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Judge reinstates St. Louis County’s 2015 court reform provisions

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A judge has reinstated parts of a 2015 court reform law spurred by protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Tuesday’s decision by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem keeps in place minimum standards for municipalities in St. Louis County. It also caps the amount of revenue they can raise in municipal court from traffic cases.

Those provisions were thrown out in a 2016 decision that the Missouri Supreme Court later affirmed. But the high court ruled last year in a separate case that the logic underlying its previous decision “should no longer be followed.”

“The aim of the bill was to stop the practice of taxation-by-citation, ensure citizens weren’t being used as ATMs, and to restore trust between citizens and municipal courts,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.

Schmitt, who spearheaded the bill when he was a state senator, said the ruling cleared the way for the attorney general’s office to enforce the original provisions of the legislation.

The law came in response to the unrest after Brown, 18, who was Black, was fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer in 2014. The shooting touched off months of unrest.

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