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Swingle calls for special prosecutor

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cape Girardeau County's prosecuting attorney, Morley Swingle, is calling for the Missouri attorney general's office to investigate 2nd District commissioner Jay Purcell for secretly recording county commission meetings.

In documents faxed to the Southeast Missourian on Monday afternoon, Swingle announced he wants the special prosecutor to investigate and possibly prosecute Purcell "and/or any others involved in alleged criminal activity in regard to the secret taping of closed sessions of the Cape Girardeau County Commission."

Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp made the appointment.

Making a recording of a properly closed meeting of a public government body without permission of the officials present is a Class C misdemeanor. Each offense carries a range of punishment from one to 15 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $300.

Purcell expressed surprise when informed at 6 p.m. Monday.

"It's interesting. I don't know why Morley didn't talk to me or call me. It's obvious people are playing hardball," Purcell said.

Purcell announced Saturday he would ask the attorney general for advice on what to do with the recordings. He said he started recording county commission meetings to provide a more accurate record of the minutes.

"I have to do what I think is right," Purcell said. "I'm very surprised. No one has consulted me [about the special prosecutor]."

He said no one from the county has asked him to verify what is on the recordings.

Swingle has not responded to voicemail messages regarding this story.

"I feel very confident I will be vindicated," Purcell said. "I'm a little concerned. We're playing hardball politics at the highest level. I'm going from [prosecuting attorney Morley Swingle], who has been giving me opinions on whether I should or should not release the recordings, to him calling for a special prosecutor — after I've said I'm going to the attorney general."

Look for further details in Tuesday's Southeast Missourian.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127


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Eh, IIRC, it was previously mentioned that the county PA could not prosecute/investigate if the PA had previously rendered counsel. Suggest that the conflict-of-interest is a valid reason for not keeping this issue 'in-house'.

It seems that the only matter of real interest is the recording of the closed sessions - not the open meetings nor the private conversation.

However, in item (1) of the motion - it appears that the recordings have been verified to exist - not 'supposed' or 'alleged'.

Suggest that the PA had to take some action in this matter - doing nothing was not an option - call it 'covering the bases' - I'm sure there are other things also being covered.

For better or worse, it appears this whole issue is only going to get bigger and uglier.

-- Posted by fxpwt on Mon, May 12, 2008, at 9:26 PM

I think it's past time for a special prosecutor to be assigned for Mr. Swingle regarding him advising his client to violate the open records laws. Perhaps an examination of his law license is also in order. This whole situation is obviously corrupt and morally bankrupt.

-- Posted by heye1967 on Mon, May 12, 2008, at 9:47 PM

It is very underhanded to record a conversation without all the parties involved being aware of it. It is a deceitful practice. From this day forward anyone in Cape county who secretly records a conversation will be "pulling a purcell".

-- Posted by truthselfevident on Mon, May 12, 2008, at 10:52 PM

First of all- a person does not need to worry about a conversation being recorded UNLESS they are saying something unethical or doing something illegal.

Second= this only proves that Swingle is the right hand of Gerald Jones.

-- Posted by Skeptic1 on Mon, May 12, 2008, at 11:01 PM

I don't know that recording a meeting is illegal..revealing the proceedings of a closed session is.

-- Posted by yy4me on Mon, May 12, 2008, at 11:46 PM

Yy4me: Can you cite the statute that says so? I have never found one. According to Jean Maneke, Sunshine Law specialist and attorney for the Missouri Press Association, there is no legal penalty for revealing what has transpired in a closed meeting.

-- Posted by Peg McNichol on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 12:07 AM

Looks like Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane "Swindle" got their feelings hurt. Let us hope that the Missouri AG gets to the bottom of this mess, and sends all the boys to their seperate corners with out dessert.

-- Posted by CeilingCatKnowsBest on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 12:16 AM

swingle is a ding_a_ling prosecuter cuts slack for a sex offender but throws pregnant women in jail for writing a 25 dollar bounced check he reminds me of shoester and allen moss there all standing for the wrong reasons

and i dont see how allen moss can be a judge and a attorney is he gonna do dr jekyl mr hide where he defends and judges at the same time these missouri prosecuters are more lame the hilary clinton...lol

-- Posted by THA.ORAN.BANDIT on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 4:09 AM

They need to investigate something. I saw a sign @ county park. The Drury's are already in the works to flip the county park property they just acquired. It's for sale or lease. Imagine that!

-- Posted by mutt_jdr on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 7:57 AM

How can Purcell be prosecuted for recording a closed meeting that was actually an illegal closed meeting.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 8:07 AM


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