The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office issued the following press release Friday, Sept. 13, in response to recent nepotism allegations made by Cass County Auditor Ron Johnson of County Clerk Janet Burlingame.
“The Cass County Auditor Ron Johnson continues to assert that the use of County Clerk Janet Burlingame’s niece as an election judge requires action be taken by the Cass County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. While Ron Johnson does not have any legal training in interpreting case law, he continues to state that the Shull case is controlling in this matter.
The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office included the Shull case in its review when making its decision on the recent Burlingame matter. It was determined that the Shull case did not apply. The single phrase from the Shull case to which Ron Johnson references is not the holding in the case. The phrase in question is referred to by lawyers as dicta; merely discussion in a case. The passage Ron Johnson references is actually discussion of a discussion in another case. Ron Johnson misinterprets the passage he cited and does not recognize that the passage is not the holding of the case, and is not applicable in the Burlingame matter.
As demonstrated by the filing of a Quo Warranto action against Janet Burlingame last year, the Prosecutor’s office will take action when, after an objective review, the office believes it is appropriate under the law. The current matter is not such an occasion.
The Cass County Prosecutor’s office remains confident that its decision is both legally and ethically sound. No constitutional provision was violated, and ouster is not warranted.