Court Watch – November 7, 2023

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For the week of November 7, Ferguson had 50 cases scheduled to be heard in municipal court. There were 10 cases continued, and 7 who pleaded guilty, with 2 of those being reduced from a moving violation. The remaining 33 cases failed to appear, a rate of only 66%. Amazingly, a week during which 2/3 of defendants failed to appear is the court’s best performance since we started paying attention.

Our FTA superstar of the week is Cardell Maurice Hester. Over the past four years, Mr. Hester has faced – or more precisely, not faced – a total of 42 charges in various municipal courts. In 2019, he was charged with speeding at 26-30 mph over the limit in St. Peters. He failed to appear, and was later charged with failing to appear, for which he also failed to appear. He had posted a $250 bond in the speeding case, which he forfeited. He was charged with running a stop sign in Normandy. In Vinita Park, he was accused of driving while suspended, not having insurance, and failing to register his vehicle. In 2020, he took a road trip to Jefferson City, where he was popped for speeding and a seatbelt violation. He forfeited bonds in those cases after failing to appear. He also received another failure to appear charge from St. Peters, and again failed to appear. St. Ann charged him with driving while suspended and failure to register the vehicle. Normandy popped him on two occasions: In the first, he was cited with driving while suspended, no insurance, and speeding in a school zone; several weeks later, he was again charged with driving while suspended and no insurance. In 2021, he went almost the entire year without a traffic stop, until Normandy snagged him in December, for driving while suspended and running a stop sign. He was busy in 2022, garnering charges from St. Ann for driving while suspended and lack of insurance in February. In June, Florissant charged him with speeding, failure to register, driving while suspended, and a seatbelt violation. Florissant again popped him in July, for driving while suspended, no insurance, and failure to register. He did not gain the attention of law enforcement in 2023 until being stopped by Ferguson in November, when he was charged with driving 46 mph on Florissant Road just south of the police station. Of course, he failed to appear for that as well, and since we do not require a bond from chronic FTA offenders, there’s nothing to forfeit, and no cost for skipping out on the ticket.