The Missouri Supreme Court has reassigned all Ferguson municipal cases after the U.S. Justice Department said the local court participated in unlawful targeting of African-Americans.
“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,” the Supreme Court said in a statement Monday.
“Extraordinary action is warranted in Ferguson, but the court also is examining reforms that are needed on a statewide basis,” Chief Justice Mary R. Russell said in the statement.
The announcement comes the same day Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer, who was accused by the Justice Department of fixing traffic tickets and unfairly punishing residents over unpaid fees, resigned as Ferguson’s judge.
Just about every branch of Ferguson government — police, Municipal Court, City Hall — participated in “unlawful” targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded.
The millions of dollars in fines and fees paid by black residents served an ultimate goal of satisfying “revenue rather than public safety needs,” the Justice Department found.