The Supreme Court of Missouri recently determined that a trial judge exceeded his authority by holding a circuit clerk in contempt of court after she failed to prepare a requested spreadsheet of court costs assessed in criminal cases, including missing bills of costs.

Judge W. Brent Powell, for a unanimous court, determined that Judge Steven A. Privette, who is the circuit and presiding judge for the 37th judicial circuit, exceeded his authority in ordering Oregon County Circuit Clerk Betty Grooms to show cause as to why she shouldn’t be held in contempt of court, and, thus, the preliminary writ Grooms had petitioned for and received was made permanent.