JEFFERSON CITY – The
Supreme Court of Missouri Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness (CREF) is offering a public forum to Missouri residents, with three more public feedback sessions scheduled.
The sessions are being held as a way for the public to not only learn about the plans of the Racial and Ethnic Fairness Commission but to also comment on its recommendations to the court. The public sessions are open to all Missouri residents.
The first session was held Feb. 16 in Columbia at the University of Missouri-Columbia Law School and the second was on Feb. 28
at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School's Thompson Courtroom in Kansas City. These will be followed up by additional public feedback sessions throughout the state.
The following two sessions will be held in St. Louis and Springfield, respectively. The first is at 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the St. Louis University School of Law and the second is
at 5:30 p.m. March 14 in the Missouri State University, Plaster Student Union in the Traywick Parliamentary Room.
The sessions are designed to give a voice to the public as well as provide awareness of the changes that will occur with the judicial process as recommended by the CREF.
“CREF will provide a brief overview of the proposed recommended changes to the judicial process,” Julie Lawson, executive director for the CREF, told the St. Louis Record.
Lawson said the forums will allow the CREF to find out how the judicial system can better serve the residents of Missouri.
“Then we will invite attendees to give us their thoughts about these proposed recommendations," she said. "Do they meet the needs of Missourians? What experiences have shaped your (the public) ideas about the judicial system? What can the judicial system do to better serve Missourians? Is there anything missing in our approach or recommendations? etc.”
According to Lawson, the CREF wants to ensure that any proposed recommendations for the Missouri judicial system include feedback from the public so that it can “reflect the needs of Missourians and to ensure we didn’t miss any critical considerations.”
It will use the information provided by local citizens to gather input and help inform the recommendations for change that are to be suggested to the judicial system by the CREF.
“It will be used to help inform the recommendations for judicial system changes made by the Commission to the Supreme Court,” Lawson said. “The recommendations we currently have are a draft to be finalized after public input has been included.”
Several issues are expected to be brought to light during the public feedback sessions, including a discussion on children judicial concerns such as the juvenile system and children who are affected by the family court system. It is also anticipated that discussions will center on the judicial changes that help reduce fees, fines and penalties as well as new criminal justice recommendations by the public.