22nd Judicial Circuit to Dismiss Early on Thursday, February 17, 2022 Due to Weather

Please be advised that the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court will dismiss early on Thursday, February 17, 2022 due to inclement weather that’s projected to negatively impact the St. Louis region beginning in the afternoon.

Court staff are authorized to leave at 1:30 p.m. Judges who have trials or hearings scheduled can decide whether to allow for early dismissal. The Grand Jury will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. today after indictments are handed down.

The Court will continue to operate with a skeleton crew of staff who must provide coverage in their departments or divisions until close of regular business. The Court en Banc meeting scheduled virtually for Thursday, February 17 at 3 p.m. will proceed.

22nd Judicial Circuit Begins Publishing Monthly Pretrial Data Reports

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, which proudly serves the City of St. Louis, today announced that for the first time it is now making publicly available to the community monthly Pretrial Data Reports.

The first of these new reports, which cover information garnered from pretrial hearings held in Division 16B in November and December 2021 and January 2022, are already available on the Court’s website using the link below:

https://www.stlcitycircuitcourt.com/index2.html?XMLFile=xml/PreTrialDataReports.xml

Moving forward, additional monthly reports will be published in this same location and on the Court’s social media platforms after all relevant data is able to be collected, reviewed, and verified.

“The Court recognizes there’s often significant interest in the City’s pretrial population – criminal defendants who have been ordered detained and/or released back into the community before their case is resolved,” said Jacob Long, Chief Communications Officer for the 22nd Judicial Circuit. “With these reports, the Court is demonstrating in the aggregate a level of transparency around the types of decisions judges are required to make and the rules and statutes they’re required to follow.”

The reports, which are prepared by Court staff and designed for information-sharing purposes only, provide a detailed snapshot of the number of new criminal cases that enter the local criminal justice system, the level and types of charges involved, the number of defendants ordered detained pretrial and the number of defendants released pretrial, the various conditions the Court has imposed for pretrial releases, and other related details.

“These reports equip the public with factual information so they better understand some of the functions of their local judiciary and demonstrate how judges try to apply the law and balance the presumption of innocence, due process rights of the accused, and the safety of the community at large,” Long added.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court to Reopen for Regular Business on Friday, February 4 with a Delayed Start TIme

Please be advised that the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court intends to reopen for regular business on Friday, February 4 but with a delayed start time of 10 a.m. by order of Acting Presiding Judge Elizabeth Hogan.

This will give Court employees and members of the general public extra time in the morning as accumulating snow could still cause problems on some side streets, in neighborhoods, and with public transportation routes.

Employees with questions about how this could impact their regular shift are encouraged to follow-up directly with their supervisor and/or appointing authority.

Relatedly, the plumbing work scheduled for inside the Civil Courts Building this week did not get done because of the weather so the CCB will be open and accessible Friday, February 4 as well. The Court plans to work to have that projected completed next week with hopefully as minimal impact on staff and the public as possible.

The Court thanks everyone for their flexibility and understanding regarding these weather-related operational changes this week. Please continue to be safe and well.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court Closed Due to Prolonged Winter Storm

Please be advised that by order of Acting Presiding Judge Elizabeth Hogan, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court will remain closed Thursday, February 3, 2022 for regular business due to a prolonged winter storm that continues to impact our area and out of an abundance of caution for our employees and the public.

This does not apply to critical staff members who are still required to come into work to maintain coverage of essential Court functions such as building security and juvenile detention.

Please visit our website to access resources, services, and other information that all remain available online despite the Court’s temporary closure: https://www.stlcitycircuitcourt.com/.

Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather, plumbing work previously scheduled for this week that will require a total water shut off at the Civil Courts Building has not yet been completed. However, the Court is hopeful the repairs can still be completed in a timely manner with as minimal impact to staff and the public as possible

Meanwhile, we are committed to providing ongoing updates as early and as often as we can as we continue to monitor the impacts of this storm and the conditions outside. Be sure to call our inclement weather hot line at (314) 622-4427 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @22ndCircuitSTL for additional information.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. Please be safe.

22nd Judicial Circuit Court Appoints Jacob Long as Chief Communications Officer

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Presiding Judge Michael F. Stelzer today announced that the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri has appointed Jacob Long to serve as its new Chief Communications Officer effective Monday, November 1.

“As one of the largest judicial circuits in the entire state, it’s absolutely imperative that we take an active role in communicating the purpose, services, and activities of the Court with our constituents and other key stakeholders,” said Judge Stelzer. “We’re fortunate to have someone with Jacob’s caliber of experience and professionalism joining our team. I trust that he will be a dependable, accessible, and knowledgeable source of information.”

As Chief Communications Officer, Long will serve as the official spokesperson and primary media contact for the Court. He will also work to strengthen the Court’s social media and online presence, provide strategic and comprehensive communications counsel to judges and Court staff, and share important information with the community at large about the co-equal duties and responsibilities of the judiciary.

“I’m extraordinarily grateful to the judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit for providing me with the opportunity to continue serving the City of St. Louis,” Long said. “Consistent, proactive, and meaningful communication are critical to buildingtrust and maintaining confidence in our various institutions. With this appointment, I am very much looking forward to sharing and promoting the purpose, mission, and accomplishments of the Court.”

Long joins the 22nd Judicial Circuit with more than 10 years of professional communications, journalism, and media experience. He most recently served as Director of Communications for Lyda Krewson, the first woman ever elected Mayor of the City of St. Louis.

Long also previously worked as a television news anchor, investigative reporter, and producer in cities across the country, including Boston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Fla., and Peoria, Ill. His original
reporting has made national headlines and has been honored with multiple regional Emmy awards and nominations for journalistic excellence.

A native of Granite City, Ill., Long holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Illinois State University and is a proud resident of the City of St. Louis.

Second Prospective Juror Reports Positive COVID-19 Test As Jury Selection Continues in St. Louis Circuit Court

April 21, 2021 — In the jury selection phase of the murder trial of Eric Lawson in St. Louis Circuit Court, a second juror has reported a positive test for COVID-19.

The latest juror appeared in court on the morning of April 14 for a two-hour session. This juror called Jury Supervisor Joanne Martin on the afternoon of April 19 indicating that she had tested positive April 16 and did not know when or where exposure occurred.

From the April 14 session, seven of 39 prospective jurors had been asked to return on April 20. Martin called each of the seven on April 19 to inform them of the positive juror and indicated that they were not to appear the following day and that their service was complete. For the other jurors in the April 14 session who had not been asked to return, Martin mailed a letter informing them of the positive.

A similar event occurred in a jury selection session April 16, when a prospective juror alerted Martin that they had just received news of a positive COVID-19 result from an earlier test. All 40 prospective jurors from that session were dismissed, and jury selection resumed with other groups of 40 later that afternoon.

The Court has summoned 3,500 people for jury selection in this case, including a 12-page questionnaire to be returned by mail.

Prospective Juror Appears in St. Louis Circuit Court, Notifies Jury Supervisor of Positive COVID Test

During a jury selection process Friday, April 16, a prospective juror alerted the St. Louis Circuit Court that they had just received news of a positive COVID-19 result from an earlier test. Friday was the juror’s first day at the courthouse.


After consultation with the judge and attorneys on the case, the entire group of jurors who were in proximity to the positive person were informed of the positive test and released from duty.


The Court performed contact tracing immediately, closed the area, and scheduled cleaning.


Jury selection will resume on Monday the 19th.


The Court urges that rather than coming to the courthouse, all summoned jurors who feel symptomatic, or have taken a test in the previous 48 hours, or have received a positive result should notify the Jury Supervisor from home before appearing.

St. Louis City Municipal Court to Move To Phase Three Operations, Resume In-Person Trials

APRIL 7, 2021 — Presiding Judge Michael F. Stelzer of the St. Louis Circuit Court has approved an operating plan submitted by Newton G. McCoy, administrative judge of the St. Louis City Municipal Division, and notified the Supreme Court of Missouri that the Municipal Court will move to Phase Three Operations April 12.

Under Phase Three, the Municipal Court will resume in-person trials at 1520 Market Street downtown on April 23, McCoy says in the plan, which details how that court will implement COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols for all parties.

St. Louis Circuit Court Moves to Phase Two COVID-19 Operations, Sets Jury Trial March 22

Presiding Judge Michael Stelzer of the St. Louis Circuit Court ordered today that the Court will transition immediately to Phase Two Operations from Phase One, as defined in the Operational Directives from the Supreme Court of Missouri last May.

Phase Two allows for jury trials that can “safely be conducted in compliance with social distancing protocols and occupancy rate limitations applicable to the local community.” Judge Stelzer noted that he had consulted with Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of the St. Louis Department of Health, in deciding to move to Phase Two.

Accordingly, the Court has scheduled its first jury trial in more than a year, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Missouri.

The trial will be in Case #1822-CR04166-01, State v. Jerome Pimpin Jones, who is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon by firing from a moving vehicle, and three counts of armed criminal action. The charges stem from an incident Nov. 4, 2018.

Among them:

  • The trial courtroom will be open only to jurors and parties to the case.
  • Other observers may view a video feed of the trial from the Ceremonial Courtroom on the fourth floor of the Civil Courts Building. Other viewing rooms may be added as necessary.
  • Jury selection will be conducted in the Jury Assembly Room of the Civil Courts Building rather than in the trial courtroom to allow for safe social distancing.
  • Jury deliberation will be in a designated partner courtroom instead of around a table in a small room.
  • The Court will closely supervise cleaning and disinfecting spaces between each trial session. Deputies and other safety monitors will enforce rules for masking, social distancing, elevator and restroom occupancy and other pandemic-related precautions. Public spaces and high-touch areas will be cleaned frequently.

The court is taking numerous steps to protect the health and safety of prospective jurors and the eventual panel of 12 jurors and two alternates, as well as all parties and observers of this trial and others to follow while the Court remains in Phase Two.

Judge Stelzer said, “We are encouraged to get this area of the judicial process moving again but are proceeding with caution. Advancing through operational phases depends on all of us taking responsibility for our health and that of others as we work to become COVID-free.”

St. Louis Circuit Court Innovates To Overcome Pandemic Setback

As with most institutions, the St. Louis Circuit Court experienced service setbacks and unexpected challenges with the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly a year ago. But unlike some other institutions that were already driven by technology and innovation, the Court had to build many of its solutions from scratch.

Two areas of the Court exemplify the rapid response and adaptation that have kept proceedings largely on track: the Juvenile Court and the Treatment Courts.

Treatment Courts are special dockets in the court system designed to offer substance abuse treatment, combined with supervision and judicial oversight to provide non-violent substance abusers the tools they need to change their lives and avoid incarceration. They involve highly collaborative efforts of the Court, Circuit Attorney, Department of Corrections Probation and Parole, defense lawyers, community treatment providers, Sheriff’s Department, Children’s Division, community workers and volunteers. The original Drug Court for adults in the criminal justice system, has branched into separate treatment programs for parents with addiction issues, and veteran’s faced with criminal charges.

The explosive impact of the pandemic initially was a shock to the homegrown Treatment Court system. At the same time, the criminal justice system’s need for alternatives to incarceration spiked as officials sought to avoid having the virus spread in detention facilities.

Rochelle M. Woodiest, Treatment Courts commissioner, said, “We are back on track. Through it all, we have continued to graduate participants who successfully complete the program, although the ceremonies are virtual now.”

She said the Courts quickly developed a system of virtual check-in hearings, notifying defense attorneys and prosecutors of the time and internet links that Court officers need to speak with participants.

The Courts also make use of WebEx video for recovery meetings, and participants can meet with their counselors by video or over the phone. Its screenings for admission to the program are held virtually and involve interviews to determine a candidate’s potential to succeed.

To be considered for admission, defendants ask a judge at a bond or detention hearing. Commissioner Woodiest noted that overall admissions had declined somewhat because fewer cases overall are moving through the system during the pandemic.

Some aspects of Treatment Courts still rely on in-person interactions. Participants are still required to undergo random urine checks and meet regularly with their probation officers. The officers often conduct these meetings in the field, meeting defendants at neutral sites or at their offices, but they also conduct home visits.

And after establishing COVID safety protocols, the Courts have resumed working with various community agencies who have residential beds available for addiction treatment.

In the Juvenile Court, timeliness for many processes is dictated by state regulations.

Steven Ohmer, chief judge of the Juvenile and Family Court, said, “We have had brief interruptions related to the pandemic, especially in the early days. But we got back on schedule quickly once we adopted new technologies.”

Each of three original courtrooms in the Juvenile and Family Courts facility at 920 N. Vandeventer Ave. have been set up for virtual hearings.

“For hearings that must be in-person, we adapted another space for a fourth courtroom big enough for social distancing,” Judge Ohmer said.

In addition, the Court set up a small room equipped for WebEx as a way for people to attend video hearings if a courtroom is too full for social distancing. “If people lack a home computer or smartphone, they may come to our facility and use our WebEx equipped room,” he said.

While the pandemic has brought many new variables, the demand for virtual capabilities has remained high. “We have approximately 200 child protection hearings per month in cases related to abuse and neglect,” he noted. “These extra efforts have kept us timely over the long run of the pandemic.”