ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Judge Chris Mennemeyer was elected to the Lincoln County bench in November 2012. She quickly presided over a case that garnered national attention, the Betsy Faria murder trial. Since then, several cases under Judge Mennemeyer have been overturned by higher courts. Attorney Lynette Petruska said the reversals stand out.
“I have to assume the judge was operating on a good faith belief that she was doing the right thing, but the court of appeals told her she was wrong three times in a row, that is unusual.” said Attorney Lynette Petruska .
Now court records indicate its happened a fourth time. This time involves the case of Jodi Davis. Judge Mennemeyer sentenced her for stealing and possession of a controlled substance and ordered her to long term treatment. Davis told me it helped.
“I was committing this kind of crime for drugs. I lost myself in that process, so it was learning who I am again, and those things I want out of life you know.” said Jodi Davis.
She completed the program and then the judge said she could not go.
“So the program was actually a year long and it`s called the 365 program. Well on my 365th day I wasn`t released, I was told the judge was keeping me there for x amount of days afterwards. And I had no understanding. It broke my heart.” said Jodi Davis.
She almost didn’t fight it, afraid fighting could lead to more repercussions from the judge.
“Maybe she felt she was doing the right thing, and I understand that. But I knew being a client in that program that once you complete it, it`s over – you’re done” said Jodi Davis.
Her attorney Tom Crocco believed the definitive answer to whether she successfully completed the program was in a court report investigation, but he wasn`t allowed to see it.
“We don`t have access to those reports, we`ve been denied access to those reports.” said attorney Tom Crocco.
Strangely, the supposedly confidential report was made public by the Lincoln county prosecutor, responding for the judge. It stated the, “program completion date’ had passed almost two months earlier.”
“I was a little curious that that report was included in the state`s response” said attorney Tom Crocco.”The report supported what she told me about her participation and her successful completion.”
The appeals court agreed, Judge Mennemeyer was, “required to issue an order releasing Davis on probation immediately.”
“The treatment program worked, I want to say that. She’s living proof of that and I`m glad she`s going to be able to go on and live her life.” said attorney Tom Crocco.