- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis region’s biggest municipal court has given its judges more discretion to consider violators’ ability to pay when setting fines for minor traffic offenses.

An administrative order announced Thursday by Mayor Francis Slay at a City Hall ceremony compels the city’s municipal system to “consider alternatives” such as community to service “in every case,” including community service.

Judges can also now more easily extend payment deadlines, revise installment payment plans or even revoke unpaid fines entirely.

Municipal courts in the city as well as St. Louis County have come under added scrutiny since Michael Brown’s police shooting death in Ferguson. Critics say many local governments disproportionately rely on revenue from traffic tickets to fund basic city services.

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