Missouri’s Supreme Court is considering whether to accept a petition filed by a former probate judge who sued his former employer, the Missouri State Board of Probate and Parole, for violating the state constitution by excluding him from serving on its board.
The Missouri Bar Association, which represents more than 1,000 former probates in the state, opposes the petition.
It has said the Board of Trustees and the attorney general are trying to circumvent the court’s own rules by not allowing probate judges to serve on the board.
The bar association argues the state has a constitutional obligation to give probate attorneys access to the public record.
State Rep. Mark Geragos, D-St. Louis, has filed a companion bill that would bar probate officers from serving in the board if the board doesn’t accept the probate’s petition.
Geragos said the probates should be allowed to choose their own board members.
He said the attorney is asking for an expedited hearing.
The state board is expected to take up the petition this week.
The probate law is the subject of a lawsuit brought by the bar association and other groups.
The lawsuit alleges that the probatry law was written in a way that excluded probate courts from serving probate justices.
The attorney general’s office declined to comment.
Gerivas said the law would allow the probacy court to choose its own probate jurists, and would prevent the state from making it easier for the board to make its decisions.
The attorneys general office is appealing a decision by a Missouri Supreme Court judge in December to uphold a court order requiring the probatal court to consider the probatorial status of a probate when deciding whether to bar probates from serving.
The probate board would not comment on the probator’s petition and did not respond to a request for comment.