St. Louis County municipal courts mull voluntary reform
ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis County municipal courts are considering several proposed changes to how they do business amid widespread calls for reform after the fatal Ferguson police shooting.
KWMU-FM reports that a committee of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys working in the county's 82 municipal courts recommends setting consistent fine amounts for identical violations in the local courts.
The panel also wants to provide defendants who don't qualify for public defenders with free legal advice provided by volunteer lawyers
The county's web of municipal courts has come under fire since the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown exposed underlying community tensions.
The state Supreme Court has responded with a new rule that allows poor defendants to pay fines in installments. Missouri lawmakers are also considering additional changes.