Fine-Friendly Ferguson Judge Owes $170K in Back Taxes

By Carla Murphy Mar 06, 2015

The Ferguson judge accused by this week’s DOJ report of ticket fixing and punishing majority black residents with exorbitant fines and arrest for nonpayment reportedly owes more than $170,000 in back taxes. Ronald J. Brockmeyer, 70, according to The Guardian, is in his 12th year as Ferguson’s municipal judge. According to his private practice bio, he is also a judge in another neighboring city and prosecutor in three others. Brockmeyer’s and other’s dual roles have raised conflict of interest issues before and is considered symptomatic of the area’s Balkanization. St. Louis County’s 90 municipalities, according to a 2014 Better Together report, account for 11 percent of Missouri’s population but bring in 34 percent of all muni court fines and fees statewide. From The Guardian:

While Brockmeyer owes the US government $172,646 in taxes, his court in Ferguson is at the centre of a class-action federal lawsuit that alleges Ferguson repeatedly "imprisoned a human being solely because the person could not afford to make a monetary payment".

"Judge Brockmeyer not being incarcerated is a perfect illustration of how we should go about collecting debt from people who owe it," said Thomas Harvey, the director of Arch City Defenders, one of the legal non-profits representing plaintiffs who were jailed in Ferguson.

Also, today, more fallout from Wednesday’s DOJ report. According to the Post-Dispatch, Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd, two veteran police officers, have resigned over racist e-mails. The city’s top court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty, was terminated for the same reason.