The Associated Press is reporting that Gov. Jay Nixon withdrew his nomination of Jeff Schaeperkoetter to the State Tax Commission.
And the wire service said that the nomination was derailed because of a ruling the former legislator made while he was a judge.
From the article:
The governor’s decision came after some Republican senators raised concerns about a sentence Schaeperkoetter imposed as a circuit judge in December 2000. Jurors convicted Matthew J. Wasiak of rape, sodomy and deviate sexual assault and recommended sentences of 10 years on each of the first two counts and seven years for the sexual assault charge. Schaeperkoetter suspended the prison sentences and instead ordered Wasiak to spend 120 days in jail, placed him on probation and directed him to pay $5,000 in restitution to the victim.
State Sen. Jane Cunningham was among those opposing Schaeperkoetter’s appointment to the Tax Commission.
“As a woman, I cannot possibly defend ratifying the nomination for someone who has made that kind of decision — I just cannot defend it,” said Cunningham, R-Chesterfield.
Gov. Jay Nixon tabbed Jackson County prosecutor James Kanatzar to be a Circuit Judge on the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. Kanatzar will take the spot of Stephen Nixon, who resigned to become county counselor of Jackson County.
“I am pleased to appoint James Kanatzar to the bench in Jackson County, and I believe he will be an excellent judge for the people of this county,” Nixon said in a statement.
It will be worth watching to see who fills Kanatzar’s position, since the Jackson County prosecutor’s office has been an unusual stepping stone for higher office.
For instance, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders held the office before he successfully ran for the county post in 2006. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., was prosecutor before she became state auditor, and Joe Teasdale held the office before he surprisingly was elected governor in 1976.
Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Dent County Prosecutor Brandi L. Baird as that county’s Associate Judge. That position became vacant after Sanborn N. Ball as a Circuit Judge for the 42nd District.
“The citizens of Dent County showed their confidence in Judge Baird by electing her as prosecuting attorney,” Nixon said in a statement. “I am certain she will continue to uphold that confidence in her service on the bench.”
The appointment is noteworthy because it marks the second time in recent memory Dent County’s prosecuting attorney office became vacant. Nixon had to appoint Baird to the position after then-Prosecuting Attorney Jessica Sparks resigned.
Attorney General Chris Koster attempted to remove Sparks from office for “being derelict in filing roughly 250 felony cases pending in the south central Missouri county.” Sparks resigned before the Democratic attorney general could oust her from office.
Former state Rep. Martin Rucker was appointed Monday to the Board of Probation and Parole.
Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Rucker, a Democrat from St. Joseph, to the entity that determines whether prisoners should be paroled or conditionally released.
Nixon appointed Rucker for a term ending April 3, 2016. His nomination must be approved by the Missouri Senate.
Rucker unsuccessfully ran for the Missouri Senate in 2010, losing by a fairly wide margin to then-state Rep. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph. That may actually be significant to whether Rucker’s nomination gets approved.
By tradition, a nominee’s hometown state senator must sign onto a potential appointee’s nomination. If Schaaf disapproves of Rucker’s nomination, it’s highly unlikely it will go forward.
It’s happened before. Back in 2007, Gov. Matt Blunt appointed Derio Gambaro to the state Board of Education. Then-Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis - who defeated Gambaro in a primary for a St. Louis Senate seat - objected. The nomination was derailed.