Stephen Deere and Walter Moskop, THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
FERGUSON, Mo. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)—The cosmetic changes were easy spot. For starters, the judge wore a robe, and when he looked up at defendants he let his glasses slide down his nose, giving the 64-year-old the aura of a sympathetic grandfather, not a plunderer of the poor.
In the first session since the Missouri Supreme Court took over Ferguson’s municipal court, Judge Roy L. Richter began on Thursday with a detailed overview of the state’s court system, and then announced he was lowering some of the fines.
A parking ticket was now $52, instead of $102.
Driving without insurance ticket was $177, instead of $377.
And a ticket for an improper turn would be $97 — $5 less than before.
But for most of the night it was tough to say whether the “extraordinary action” the Missouri Supreme Court had taken by placing Richter, of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in charge of Ferguson’s court was having the desired effect.