Frank Vatterott | St. Louis Public Radio

Frank Vatterott

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Lawyers who are leading the effort to reform the municipal courts in St. Louis, tell of injustices they have witnessed in the courts and callous indifference among some of the municipal judges. They say the system is made up of modern-day debtors’ prisons.

They provide examples.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Eighty municipal courts in St. Louis County have agreed to levy identical fines and court fees for charges like speeding or driving without insurance.

Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

The Justice Department has neither the authority nor the staffing to expand its investigation of unconstitutional police and court practices from Ferguson to surrounding municipalities, legal experts say.

s_falkow | Flickr

Officials from most of St. Louis County's 82 municipal courts got their first look Friday at proposed reforms designed to respond to concerns about the courts raised in the wake of the August shooting death of Michael Brown.  

The St. Louis County Municipal Court Improvement Committee is comprised of court personnel, including judges, prosecutors, administrators and defense attorneys. James Clark of the social service agency Better Family Life is also on the committee.

The draft the voluntary reforms includes:

Law Professionals Discuss Court Fines, Fees

Sep 30, 2014
People line up to take part in an amnesty program to clear up outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants in August 2013, in Ferguson, Mo.
Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations, according to documents filed with Missouri’s judicial department.