St. Louis changes approach in court to combat gun crime -

St. Louis changes approach in court to combat gun crime

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -- Last year, 178 people were murdered in gun-related violent crimes in St. Louis. Many of them were under the age of 25.

In order to try change the direction of the tide, the city is trying a new approach.

Until now, judges say they've been focused on moving gun cases through the system quickly.

Under the new system just three judges will handle all class C and D felony gun crime cases; everything from illegal possession of a weapon to drug dealing where a gun was used.

Prosecutors believe this new method will streamline the system since a smaller number of judges handle a case from start to finish.

“What I love about this is we are going to create a body of data and learn from that how we can best get people to stop what they are doing,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. “How we get that 17 year old to put down the gun.”

The judges will still be able to individualize sentencing.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson believes the new approach is a step in the right direction.

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