As part of sweeping changes to the area’s judicial system, a judge in Ferguson has issued an order to withdraw every arrest warrant issued in the city before the start of 2015. Judge Donald McCullin also created new rules that would make it more unlikely that residents could end up in a jail for traffic violations. The new rules will allow local defendants currently jailed for failure to appear in court for a traffic-related violation, to be released while new court dates are set. Drivers’ license suspensions have also been voided.
The changes come after a U.S. Justice Department Investigation found that city officials and law enforcement regularly underwent practices that discriminated against black residents—who make up most of the city’s population. In a statement, the judge said, “These changes should continue the process of restoring confidence in the court, alleviating fears of the consequences of appearing in court, and giving many residents a fresh start.”