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Government, Politics & Issues

New Satellite Court Will Make Access Easier For North St. Louis County Residents

The St. Louis County satellite location in St. Ann as pictured on Nov. 25, 2020
Rachel Lippmann
/
St. Louis Public Radio
When limited court proceedings are able to resume, defendants will be able to use computer terminals at the St. Louis County government center in St. Ann to access video hearings.

St. Louis County Circuit Court will use technology to make it easier for residents of north county to attend court proceedings.

The accelerating coronavirus pandemic has delayed the opening of the computer terminals installed at the government complex at the Crossings at Northwest in St. Ann. But when limited court proceedings resume, defendants will be able to use the terminals to access video conferencing platforms for virtual court hearings, said 21st Circuit Presiding Judge Michael Burton.

“Other than jury trial proceedings, which we obviously can’t do during the pandemic, just about any kind of proceeding that folks could Zoom into would be appropriate” for the satellite court, he said.

Similar terminals are already available at the main courthouse in Clayton, Burton said.

“But we just knew about the challenges of getting into Clayton from North County,” he said. “There have been even more roadblocks with limited public transportation in the north-south corridor, and then combining that with the cost of paying for parking while you’re in Clayton for an extended period of time.”

The county’s municipal court has a physical courtroom at the government complex, and Burton has not ruled out using that space for in-person proceedings in the future.

“At this point though, I think our real focus is just making sure that people have the ability to avoid coming into Clayton when it isn’t the best place to necessarily get to,” he said, adding that he is treating the virtual court at the Crossings as a pilot program.

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