At the Circuit Attorney’s Office, we support efforts to make sure judges consider the impact of crime on the community in considering cases before them. The job of the Circuit Attorney to offer information from the community to the Court. When a community or neighborhood group wants to make a statement on a case, they must send that statement to the Circuit Attorney who then offers it to the Court. Statements on cases intended for the Court should only be sent to the Circuit Attorney’s Office. Those statements while addressed to the judge – are evidence that must be submitted by the prosecutor.
The Missouri Supreme Court has rules on how statements and information come into evidence before a Judge. The community, individuals and individual victims should not approach a judge on a particular case on their own. They must work through the Circuit Attorney’s Office. Failure to follow this rule can jeopardize both the Judge’s ability to hear a case and the case itself.
Neighborhood impact statements can be considered in court only when specific, important procedures are followed:
1) Statement only discusses the impact of a crime on a community
2) Statement does not tell a judge what to do
3) Statement is addressed to the judge as the person who makes the decision
4) Statement is actually sent to the Circuit Attorney’s Office who’s job it is to offer to the Judge at the appropriate time, in the appropriate manner and with notice to all parties
5) Statement cannot be sent electronically
Please do not call a Judge, either at home or at the Courthouse, and speak to them about a case. Such conduct is improper and can cause the court and case to have problems.
Most groups offering such statements have had training from the Circuit Attorney’s Office on the proper method for handling these issues. If you wish to have short informational training or submit neighborhood impact statement on a case, or please contact Rachel Smith at the Circuit Attorney’s Office for additional information. The number is 314-622-4941. You may ask for either Rachel Smith or Vara Lyons.
Officer Joseph Calabro Sr.
District Three Community Outreach