State v. Cairns, No. 25345.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtRagland
Citation265 S.W. 527
PartiesSTATE ex rel. PICKETT v. CAIRNS.
Decision Date08 October 1924
Docket NumberNo. 25345.
265 S.W. 527
STATE ex rel. PICKETT
v.
CAIRNS.
No. 25345.
Supreme Court of Missouri, in Banc.
October 8, 1924.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jackson County; Nelson E. Johnson, Judge.

Quo warranto by the State, at the relation of James F. Pickett, against William J. Cairns. Judgment for defendant, and relator appeals. Affirmed.

Clarence A. Burney, Pros. Atty., McVey & Freet, Davis & Woodruff, and W. E. Crampton, all of Kansas City, for appellant.

John T. Barker, of Kansas City, for respondent.

RAGLAND, J.


Upon reassignment this case has fallen to the lot of the writer. It was instituted in the circuit court of Jackson county, Mo., by the filing therein of an information in the nature of a quo warranto by the prosecuting attorney of said county, at the relation of one James F. Pickett, who was therein described as "a resident and taxpayer of said county and state, residing at No. 7442 Jefferson street in Kansas City, Mo., in Kaw township." It charged that respondent had intruded himself into the office of justice of the peace in and for Kaw township, and was, and had been, exercising the duties and powers of that office without any legal warrant, grant, or right whatsoever, and prayed that he be required to show by what authority he claimed to exercise such powers. The information was signed by the prosecuting attorney and by relator's counsel, and was verified by the affidavit of relator. The record does not show that leave to file the information was expressly given. But on the same day that it was filed the court issued an order requiring respondent "to show how and by what authority he claims to have, use, and enjoy the rights, liberties, privileges, and franchises Of justice of the peace of Kaw township, in Jackson county, Mo." This order preliminarily recited that the prosecuting attorney, at the relation of James F. Pickett, etc., "presents to the court a petition in the nature of an information in quo warranto, wherein and whereby the court is informed and given to understand, etc., * * * and the court having seen and examined said petition, and having heard and considered the statements of counsel respecting the matters and things therein set forth, and being satisfied that inquiry should be made of the matters therein contained."

On the return day of the order the respondent filed his answer, in which, after "protesting that the information aforesaid is not sufficient in law and does not state a cause of action," he set forth by proper averment that he had been appointed and commissioned by the county court of Jackson county in accordance with the provisions of section 2689, R. S. 1919, and that as to citizenship and residence, as well as in all other respects, he possessed the qualifications prescribed by law for persons holding and occupying such office. Section 2689 referred to in the return, so far as pertinent, is as follows:

"Whenever a petition shall be presented to the county court of any county in this state, signed by twelve or more qualified voters of any township in said county, setting forth that they live more than five miles from the nearest justice of the peace in their township, the county court shall have power to appoint an additional justice of the peace for such township, and the justice so appointed shall live in the immediate neighborhood of the petitioners, and at least five miles from any other justice of the peace of such township."

To respondent's pleading the relator filed a reply, in which he alleged: First, that respondent at the time of his alleged appointment did not "live in the immediate neighborhood of the petitioners, and at least five miles from any other justice of the peace of such township"; second, that at such time respondent held another county office, that of county purchasing agent of Jackson county; and, third, that there was not at the time a vacancy in the office to which respondent claimed he was appointed.

When the case was called for trial, the respondent moved for judgment on the ground that the petition on its face disclosed that

265 S.W. 528

relator had no special interest in the subject of the prosecution. The court expressed a wish "to hear the entire suit," and took the motion with the case. After hearing the evidence offered by the parties in support of the allegations of their respective pleadings, the court dismissed the proceeding at the cost of the relator. Contemporaneously with the order the court filed a written opinion, which concluded as follows:

"The interest of relator is not an interest in the office of the justice of the peace in question `peculiar to him,' but simply that of any other taxpayer and citizen. His interest is not a private interest but a public interest. He...

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6 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...277 Mo. 458, 209 S.W. 938; State ex rel. Otto, Attorney-General, v. Hyde, 296 S.W. 775; State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527; Ann. Cas. 1915C, 392; Secs. 5205-5246, R.S. 1929; Sec. 1618, R.S. 1929. While it may be conceded that the Attorney-General of this State has th......
  • State ex rel. Schneider's Credit Jewelers v. Brackman, No. 28671
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 15, 1953
    ...by relator herein fully support this contention. State ex rel. Kempf v. Boal, 46 Mo. 528; State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527; State ex inf. West ex rel. Thompson v. Heffernan, 243 Mo. 442, 148 S.W. 90; State ex inf. Otto ex rel. Goldberg v. United Hebrew Congregation......
  • State ex inf. Graham v. Hurley, No. 59330
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 13, 1976
    ...requirement is to prevent the harassment of public officials at the whim of private persons. State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527, 528--529 (banc 1924); State ex inf. West ex rel. Thompson v. Heffernan, 243 Mo. 442, 148 S.W. 90, 92 (1912). This is a valid purpose, but ......
  • State ex Inf. Ellis v. Ferguson, No. 32395.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • October 19, 1933
    ...must be a private interest. If he has no special interest he is not entitled to maintain this action. State ex rel. Picket v. Carnies, 265 S.W. 527. The information in the above case was filed by the prosecuting attorney at the relation of a private individual and not ex officio. The procee......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State ex Inf. Shartel v. Mo. Utilities Co., No. 31441.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 5, 1932
    ...277 Mo. 458, 209 S.W. 938; State ex rel. Otto, Attorney-General, v. Hyde, 296 S.W. 775; State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527; Ann. Cas. 1915C, 392; Secs. 5205-5246, R.S. 1929; Sec. 1618, R.S. 1929. While it may be conceded that the Attorney-General of this State has th......
  • State ex rel. Schneider's Credit Jewelers v. Brackman, No. 28671
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 15, 1953
    ...by relator herein fully support this contention. State ex rel. Kempf v. Boal, 46 Mo. 528; State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527; State ex inf. West ex rel. Thompson v. Heffernan, 243 Mo. 442, 148 S.W. 90; State ex inf. Otto ex rel. Goldberg v. United Hebrew Congregation......
  • State ex inf. Graham v. Hurley, No. 59330
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 13, 1976
    ...requirement is to prevent the harassment of public officials at the whim of private persons. State ex rel. Pickett v. Cairns, 305 Mo. 333, 265 S.W. 527, 528--529 (banc 1924); State ex inf. West ex rel. Thompson v. Heffernan, 243 Mo. 442, 148 S.W. 90, 92 (1912). This is a valid purpose, but ......
  • State ex Inf. Ellis v. Ferguson, No. 32395.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • October 19, 1933
    ...must be a private interest. If he has no special interest he is not entitled to maintain this action. State ex rel. Picket v. Carnies, 265 S.W. 527. The information in the above case was filed by the prosecuting attorney at the relation of a private individual and not ex officio. The procee......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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