No, that online petition floating around to "remove Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers" has no legal power to do any such thing.
It may be addressed straight to County Auditor Terri Johnson and the Board of Supervisors, but they can't remove an elected official, either.
"They can petition all they want, but there's nothing I can do with it," Johnson said.
The only position with the power to do so is a district court, and even then an elected official can only be removed for serious offenses like corruption, extortion or committing a felony.
So, like her or loathe her, Beavers is likely sticking around at least until she's up for reelection next year. Rather than circulating an internet petition that can do nothing, Beavers has an alternative suggestion for how people should use that frustrated energy: push Burlington residents to take the stand when their testimony could put a criminal behind bars.
"Communities need to get together to come forward with information that will help investigators solve crimes so that we can prosecute crimes," Beavers said. "And then we need those witnesses to come into court and identify the individuals that are committing these crimes. That's the component of my job: going into court and presenting evidence. If I don't have witnesses and I don't have evidence, I can't do my job."
Back in December 2016, someone with the username Concerned Taxpayer started a petition on Change.org. The petition lit back to life this week, fueled by the killing of Demarcus "Peanut" Chew on Sunday.
Bitter and heartbroken citizens have pointed blame toward Beavers, who previously dismissed a charge against A.J. Smith in a deal struck to procure a truthful testimony against the victim's brother, Timothy Chew, in the latter's August trial on a charge of attempted murder related to a May gun battle involving Smith. Demarcus Chew's mother, Cassandra Taylor, publicly accused Smith of being behind the murder, as The Hawk Eye previously reported.
"I feel so bad for Cassandra Taylor that she lost her son," Beavers said. "No mother should have to go through having a child murdered. My heart breaks for her as a mother myself."
Change.org is a private, for-profit entity that allows anyone to set up an online petition. Anyone can sign the petition so long as they have a working email address. There is no means in place to check where people are signing from or how many times a person has signed a petition using different email addresses.
On Thursday, the petition hit 1,100 signatures.
That's just over the number of non traffic-related criminal cases in the county in 2016, Beavers pointed out. There were 1,003 of those cases. All together, there were 6,138 criminal cases filed in Des Moines County in 2016. The office had six attorneys that year.
Comments on the petition page are full of citizens critiquing Beavers granting plea deals, which Beavers argues is a result of the high volume of cases handled by her office.
"If there were not plea negotiations going on, to expect citizens to sit through 6,000 jury trials is unrealistic," Beavers said. "Sometimes people want to plead guilty. They want to take responsibility for what they did. We factor that in. But sometimes witnesses do not want to come forward and testify."
As for the petition, Beavers said she hopes people know that she cares about Burlington.
"It's hard to see that there are people out there that want to sign a petition to have me removed, because I love what I do," Beavers said. "I've been a public servant for 22 years, and I'm passionate about what I do. We try very hard."