This Note argues that legal reforms enacted after the 2014 Ferguson, Missouri uprising are insufficient to address the problem of using courts as revenue generators and the related problem of predatory policing. Reforms to date have merely capped how much money towns can raise from their courts; they have not fixed the perverse incentive problem, which allows towns like Ferguson to extract wealth from vulnerable, low-income residents through the court system. This Note argues that towns should be required to remit the money their courts raise to a state education fund, which puts legal separation between the entity collecting the money and the beneficiary of those funds. This Note considers two provisions of the Missouri Constitution, one which could be read as requiring such a reform, and another which could be read as prohibiting such a reform. This Note compares Missouri’s constitutional provisions to a similar North Carolina constitutional provision and concludes that the Missouri Constitution provides ample support for reformers to advocate for this Note’s proposed reform. Finally, this Note offers a roadmap for the steps needed to build political and legal support for the reform.
Samuel L. Rubinstein,
Dismantling Policing for Profit: How to Build on Missouri's Post-Ferguson Court Reforms,
U. Mich. J. L. Reform
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr/vol54/iss4/8