Ferguson judge known for aggressive fines owes IRS $170,000


A Ferguson judge singled out by the Justice Department for the aggressive fines he has handed out reportedly owes the Internal Revenue Service about $170,000.

Judge Ronald Brockmeyer has a backlog of taxes as a result of US authorities going again to 2007, in response to the Guardian. The judge’s fining insurance policies had been singled out by the DOJ investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and metropolis court docket system, and had been discovered to be aggressive and used to unfairly goal African Americans.

The federal tax liens filed towards Judge Brockmeyer are for tens of 1000’s of {dollars} in overdue private earnings taxes from a number of joint filings along with his spouse, Amy, in response to tax filings obtained by the Guardian. He additionally owes tens of 1000’s in employer taxes for his regulation agency and an annual employer-paid tax meant to fund unemployment advantages. Since November 2013, Brockmeyer has paid off one other three overdue tax payments totaling $64,599.

The judge can be accused of fixing visitors tickets for himself and colleagues whereas punishing residents for related offenses. The DOJ report stated Brockmeyer agreed to “take care” of a rushing ticket for a senior Ferguson police officer in August 2014. He additionally had a purple mild digital camera ticket he obtained himself from the close by metropolis of Hazelwood dismissed in October 2013.

“Even as Ferguson city officials maintain the harmful stereotype that black individuals lack personal responsibility – and continue to cite this lack of personal responsibility as the cause of the disparate impact of Ferguson’s practices – white city officials condone a striking lack of personal responsibility among themselves and their friends,” the Justice Department investigators stated.

Additionally, investigators discovered the judge accountable for creating a brand new vary of court docket charges, “many of which are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful.” His court docket can be on the middle of a class-action federal lawsuit recordsdata by 15 residents towards Ferguson and Jennings, and was charged with making a modern-day debtors jail.

“If you’re poor and black and standing in front of court saying, ‘I can’t afford this,’ I think the court is less likely to listen to you,” Tom Harvey, the director of Arch City Defenders and a lawyer who represents one of many lawsuit’s plaintiffs, stated to NBC News.

“Judge Brockmeyer not being incarcerated is a perfect illustration of how we should go about collecting debt from people who owe it,” he stated.

Another plaintiff, Roelif Carter, a 62-year-old disabled navy veteran, alleges he was arrested and jailed for three days in Ferguson in 2010 after making an attempt to pay the $100 month-to-month installment for his excellent visitors fines on the second day of the month fairly than the primary, when it was due. While dwelling in “constant fear,” he was arrested and jailed three extra instances within the following years when he was unable to pay the month-to-month cost, the lawsuit alleges.

The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled the identical accusation towards different state and native courts which have turned to aggressive charge collections as to strategy to fund operations with out burdening taxpayers. The group stated such strategies violate the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees due course of and equal safety.

Brockmeyer has served as municipal judge for 12 years, in addition to a prosecutor in two close by cities and as a non-public lawyer. Legal consultants say there’s a battle of curiosity, however Brockmeyer maintains of his a number of roles, “I see both sides of it. I think it’s even better.”