Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the municipal court of Foristell. The report notes that the court previously assessed two potentially improper fees but discontinued both fees after auditors raised concerns.
"My office's audits are designed to identify problems and offer solutions that improve government operations for citizens," Auditor Galloway said. "In this case, the process worked like it should. My office raised this issue, and local officials took immediate action to end collection of these questionable fees."
The Foristell court previously collected warrant fees without statutory authority. The court also assessed fees when defendants failed to appear in court, without filing any additional related charges. In other words, the court was assessing a fee for something the defendant had not been charged with.
The audit also found that the court inaccurately calculated revenue from traffic violations and lacked documentation reflecting the prosecuting attorney's approval for a number of actions. Auditors identified a number of errors in the monthly reports the court submitted to the Office of State Courts Administrator, which compiles information on behalf of the state judiciary.
The Foristell municipal court audit was conducted as part of the State Auditor's Office Municipal Courts Initiative. The initiative expands the standard court audit process. In addition to reviewing financial transactions, accounting practices, and compliance with court rules and state law, auditors also review statistical information, tickets and other penalties to identify improper activities or practices that may impair impartiality or damage the court's credibility with citizens.
The full audit report for the Foristell municipal court, which received an overall performance rating of "good," can be found here.