Missouri Supreme Court Takes Over Ferguson Cases in Bid to Restore Public Trust
Missouri Supreme Court Takes Over Ferguson Cases in Bid to Restore Public Trust

The Missouri Supreme Court has announced it will reassign all Ferguson municipal court cases to the circuit court, beginning next week.

To help restore public trust and confidence in the Ferguson municipal court division, the Supreme Court of Missouri today transferred Judge Roy L Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, to the St. Louis County circuit court, where he will be assigned to hear all of Ferguson’s pending and future municipal division cases. This assignment, made pursuant to the Court’s authority under article V of the Missouri Constitution, will take effect Monday, March 16, 2015, and will continue until further order of the Court.

The Court’s order also authorizes Richter to implement needed reforms to court policies and procedures in Ferguson to ensure that the rights of defendants are respected and to help restore the integrity of the system.

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“Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the Court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis,” Russell said. The Court continues to review specific recommendations for further changes to Rule 37, which governs the procedure of cases in all municipal court divisions. Among the changes the Court made in December 2014 to Rule 37 was a modification making clear that if a person demonstrates an inability to pay a fine, the municipal judge will be required to give the person more time to pay. The Court also will be developing “best practices” for those issues that are not well-suited to the one-size-fits-all approach of rulemaking and regulation. This process is informed by input from those practitioners, judges and outside advocates who are most familiar with the wide variety of Missouri’s municipal court divisions. Specific recommendations from these stakeholders have been, and will continue to be, studied and adopted when appropriate. Source: Missouri Supreme Court

Ferguson municipal judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer resigned his position Monday afternoon. He will continue to work as prosecutor in Vinita Park, Florissant and Dellwood, as well as serve as a judge in Breckenridge Hills.