Missouri Supreme Court Forms Working Group on Municipal Courts

Group Includes Two Representatives of The Missouri Bar

Reuben Shelton, president of The Missouri Bar and senior litigation counsel for Monsanto Corporation, and Karl A.W. DeMarce, associate circuit judge in Scotland County and municipal judge for Memphis, Mo., Thursday were appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of Missouri’s new Municipal Division Work Group.

The working group, comprised of nine members, is charged with reviewing all matters pertaining to the state’s municipal court divisions, with ensuring public input and with making recommendations to improve the municipal court divisions statewide in response to recent events that have raised concerns about practices in some municipal courts.

“We appreciate this opportunity provided by the Supreme Court of Missouri to continue to be engaged on behalf of the members of The Missouri Bar to effect needed systemic changes in the municipal court system,” said Shelton. “Part of the Bar’s mission is to educate and protect the public, and this collaborative effort will help make sure the primary role of municipal courts is advancing justice and public safety.”

The working group will be co-chaired by two former chief justices of the Supreme Court of Missouri – Ann K. Covington of Columbia and Edward D. “Chip” Robertson Jr. of Jefferson City – and a former chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – Booker T. Shaw of St. Louis. Other group members include: Kathryn P. Banks, legal services director for Voices for Children in St. Louis, Sylvester “Sly” James, mayor of Kansas City, Kimberly Jade Norwood, professor of law and of African and African-American studies at Washington University, and Todd Thornhill, chief judge of the Springfield municipal court division.

The working group is expected to file its interim report with the Supreme Court of Missouri by September 1 and its final report no later than December 1. Learn more from the Court’s press release.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Missouri also received a report from Missouri’s Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA) and acting Ferguson Municipal Judge Roy L. Richter regarding changes that have been implemented in Ferguson municipal court as well as recommendations for additional improvements. The Court and the newly appointed working group will review the report and determine what next steps may be necessary.

Click here to read the report.

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