SB 193 – This act allows the Cass County Commission to establish a county municipal court that would have jurisdiction over all violations of its county ordinances and may also prosecute and punish ordinance violations of any of its municipalities under a contract with the municipality. The county may elect to have ordinance violations relating to county building codes, on-site sewer treatment, and zoning orders prosecuted and punished by the county municipal court or by an associate circuit judge.
Procedures in the county municipal court are to be the same as those in municipal divisions of circuit courts. Court costs may be established by ordinance, but cannot exceed the level municipal courts charge for ordinance violations nor can costs be levied against a defendant who is unable to pay.
Cass County may appoint judges the same way its other officers are appointed. The number of judges and their qualifications are to be determined by county ordinance except that the judges must be licensed attorneys in Missouri and county residents. Municipal court judges cannot handle cases in their law practice that are inconsistent with their judicial duties and may not work as a judge or prosecutor for any other court.
This act requires the county to enact ordinances establishing the court's divisions, terms, evening hours, locations outside the county seat and allowing defendants to enter not guilty pleas, plead guilty and obtain trial dates via telephone or written communication. The ordinance must also allow defendants to pay fines and court costs by mail or electronic transfer.
Final decisions are appealable on the record to the appellate court with jurisdiction. If there is no record, an aggrieved person has the right to trial de novo.
This act gives defendants the option to request a trial by jury before a municipal court judge.