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Messenger: Who pays restitution when courts take illegal fees from defendants? Two Missouri cases will decide.

At the heart of nearly every debate over criminal justice reform these days is one word:


And so it was last month in the St. Louis County courtroom of Circuit Court Judge Brian May.

At issue was what to do when a defendant misses a court date.

“Our system kind of collapses if people don’t show up,” May said.

He was hearing arguments in a class-action lawsuit brought by attorney Rob Schultz against the county over the long-standing practice of the municipal court in St. Louis County to attach a $75 court cost to cases as a penalty for those wh...

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