Missouri appeals judge appointed to take over Ferguson court

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A Missouri appeals court judge was appointed Monday to take over Ferguson's municipal court and make "needed reforms" after a highly critical U.S. Department of Justice report that was prompted by the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

The Missouri Supreme Court said it is assigning state appeals Judge Roy L. Richter to hear all of Ferguson's pending and future municipal court cases. The high court said Richter also will have the authority to overhaul court policies to ensure defendants' rights are respected and to "restore the integrity of the system."

Ferguson Municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer resigned Monday, saying through a spokesman that he was stepping down to promote public confidence in the court and help Ferguson "begin its healing process."

The Ferguson City Council met in closed session Monday evening, but members left without taking questions and a city spokesman didn't disclose the purpose of the meeting. Ferguson City Manager John Shaw was escorted to his vehicle by a police officer without fielding questions, and Mayor James Knowles III declined comment to The Associated Press afterward except to say that the city on Tuesday would begin seeking Brockmeyer's permanent successor.

Richter will take charge of the court on March 16. The Supreme Court said it also is assigning staff from the state court administrator's office to aid Richter in reviewing Ferguson's municipal court practices.

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