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Municipal Court Proceedings

Dear Editor:

A seismograph measuring contempt and disrespect for the law is needed to avoid the coming catastrophe involving the municipal court systems in this State which have become the hotbed of civil contempt because of blatant exploitation of the poor. Fines and costs imposed by ordnance without State legislative mandate are intended to divert federal and state funds intended for food and medical needs, the support of children, and disability, civil and military, to the coffers of municipalities, all without transparency. What are the salaries paid? Why are the fines outrageous? Who supervises the municipal system? How much money flows into the coffers of these municipalities, some with only several hundred inhabitants, but maintaining full fledged offices?

It is necessary that the municipal court system be made fully transparent. A traffic ticket does not require penalties and costs which are inconsistent the measure of individual fault, which includes the most trivial of offenses. The system is a distortion of judicial accountability.

We need judges of higher rank and experience to experience this system first hand.

We have a municipal court system that has no respect from Missourians.

I suggest that the Judges of this state see the system first hand and judge its' effectiveness. I suspect that they will observe that law enforcement is irrelevant to the process, but collecting funds for the construction of edifices and payment of salaries is paramount.

When members of the Missouri Supreme Court sat in the County Courts to preside, they received the accolades of the bar for gaining first hand experience at the grass roots. Now, the judiciary must dig deeper, again.

Irwin M. Roitman
St. Louis