Morgan County prosecutor scours records of predecessor who resi

Saturday, September 6, 2003

VERSAILLES, Mo. -- Morgan County prosecutor Marvin Opie says his office has spent the last nine months scouring records to find which cases his predecessor -- who resigned after being charged with soliciting prostitution -- dropped and why.

Opie said he may never know just how many people who should have faced prosecution did not.

"The only reason we knew which cases to go looking at to review for possible refiling of charges was because of complaints our office received," Opie said. "Of the nearly 100 dropped cases we've investigated, our office has been able to refile charges in about two dozen. Some alleged suspects are still being sought while arrests and charges are still pending in others."

Opie has resurrected criminal charges that include child endangerment, sexual crimes, assaults and methamphetamine manufacturing. In some cases that were dropped or never filed, Opie discovered the statute of limitations expired. In other cases, Opie said, there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Opie said he began receiving complaints about dropped cases from residents and law enforcement immediately after taking office.

Former county prosecutor Steve Concannon resigned under pressure from Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon on Dec. 20, two days after being caught in an undercover sting organized by the Livingston County Sheriff's Department.

Concannon would have been out of office anyway in January, after losing badly to Opie in a November vote.

Concannon pleaded guilty April 23 to soliciting and two traffic violations.

Opie noted that once a case is dropped, the court system treats the file as if the charges never existed.

"Ideally what should happen is that a notation be made somewhere so someone in this office knows what was going on with a case," Opie said. "We do that in all of our cases now, especially so we can give the public answers. And the records will help the next prosecutor who steps into this seat."

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