Judge rules impeachment case against Hannibal councilman will not be reheard just yet

Franke 3rd Ward Hannibal

Stephan Franke

HANNIBAL, MO. – Hannibal Mayor Pro Tem Mike Dobson will need another councilman to join his request for the court to rehear the impeachment case against Stephan Franke before it goes before the court.

On Aug. 7, Judge John J. Jackson signed a judgment stating Dobson alone cannot replace former Mayor John Hark’s attempt to file the impeachment charges. Hark filed the impeachment case in January 2022, accusing Franke of grabbing City Manager Lisa Peck and former City Clerk Angel Zerbonia “in a non-consensual manner,” causing pain to the city manager. 

On June 2, Jackson, who was appointed to the case after Hannibal Municipal Court Judge Don Bastian recused himself in October 2022, granted Franke’s Motion to dismiss the impeachment case. 

Jackson ruled the city’s failure to comply with the rules of criminal procedure was willful. 

Franke’s motion to dismiss, filed April 14 by attorney Joe Bednar, stated, “The City of Hannibal willfully failed to comply with the City Charter’s requirement to follow the rules of criminal procedure, as well as Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd’s order to comply with Missouri Rules of Criminal Procedure in the impeachment process.”

The motion said city officials did not comply with court orders this year on Jan. 4, Jan. 12 and Feb. 17, requiring discovery and procedural orders to comply with the Missouri Rules of Criminal Procedure. Franke also said they did not fulfill his request for discovery filed on February 11, 2022.

On June 6, former Mayor John Hark resigned, citing the reason as expanding work duties at a local towing company.

At the Hannibal City Council meeting on July 5, Mayor Pro Tem Dobson confirmed the impeachment charges against Franke were amended and refiled.

Dobson said he amended the charges because they were not heard by the council.

Jackson ruled on Aug. 7 that because Dobson is still a city councilman, the Hannibal City Charter Section 18(b) requires two city councilmen to file impeachment charges against another council member, or the mayor alone.

View the Aug. 7 judgment here.

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