St. Louis Judges Reject Gun Court Proposal; Mayor's Office "Disappointed"
Here is a portion of the statement released by Joyce's office in light of the judges' decision (emphasis ours):
Judge Garvey's armed offender plan offered transparency, accountability and a way to study the effectiveness of two specialized courts that would handle certain gun crimes. I pledged two attorneys to the armed offender docket and the city of St. Louis pledged resources to cover two additional attorneys to help with the effort...I am disappointed this plan did not pass.
However, I am reviewing the alternative proposal set forth by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Robert Dierker that was adopted by the court today. While concerns have been raised that the alternative proposal was more about form than substance, I am hopeful the judges will keep considerations of promoting public safety in mind as they formulate the framework under which the plan will operate.
Crane says the mayor plans to pursue the idea through legislative means next. (A piece of legislation on specialized gun courts was proposed on the state level last session, but it did not pass.) She says that the implication that the mayor's office is meddling with the judges' jobs is off base, as the gun docket proposal does not deal with how offenders would be sentenced and judges in the armed offender courts would have maintained their autonomy in that regard.
"[The judges] definitely made a point saying, 'We don't want anybody coming in here and telling us how to do our jobs,'" says Crane. "It's disappointing. It was a set back for the community and I really think the citizens of St. Louis deserve better."