship with those involved in the investigation.
As the matter involves former and current government employees, Dolan maintained that a special prosecutor would be necessary and "would involve considerable sums of money beyond that appropriated for the expense of calling a grand jury."
Dolan added that, "Indictment by a grand jury is not the only way to bring criminal charges in the State of Missouri" and suggested that if there is a back log of criminal cases to handle in the county, it "can be addressed by vigorous, thorough and complete investigation and filing of criminal charges where justified."