A Guide to Muni Courts

54d43e6d4f2c0.imageA Guide to Municipal Courts in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area

1.) The Court System

2.) Fines and FTA’s

3.) Traffic Only – Get out of Jail Free

4.) Conflicts of Interest

5.) Racial Components

6.) Recent Lawsuit against Ferguson and Jennings

7.) My Solution Continue reading

An Update

previewOn the Ferguson front, not much is going on.  There have been protests every so often, but all have lacked the size and teeth that the protests from months prior possessed.  This reality gives further credence to the issue oft discussed on this blog that the only reason that anyone really paid attention to Ferguson was because of the violence back in August, as well as the implied or explicit threat by protesters of further violence.  As time goes on without anymore rioting, all that seems to remain is a loose conglomerate of organizations who frequently bark but apparently lack the ability to bite.

With that said, crime continues to be a very serious problem throughout the city and the county.  I have heard the phrase “emboldened criminal element” more times than I would like.  However, I think there is something much more insidious at play in the continued regional rise in violent crime.

I discussed the criminological theory of “strain theory” in an earlier post.  Without recreating another higher-brow academic snore-fest, strain theory basically explains that individuals commit crime due to the sum of stressors in one’s life that eventually lead one to justify various degrees of crime.  Usually strain theory is discussed from a perspective that the stressors are legitimate.

However, that need not be the case.  Perceived stressors can be just as poignant.  For example, if you’re a young black male living in the city of St. Louis and you’re constantly informed that the white racist police are always looking for a way of satiating an omnipresent blood lust, at some point, you might actually start to believe it if you’re told it’s true enough times by enough people and enough different outlets.

Accepting that notion as true, regardless of the objective or statistical reality, would make it easy for anyone to justify crimes committed against the establishment they blame for their perceived terrible situation.  Furthermore, when those crimes are not considered crimes at all but “resistance” there is no crisis of conscience whatsoever.  In other words, in my opinion, the narrative that has been spread since August (though admittedly before that as well to a lesser extent) is directly responsible for the uptick in violent crime.  The fact that officers are holding back for fear of becoming the next Darren Wilson is just the icing on the cake.  It is another symptom of a problem instead of the cancer that lingers beyond our view.

A few topics I intend to discuss in the coming weeks:

1.) Municipal Court reform

2.) Municipal Government / Policing reform

3.) Post-Ferguson Police Training Needs

  • Use of Force Policy
  • Organization Redistribution
  • Defensive Tactics and Police Attitudes

4.) The silly less-lethal pistol attachment apparently being tested by the Ferguson PD.


Work continues on the novel.  A rough draft is complete.  All that remains is plot / typo tinkering on my end.  Then it’s off to the editor.

As it stands, the plan is to release the book as an ebook on this blog for free in four chronological segments.  Once the final segment is released, the entire book will be released in one ebook.  The blog will be attached to a paypal account where people can pay what they would like, if anything.  Half of the money raised will be donated to BackStoppers, the St. Louis based charity that donates money to the families of first responders who die in the line of duty.

In case anyone missed my preview a few months ago: