5th Appellate reverses former Marion County Sheriff’s lawsuit

MARION COUNTY — The Fifth Appellate Court in Mt. Vernon has reversed and vacated a ruling in a 2014 Marion County Court case filed by former sheriff Jerry DeVore seeking reinstatement to his prior position as a patrol sergeant with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The Appellate Court ruling was handed down Friday and says DeVore had resigned from his patrol position when he was elected sheriff rather than requesting a leave of absence to seek office.

(Source: Marion County Coroner’s Office)

DeVore had claimed Merit System rules allowed him to be reinstated to his previous position after leaving for government service but former sheriff Rich Stevenson, who had beaten DeVore in a 2018 election, refused to reinstate him.

Stevenson argued DeVore had resigned and had not sought leave of absence when he left his position as a patrol sergeant and to reinstate him would require creating a new unbudgeted patrol position or terminating an existing position to make room for DeVore.

The Friday ruling cites DeVore’s testimony in which he admitted to accepting a final payout from the sheriff’s office of more than $33,000 for all accrued leave, sick leave, and compensatory hours from his position as a patrol sergeant as proof of his resignation and that he was no longer entitled to reinstatement

“If DeVore wished to return to his previous position after finishing his term, or terms, as sheriff, he could have availed himself of the statutory protections provided by the Marion County Merit Commission Regulations by requesting a leave of absence when he ran for sheriff,” reads the ruling.

The case was subsequently vacated and will not be sent back to the circuit court for further attention.