Municipal court operations in some of the smallest communities in St. Louis County are being folded into larger ones, in a program announced Tuesday by the Missouri Supreme Court.
“By reducing costs, sharing operations, as well as clerical and judicial personnel, we hope to reduce the incentive to use municipal divisions as revenue generators rather than to ensure public safety,” Missouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge said in a statement.
Municipal court reform and consolidation of the county’s 80 courts were among the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission, appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon to address issues raised after the police shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014.
The population of the nine cities joining larger courts is about 10,500, about 1 percent of the county’s total population.
The state courts administrator’s office was awarded a $50,000, 12-month grant last month that will allow hiring of contract staff to aid in entering pending case data from the smaller courts into the judiciary’s statewide case management system, court officials said.