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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles Details Proposed Civilian Review Board for Police

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 9:30 AM

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Here's the full response from attorney Harvey in regard to warrant amnesty in Ferguson:

Our position, and that of SLU Law's, is that whether or not the mayor has this express power (and we think he does), there are ways to accomplish the goals of a warrant recall and fine forgiveness.

Clerks recall warrants upon an attorney's entry of appearance on the case routinely in Ferguson and St. Louis County. The mayor, prosecutor, or judge could simply tell the clerk of the court to recall all outstanding warrants and place defendants on a new docket date.

In addition to warrants being recalled we asked for fines to be forgiven. Again, the mayor himself may not have this authority. However, even if that is true, the court could set aside all pleas of guilty on its own motion and forgive all fines and court costs through a process called nolle prosequi. That is completely within the court's discretion. It happens frequently at the request of private attorneys in cases all throughout St. Louis county.

The city Attorney is also the prosecuting attorney in Ferguson. She was at the Council Meeting. She could use her prosecutorial discretion and recommend that all moving violations be amended to non-moving violations, assess no fines and no court costs. This is with her authority.

There are a number of ways to accomplish what we have asked them to do. Ferguson has taken very important and praiseworthy steps towards healing the community with their reforms announced last night. It cannot be overstated how important it is to abolish the Failure to Appear charge. If Ferguson leadership wants to continue to move forward and become a model for the rest of the region and maybe the country, they could implement a true amnesty and fine forgiveness.

Ferguson Amnesty Supplemental Letter August 28, 2014 (1) (1)

Email the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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