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Injunction blocks firings of 3 Mo. judges

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A Cole County judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the firings of three administrative law judges who hear worker's compensation cases.

The Nixon administration is seeking to fire judges Henry Herschel, Matthew Murphy and John Tackes as part of its budget-cutting moves.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem had earlier issued a temporary restraining order to block the firings.

Attorney John Comerford represents the three judges. He says Beetem's injunction goes even farther.

"They are going to be able to stay in their jobs until we can get a final adjudication of their claims, and we expect that that'll take at least a few months and probably more," Comerford said.

Comerford's position is that the three judges can only be removed by a review committee or a retention vote.

The state argues that the legislature passed language in 1998 making the number of administrative law judges subject to appropriations.