Missouri's Public Safety department this week renewed its effort to revoke Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon's peace officer's license.
The department had revoked Dixon's certificate last January, but Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem blocked the action after Dixon appealed to the court system and, last month, Beetem ruled the state made too many procedural mistakes to revoke the license without holding new hearings.
Hylton asked the commission to conclude the guilty plea is an undisputed fact, so "there is no genuine issue that (Dixon) committed a criminal offense and is subject to discipline" under state law.
On July 1, 2014, Dixon pleaded guilty to one count of harassment in an appearance before now-retired St. Louis County Circuit Judge Richard C. Bresnahan, who had been assigned as a special judge in the case.
The Public Safety department launched its first disciplinary effort 22 days after Dixon
made the guilty plea in Bresnahan's Clayton courtroom.
Based on a Highway Patrol investigation and probable cause statement, Beger originally had charged Dixon
with taking a four-wheel vehicle on June 26, 2013 - even as the owner told him not to - and with four misdemeanor counts, including harassment, stalking and first-degree sexual misconduct or, in the alternative, third-degree assault.
But, Beger told reporters outside the St. Louis County Courthouse after the 10-minute hearing: "In pleading guilty, (Dixon) entered a plea to the conduct that was alleged in the other charges."
After accepting the plea agreement, Bresnahan placed Dixon
on probation, with conditions that included:
If Dixon had pleaded guilty to a felony charge, his license would be gone - state law prohibits felons from serving as a sheriff.
But a misdemeanor still is a crime, and the POST law also allows the Public Safety director "to discipline any peace officer licensee who … has committed any criminal offense."
As part of the 2014 plea agreement, Dixon - who was Belle city marshal before taking over the Osage County sheriff's job on Jan. 1, 2013 - admitted to being involved in actions with a Belle city deputy identified in court records only as C.M., including making "repeated phone calls to C.M., as well as repeated comments of a suggestive or sexual nature and touching or striking her genital area with a flashlight."
"(Those two officers), along with Dixon
, all provided testimony casting doubt as to whether Dixon
committed any criminal conduct.
Dixon's opportunity to submit this testimony (to the AHC) should not be short-circuited by the deficient pleading filed by the Department."
In addition, Beetem ruled, the Public Safety department and the AHC
made several procedural errors that violated the Missouri Administrative Procedures Act which, taken together, generally denied Dixon
his right to a fair hearing.
is in his
first, four-year term as Osage County