Missouri AG hopes to permanently bar Hutcheson from public office
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley hopes to permanently remove Cory Hutcheson as Mississippi County sheriff. That news comes after a criminal investigation against Hutcheson involving the death of an inmate last Friday.
Hutcheson faces 18 other criminal charges, including assault and forgery, in two other cases.
In a news conference Thursday, Hawley said the inmate, Tory Sanders, was on a mental hold at the jail Friday night after he flagged down Charleston police officers because he said he wanted to see a counselor. While at the jail, Hawley said there were two incidents involving jail staff and members of law enforcement regarding Sanders. In the second incident, Hawley says Hutcheson led a group into Sanders’ cell around 7 p.m. Friday. Ten minutes later, they called for EMS responders.
Hawley’s request to temporarily remove Hutcheson from office was granted. Hutcheson has 10 days to respond to the action. Through a legal action called quo warranto, an attorney general can make the case in court that an official can or cannot hold public office.
Hawley wanted to deny Hutcheson bond from his April arrest or at least ban him from law enforcement. That was denied. On April 6, Hutcheson’s peace officer’s license was suspended. That prohibited him from arresting people. He technically wasn’t considered an active officer, according to a spokesperson with the Missouri Department of Public Safety spokesperson. Hutcheson was basically operating as an administrative sheriff or supervisor.
Hawley mentioned in a news conference on Thursday that Hutcheson was “still at the jail the night of May 5 and directing personnel in that final altercation at the conclusion of which Mr. Sanders passed away.”
A Missouri Department of Public Safety spokesperson tells us jails are different than sheriff’s offices or police departments. Employees there don’t have to have a peace officer’s license to work inside. We do not know at this time if that will be a legal defense for Hutcheson if he has any involvement from Friday night.
The department of public safety released a timeline of the chronology of the case on Thursday. To read that timeline and to watch Hawley’s news conference in full, click here.