State ex rel. Mason v. County Legislature, No. WD 61185.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtRobert G. Ulrich
Citation75 S.W.3d 884
PartiesSTATE of Missouri ex rel., Rhonda McNeal MASON and Melinda Clark-Sann, Relators, v. COUNTY LEGISLATURE, Jackson County Missouri, and Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners, and Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners, Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. WD 61185.
Decision Date28 May 2002
75 S.W.3d 884
STATE of Missouri ex rel., Rhonda McNeal MASON and Melinda Clark-Sann, Relators,
v.
COUNTY LEGISLATURE, Jackson County Missouri, and Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners, and Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners, Respondents.
No. WD 61185.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.
May 28, 2002.

[75 S.W.3d 885]

Benny J. Harding, Esq., Leawood, for Relators.

Jack C. Terry, Independence, David B. Raymond, Jay D. Haden, Kansas City, for Respondents.

Before VICTOR C. HOWARD, P.J., HAROLD L. LOWENSTEIN and ROBERT G. ULRICH, JJ.

ROBERT G. ULRICH, J.


Relators Rhonda McNeal Mason and Melinda Clark-Sann seek this court's writ of mandamus to compel Respondents to file and process Relator Mason's declaration of candidacy for the office of county legislator from the Third District at Large for the primary election in August 2002. Whether the law supports Relator Mason's claim that she must be permitted to file as a candidate is not addressed. Two preliminary issues are necessarily considered. The issues are: (1) whether the Clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, unnamed as a party, is the appropriate, necessary and indispensable party to Relators' claim that Relator Mason was illegally denied the right to file as a candidate for election to the Jackson County Legislature in the primary election scheduled for August 2002, and (2) whether mandamus is the appropriate remedy. This court's preliminary rule in mandamus was entered on March 22, 2002. By separate order, the preliminary rule in mandamus was quashed on April 30, 2002, following argument before this court on the same date.

Applicable Facts

Rhonda McNeal Mason appeared in person at the offices of the Jackson County Legislature and submitted the appropriate form declaring her candidacy as a democrat for the position of Jackson County Legislator for the Third District at Large in the primary election scheduled for August 2002. Her application was rejected, and she was informed that her name would not appear on the primary election ballot as a candidate for the Third District at Large position. Relator Mason's declaration of candidacy was rejected by Mary Jo Brogoto, Clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, because Relator Mason will not have been a "qualified voter" in Jackson County for three years immediately preceding the August 2002 primary election as required by Article II, section 5 of the Jackson County Charter, and, therefore, will not qualify as a candidate for the election of Jackson County Legislator from the Third District at Large.

Following rejection of her declaration of candidacy, Relators Mason and Melinda Clark-Sann filed their petition for mandamus to compel the Jackson County Legislature, the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners, and the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners to receive

75 S.W.3d 886

Relator Mason's declaration of candidacy for the August 2002 primary election and to compel them to place her name on the appropriate ballot as a candidate. Relator Clark-Sann asserts in the petition and Relators' brief that she is a registered voter residing in Jackson County, Third District at Large, and that her right to vote for the candidate of her choice would be illegally restrained if Relator Mason's name were precluded from appearing on the August 2002 primary ballot as a candidate for the county legislature.

The Clerk of the County Legislature is a necessary and indispensable party to Relators' action in mandamus

The Jackson County Legislature, the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners, and the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners are named as parties Respondents in Relators' petition seeking mandamus relief. Thus, Relators seek the court's writ to compel them to accept and process Relator Mason's declaration of candidacy. The duties of none of the entities named as Respondents include the relief sought by Relators.

Conspicuously, the Clerk of the Jackson County Legislature, Mary Jo Brogoto, is not a named party Respondent. Officially, Ms. Brogoto, acting in her capacity as clerk of the county legislature, denied Relator Mason's application for candidacy. The clerk is the official with whom prospective candidates are to submit declarations of candidacy for county office. Constitutional provision, statute, and the Jackson County Charter establish such authority with the Clerk of the Jackson County Legislature. Article VI, section 18(a), Missouri Constitution of 1945 authorizes counties having more than 85,000 inhabitants to adopt and amend a charter form of government. Jackson County has a charter form of government as authorized by Article VI, section 18(a). Article II, section 19 of the Jackson County Charter provides for the appointment of a clerk of the county legislature whose duties include those performed by county clerks not otherwise provided for in the charter. Article II, section 19 states:

The legislature shall appoint a clerk of the county legislature, who shall hold office at the pleasure of the legislature. He shall provide the legislature with administrative, research and staff services in the performance of its functions, and supervise the activities of persons the legislature may appoint as its staff. The clerk of the county legislature shall perform all duties required of a county clerk or a clerk of the county court not otherwise provided for in this charter or by ordinance.

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2 practice notes
  • State v. Baldwin, WD78351
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 2016
    ...Delinquent Land Taxes by Action in Rem v. Holton, 428 S.W.3d 670, 674 n.4 (Mo .App. W.D. 2014); State ex rel. Mason v. Cnty. Legislature, 75 S.W.3d 884, 886 (Mo.App. W.D. 2002). We take judicial notice of the fact that Jackson County is, in fact, a first-class county with a charter form of...
  • State ex rel. Public Housing v. Krohn, No. WD 61252.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 11, 2003
    ...at 381. Nevertheless, Public Housing does not have an entitlement to a writ of mandamus. State ex rel. Mason v. County Legislature, 75 S.W.3d 884, 887 (Mo.App.2002). "Mandamus is a discretionary writ, and no right exists to have the writ issue." Id. Although Mr. Preston has not yet raised i......
2 cases
  • State v. Baldwin, WD78351
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 2016
    ...Delinquent Land Taxes by Action in Rem v. Holton, 428 S.W.3d 670, 674 n.4 (Mo .App. W.D. 2014); State ex rel. Mason v. Cnty. Legislature, 75 S.W.3d 884, 886 (Mo.App. W.D. 2002). We take judicial notice of the fact that Jackson County is, in fact, a first-class county with a charter form of...
  • State ex rel. Public Housing v. Krohn, No. WD 61252.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 11, 2003
    ...at 381. Nevertheless, Public Housing does not have an entitlement to a writ of mandamus. State ex rel. Mason v. County Legislature, 75 S.W.3d 884, 887 (Mo.App.2002). "Mandamus is a discretionary writ, and no right exists to have the writ issue." Id. Although Mr. Preston has not yet raised i......

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