Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Municipal courts operate in secret and work hard to keep it that way

with one comment

St. Louis MO seems to be a hotbed of bad government. Jennifer Mann and Stephen Deere report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the flagrantly unconstitutional municipal courts in the area are run.

Some of the best deals that are made in the region’s municipal courts never see the light of day.

When prosecutors dismiss a citation it is often done at a whisper, in a side room, or out of court altogether.

Then the record is sealed under a state law that is ostensibly to protect the falsely accused but in reality often hides favors.

It’s just one example of how the region’s municipal courts operate in secret, keeping uneven treatment private and using laws and court rules to justify it.

A Post-Dispatch investigation into the courts found a pervasive lack of transparency. Court hearings are conducted in assembly-line fashion and in hushed tones, without any way for the public to learn what is happening with each case. Public records are sparse — viewing a single case file can often take days of waiting and require permission from a city attorney. Then there are the side deals, which are hidden but prolific.

Even in court sessions that are theoretically open, judges often speak in whispers at the bench, making it impossible to hear exchanges with defendants who don’t have attorneys. It’s here where they quietly discuss what a person can pay and when.

The prosecutor often sits in a side room, ready to make deals. Attorneys file in and out, if they show in court at all. Many attorneys will both enter on a case and seek a recommendation from the prosecutor all at once by way of a fax machine, mail or an online service. These are the agreements that result in points staying off someone’s driving record. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 March 2015 at 9:56 am

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on Brian By Experience.


    Brian Dead Rift Webb

    16 March 2015 at 12:33 pm

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