State Reassigns All Ferguson Court Cases

'Abusive' judge-prosecutor steps down
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2015 12:04 AM CDT
State Reassigns All Ferguson Court Cases
Members of the Missouri National Guard stand outside of the Ferguson Police Department and the Municipal Court in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

The Missouri Supreme Court is helping with the housecleaning in Ferguson: The court says that to "restore public trust and confidence" in the municipal court division, it's taking the "extraordinary action" of reassigning all municipal court cases to a state appeals court judge, reports the New York Times. Ronald Brockmeyer, the Ferguson judge who doubles up as a prosecutor, resigned from both roles yesterday. The 70-year-old tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he doesn't agree with a Justice Dept. report on the biased and "abusive" practices he allegedly played a key role in, including the "creative" use of fines and fees to raise money for the city, "but it's not worth fighting."

The top Missouri court says it's assigning Judge Roy L. Richter to hear pending and future cases in Ferguson, and the appeals court judge will also have the power to "restore the integrity of the system" with a revamp of municipal policies, reports the AP. The court says it is also looking at statewide reforms. St. Louis University law professor Brendan Roediger tells the Times that this is the first case he knows of where a state court has taken over an entire municipal docket. "It's a very big deal because it actually is the solution," he says. "It puts the cases in front of full-time professional courts with no conflicts of interest." (Read more Ferguson, Missouri stories.)

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