A Kansas Court of Appeals judge on Monday granted ousted Prairie Village City Councilor David Morrison’s request that he be reseated immediately in the wake of the appeals court overturning the ouster decision against him earlier this month.
The stay signed by Judge Joseph Pierron, Jr., means Morrison will retake his Ward 5 seat at the city council meeting next Monday, Nov. 3. Courtney McFadden, the replacement Mayor Ron Shaffer appointed to fill the remainder of Morrison’s term after he was removed from the council, is forced to step down from her role as a city councilor immediately.
Morrison’s attorneys filed the motion for the appeals court to stay its ruling — effectively making its decision binding immediately instead of after the typical period during which the district attorney could petition the Supreme Court to review the case — shortly after the Court of Appeals issued its ruling Oct. 10. The Johnson County District Attorney said after the ruling was issued that he intended to petition the Supreme Court to review the case. Under normal circumstances, the Court of Appeals ruling would not have gone into effect until the Supreme Court decided whether or not to take up Morrison’s case. But, as Morrison’s attorneys argued and Pierron agreed, waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether it would take the case or not could keep Morrison out of office until very near the end of his elected term, which expires in April 2016:
“A stay in a civil case is an extraordinary remedy and Morrison bears the burden to show that it is necessary…Morrison argues that he has prevailed on the merits and that absent a stay, he will be irreparably harmed by being deprived of his elected office during the pendency of the State’s appeal. We agree.”
Morrison was ousted from office after Johnson County Judge David Hauber agreed with the advisory ruling of a jury that Morrison had committed willful misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty. The ouster proceedings against Morrison were initiated by a unanimous vote from his fellow City Councilors after it came to light he had granted access to restricted parts of city hall and the police department to a homeless friend who thought he was being hunted by drug dealers. The man, Kelley Malone, stayed unaccompanied in the municipal complex overnight for several nights in a row.