News & Stories

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 2:20pm by Diane Stiefermann

Ferguson Commission Focuses on Municipal Court Reform at Third Meeting

St. Louis (city)
Commission To Discuss Impact of Traffic Practices

Municipal traffic practices that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor will be the focus of the Ferguson Commission’s next meeting on Monday, Dec. 15.

The meeting is scheduled from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Louis University’s Il Monastero, 3050 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103. A public comment period will begin at 5:40 p.m., with working breakout groups immediately following from 6:05 to 6:55 p.m.

Several reports provided to the Commission show that minorities and the poor are unfairly targeted, charged and fined for minor moving and non-moving violations; municipal courts hearing these cases are closed to the public; and failure to pay these fines and related court costs pushes these citizens further into poverty and prevents them accessing housing and jobs needed to regain stability in their lives.

The Commission will hear from residents who have been affected by these practices, as well as experts including Commissioner T.R. Carr; Thomas Harvey, Arch City Defenders; Professor Mae Quinn, Washington University School of Law; and David Leipholz, Better Together who have researched the implications of these practices.

“We’ve created space for deep and sometimes uncomfortable dialogue,” said Commission co-chairs Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure. “We know that the topic of municipal court reform has become a controversial one – but we call upon municipal and state leaders alike to seek to find both short- and long-term change to address these practices that put so many people in our region at risk everyday. "

Accommodations will be made for the hearing impaired with 24-hour notice.

The Commission is an empowered, independent and diverse group that is studying the underlying social and economic conditions underscored by unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. Members include: the Rev. Starsky Wilson, Rich McClure, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Dan Isom II, Scott Negwer, Bethany Johnson-Javois, Gabriel E. Gore, Brittany Packnett, Rose Windmiller, Rasheen Aldridge, Jr., Grayling Tobias, Becky James-Hatter, Felicia Pulliam, Kevin Ahlbrand, Patrick Sly and T.R. Carr, Jr.

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www.stlpositivechange.org