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Ferguson pledges to work with new judge, will hire its own as well

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw, left, and Mayor James Knowles on Nov. 30, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
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Ferguson says it looks forward to working with the Missouri Court of Appeals judge who will hear its municipal court cases starting next week.

Ronald Brockmeyer resigned as the municipal judge in Ferguson Monday night following a Justice Department report that criticized Brockmeyer's conduct and the city's dependence on revenue from the court. The Supreme Court appointed Roy Richter, of the Missouri Court of Appeals, to hear cases in Brockmeyer's place.

"The city of Ferguson court staff is looking forward to working with Judge Richter, as it begins to regain the trust of the Ferguson Community,” Mayor James Knowles said in a statement. "We understand there has been mistrust for some time, but the naming of Judge Richter will begin a new chapter for our court."

Ferguson is looking to start the process of hiring a new municipal judge, someone to "lead our court in a new direction, and will allow offenders to leave with a belief that they were treated fairly," Knowles said. But a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court said Richter will act as the judge in Ferguson until further notice.

Brockmeyer also resigned his post as the municipal prosecutor in Dellwood, at the request of Mayor Reggie Jones. But he remains the prosecutor in Florissant and Vinita Park, and the municipal judge for Breckenridge Hills.

The mayor of Breckenridge Hills did not return a message for comment about Brockmeyer’s status. Tom Schneider, the mayor of Florissant, said he has asked Brockmeyer to take a leave of absence. Schneider, who has the final say over Brockmeyer's fate, said he wants to consult with other officials before making a final decision. 

Vinita Park Mayor James McGee says his city will keep Brockmeyer as prosecutor. He said that Brockmeyer helped the city establish a number of high standards for the municipal court – and even talked city council members into getting rid of speed cameras.

"I don’t believe in throwing people under the bus if they’re doing a good job," McGee said.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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