Judge tells Clayton protesters they will 'take steps' towards re - KMOV.com

Judge tells Clayton protesters they will 'take steps' towards reform

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A judge met with a group of protesters who demonstrated outside the St. Louis County Courthouse in Clayton Thursday.

The demonstrators were in Clayton saying the municipal courts in St. Louis County take advantage of the poor. The protesters cited the use of warrants issued for the arrest of someone who fail to appear in court for even minor violations.

“I can tell you we are going to take steps that we need to reform. I agree with you there are some issues,” said Judge Maura McShane.

McShane told the protesters she is trying to make changes. However, she also said the many of the municipal courts operate separately throughout cities in St. Louis County. The demonstrators said they want the courts to offer different options to pay off municipal court violations. They also asked that court fees be waived when a charge is dismissed.

“Do what she can to use her power to create a system that is more equitable and fair to people of color and poor people and to change that,” said protester Derek Laney. “It is disproportionately negatively impacting those communities and is enshrining a cycle of poverty for those people and creating a modern day debtors prison.”

The city of St. Louis already announced it is cancelling warrants stemming from traffic violations and is giving people until the end of 2014 to set a new court date.

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