In a unanimous opinion Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court
convicted Secretary of State Judith K. Moriarty of misconduct and
removed her from office.
The court found that Moriarty had backdated paperwork for her
son, Timothy Moriarty, when he filed for a state House seat last
"I'm just numb," Moriarty said in an interview in her home in
Sedalia Monday evening. Wearing a green sweatsuit, she dabbed her
puffy eyes with Kleenex.
"I thought I could get a fair shake from the court but it just
didn't happen," she said.
Moriarty criticized the swiftness of the court's decision,
which affirmed three articles of impeachment approved by the state
House. Her trial ended Friday morning and the court decision came
down at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
"They went with the House articles in one (working) day and
they did it readily," she said.
After six months of turmoil, this appears to be the end of the
road for Moriarty, Missouri's first woman to be secretary of state.
Her ouster is immediate and there is no appeal. She is the first
statewide official to be removed through impeachment in Missouri's
Gov. Mel Carnahan said the ruling "removes a cloud that has
been hanging over the secretary of state's office and the state of
Missouri for many months. I am pleased this has finally come to a
Attorney General Jay Nixon said Moriarty "certainly had every
opportunity to prove her innocence. I just think it's time now for
her to recede quietly into the annals of Missouri history."
Carnahan will appoint someone to serve the remaining two years
of Moriarty's term.
The governor's spokesman, Chris Sifford, said no one had been
chosen but that the governor was likely to make his selection this
Interim Secretary of State Dick Hanson says he does not want
the permanent appointment. He plans to return to his post as
commissioner of administration.
Moriarty, 52, a Democrat, was the surprise winner for the
office two years ago. The lone woman in the field of candidates,
she spent a mere $16,000 to win the primary. She then edged
Republican John Hancock of St. Louis County in the general
election. She had been the county clerk in Pettis County for 10
As the state's chief elections official, Moriarty was
responsible for the filing of candidates for state offices. The
Supreme Court said testimony showed the process was error-filled,
and that filings complied with the law "as much by accident as by
The investigation into Timothy Moriarty's filing began in
mid-June, when former aide Barbara Campbell told investigators that
he had filed for office improperly.
Campbell said Timothy Moriarty came to the office on March 21
and filled out preliminary paperwork, but that Judith Moriarty told
Campbell to hold the papers.
At the time, Timothy Moriarty was checking to see whether he
could become a candidate and keep his state job at the Department
of Labor. On March 29, the last day to file, Campbell said Judith
Moriarty told Campbell to file Timothy Moriarty, even though he was
not present. State law requires candidates to appear in person when
Campbell filed Timothy Moriarty's papers at 1:19 p.m. on March
29. Weeks later, Judith Moriarty ordered Campbell to sign the
document, Campbell said. Timothy Moriarty also came to Jefferson
City and signed, sometime in May. …