Judge invites protesters into courtroom for unprecedented meeting

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis City judge invited dozens of protestors into his courtroom for an unprecedented meeting.

22nd Circuit Court Judge Jimmie Edwards says he did it to restore trust. He opened his own courtroom to protesters and law students so they could speak face-to-face with him and Judge Jason Sengheiser.

The meeting lasted for more than two hours inside the Carnahan Courthouse Monday morning. Cameras were not allowed.

Judge Edwards told me he did not want a venting session, adding he was happy with the way it turned out. He described it as an excellent and intelligent discussion.

“This was an opportunity for judges to come off the bench, for the very first time in Missouri, and listen to the general public and listen as to how or what those folk are thinking or how the general public is thinking as to how we restore their confidence,” Edwards said.

“They were already having the discussion. Why not have the discussion in a place where people like me and others that are in these positions are willing to listen to you?”

The judge said about 65 people filled his courtroom. He heard concerns from citizens about what some perceive to be a system against them and at the same time he believes the protesters also heard how judges are not part of that system, rather they are a separate branch making independent decisions.