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Judge Rules Nuisance Crime Court Unconstitutional


St. Louis – A St. Louis Circuit Court judge ruled that the city's Downtown Community Court is unconstitutional.

Judge David Dowd ruled the community court had improperly received private money and has no jurisdiction to hear cases.

Two lawsuits claim the city is trying to drive the homeless out of downtown by violating their rights through the community court. The second is still pending.

An aide to Mayor Francis Slay said before the judge's ruling that St. Louis will stop accepting private funds from a downtown organization to support the Downton Community Court. Critics have suggested the money might unfairly influence rulings.

Jeff Rainford also says a municipal judge should not have ordered community service work for people accused, but not convicted, of nuisance crimes.

He says the tactic will not be repeated.