(KMOV) – A local man spent more than a month in jail, lost his job and his home – and it turns out the whole thing was just a big mistake.
The ACLU took on the case, and now Jefferson County is forced to make changes.
Michael Bauer had a job as a cook at a St. Louis restaurant. He applied for a new job with the City of St. Louis to better himself, and went through a background check. That’s when a “body attachment” came up. A body attachment is like a warrant. Bauer had a child support case in Jefferson County, and due to a mistake, it appeared as if he missed a court date.
He did not.
But he would up in the Jefferson County jail without seeing a judge for 37 days. When he did see a judge, the court realized he should have never been arrested. But by that time, he had lost his job and his apartment.
The ACLU of Eastern Missouri came to his defense and found this was happening to 500 people a year.
Jefferson County officials admit what they were doing is unconstitutional. Now, anyone who is jailed will have to see a judge within 24 hours, and any invalid body attachments have to be removed from databases.