The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 20, 2007

Kansas attorney general to consider ouster proceedings against county attorney

By Roger McKinney

rmckinney@joplinglobe.com

COLUMBUS, Kan. — If Cherokee County Attorney Michael Goodrich doesn’t resign voluntarily, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison will consider ouster proceedings against him, Morrison spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said Thursday.

Anstaett said Morrison will review the federal charges against Goodrich to determine whether ouster proceedings are warranted. She said no decision would be made until after the review takes place.

The county prosecutor was charged in an indictment Wednesday in U.S. District Court at Wichita with two counts of extortion, one count of wire fraud and one count of witness intimidation. A co-defendant, Timothy J. Schooley, 29, of Baxter Springs, is charged with one count of extortion.

Anstaett said state law 60-1205 applies to ouster proceedings for public officials. The law states that public officials may be removed from office for engaging in misconduct; neglecting to perform their duties; violating criminal statutes; or mental incapacity. She said the attorney general has the authority to initiate ouster proceedings under such circumstances.

There was no word Thursday whether Goodrich was considering resigning.

Some county residents who Thursday were on the courthouse square in Columbus shared their opinions about whether Goodrich should resign.

“Definitely,” said 84-year-old George Plunkett, of Columbus. “I would say he’s supposed to be an example for doing the right thing. To say I’m shocked and disappointed is an understatement.”

Mike Patton, of Columbus, said he wouldn’t necessarily want Goodrich to resign unless he’s found guilty of the charges.

“Give him a fair chance,” Patton said.

Angie Rippel, of rural Scammon, said she would like to see Goodrich suspended until the case is over and ousted if he is found guilty.

“I think he should probably be held accountable,” Rippel said. “People in public office like that should be held to a higher standard.”

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