UPDATED with statement from city.
The City of Ferguson has canceled its municipal court for the week after the resignation of its judge and the transfer of cases to a judge assigned by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Ferguson Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned Monday, the same day the Missouri Supreme Court transferred all of Ferguson's cases to the St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Judge Roy L. Richter of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, will take over the Ferguson court’s caseload. The transfer of cases will continue “until further order” of the Supreme Court, according to the court’s press release.
But that order doesn't take effect until next Monday. The city announced Tuesday that Richter will take over starting on March 19. All cases that were set before that date will be continued to a later date, the city said. Defendants will be notified of a new date by mail.
“The City of Ferguson Court staff is looking forward to working with Judge Richter, as it begins to regain the trust of the Ferguson Community,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “We understand there has been mistrust for some time, but the naming of Judge Richter will begin a new chapter for our Court."
Meanwhile, Ferguson will begin looking for a new municipal judge, according to the city's statement.
“The city will seek a reform-minded judge that will lead our court in a new direction, and will allow offenders to leave with a belief that they were treated fairly,” Knowles said in the statement.
The Missouri Supreme Court's order, allowed under the state constitution, authorizes Richter to implement reforms to Ferguson’s court policies and procedures. It does not make mention of a search for a permanent replacement to Brockmeyer. The press release that announced the change didn't either.
When asked whether the court's intention was to appoint Richter only until a replacement could be found, Beth Riggert, a spokeswoman for the supreme court, said, "The Court's intention was expressed in its order, which, as you note, is in effect until further order of the Court. I have no way to predict when or under what circumstances that might occur."
Riggert said the state courts would not be involved with a municipality's hiring process.
Last week, a report from the U.S. Department of Justice revealed racist emails that were sent by court and police officials, and portrayed a police department and court that discriminated against African-Americans at all levels — from the initial traffic stop to how they were treated in court.
In an interview, Brockmeyer said he did not believe the allegations in the Justice Department Report were correct, “but it’s not worth fighting.”
Brockmeyer said the main reason he resigned is that he and his family had received death threats in the last several days.
Brockmeyer also resigned as prosecutor in Dellwood on Monday. Brockmeyer declined to comment on whether he would keep his positions as prosecutor in Vinita Park and Florissant and judge in Breckenridge Hills.
Last week court clerk Mary Ann Twitty was fired and Police Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd resigned over the emails.
Jennifer Mann of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report