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Fighting Sunshine Law Turns Into Expensive Blunder for Missouri Prosecutor

Some fights just aren't worth the cost. Consider the case of Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson, who insisted on appealing a circuit court's 2017 order that he pay a record-setting $12,000 civil penalty over his stubborn refusal to follow the state's Sunshine laws.

But in a ruling announced earlier this week, a panel of judges on the Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District affirmed the decision to fine Richardson for "knowingly and purposefully" violating the state's laws that ensures government records are open to the public.

And that wasn't the only bad news for Richardson. Along with the fine, Cole County must pay $24,070 in attorneys fees โ€” and on top of that, the county now owes thousands of dollars more in legal fees to the attorneys who beat Richardson a second time on appeal.
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