St. Louis City
Must be a slow news day around here, no riots, no unusually high body count, no news that another salami slice of the late great A-B is being moved out of town, no panic about an inch of snow in the forecast.
Therefore, with all that free time, someone at KMOX thought it would be a cracker jack idea to crack open a fresh new copy of the state blue book and plot the home residence addresses of the judges of the 22nd circuit on a city map showing the locations of 2014 city homicides.
You might be shocked to find out that judges don’t live where the homicides are.
And what’s supposed to be the significance of this? Try this:
While judges can claim living apart is a legitimate matter of personal safety, their critics may argue judges in green zones can walk the dog without ever facing the felons they let go on probation.
I guess they want us to think that judges are somehow derelict in their jobs because they don’t live around the thugs who are criminal defendants in their courtrooms. The judges claim that it’s a matter of their own safety, which is somewhat true.
But we all know the real reason. Judges make good money, so obviously they’re going to buy or rent in the fucking ghetto!
A few more observations about this non-story:
* First off, this is the 22nd circuit. While it encompasses St. Louis City, it is the trial level for state court system, not the city/municipal court. Therefore, the judges are state employees, which is why their home addresses are in the state blue book. However, all of the judges of the 22nd live in the city, even though I am not aware of some state law requiring that the judges of a given circuit actually live in that circuit’s geography. However, I do know that each circuit can set rules relating to the circuit’s business as long as there are no contradictory SCOMO rulings. Therefore, I would not be surprised to find out that the 22nd makes all of its judges live in the city.
* Judges have some leeway in determining sentencing for criminal defendants who are found guilty at trial in proceedings over which they preside. But it’s not a whole lot. To the extent that they use this power, the judges of the 22nd have a reputation of being lenient toward defendants.
* Besides, most criminal cases in the city don’t even go to trial; they’re pled out before a trial can even begin. At that point, the judge can ratify or reject the plea deal, but even the few good conservative white judges on the 22nd Circuit won’t reject what seem to be lenient plea deals, because they know that at that point, it’ll be in the hands of city juries, which means enough black women on the jury such that the risk of nullification is high.
* Almost all cases in the 22nd that go to trial are civil cases, mainly a matter of plaintiffs venue shopping to the city for the “stick it to da man” reputation that city juries have.
* I wonder where KMOX employees live. I get the feeling that none of them live in high homicide city neighborhoods. Quite a few years ago, someone reading these words studied where the members of the editorial board of the P-D lived, and of the few that actually lived in the city, none of them lived in high crime areas.
* I have always been very hesitant to name sitting judges, save Supreme Court justices and other very prominent ones, so much so that I’m nervous about linking to stories that name judges. I don’t think it’s a good idea to print the home addresses of judges in the state blue book.