A federal appeals panel should reinstitute the county’s consolidated government after a judge said the state could not have prevented the county from taking control of the jail, federal prosecutors said.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Friday that the state failed to exercise adequate supervision in 2015 and 2016, when the LAFaye County Jail was closed, and the county should retain its powers as the county executive.LAFaye officials said in a statement that the court’s ruling does not affect the decision by the court last year to uphold the county sheriff’s election to the county council.
The appeals court panel found that the county failed to properly supervise the jail during the last years it had it operating under the leadership of former sheriff John W. McClellan and that McClellans election was invalid.
“The court is troubled by the extent to which the county exercised the powers granted to it by the state in 2015, 2016 and 2017,” Judge John G. Smith wrote in his ruling.
“It is unfortunate that this case was brought against a county with which the defendant is already embroiled, yet the court finds that the defendant cannot prevail on its claim that the powers conferred by the 2016 and subsequent elections were invalid because they were not exercised properly.”
The court found that McClesllan and LAFayette County Council Chairman Steve Stivers did not follow proper procedures to determine the status of the sheriff’s office, the county manager, and a local judge appointed by the county.
The ruling said the county did not provide adequate oversight to ensure the county was not misused.
The county is asking the court to restore McCle llan and Stivers to office.