Over 60 Elected Prosecutors Sign Letter in Support of Kim Gardner and Prosecutorial Discretion

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Statement calls out personal attacks and attempts by federal and Missouri state officials to inappropriately influence decisions in local criminal case

St. Louis – St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Monday announced she was filing charges against Patricia and Mark  McCloskey who pointed weapons at protesters outside of their home a few weeks ago in an incident that has receive heavy national coverage.

Today, 63 current and former elected prosecutors, former U.S. Attorneys, and former U.S. Department of Justice officials from around the country came out in support of St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, condemning vicious and personal attacks she has received in connection with the investigation and prosecution of Patricia and Mark McCloskey.

For the past few weeks, CA Gardner has been the subject of personal and political assaults – including suggesting her removal from office – by President Trump, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Senator Josh Hawley.

These politicians have engaged in inflammatory and racist attacks against CA Gardner’s proper exercise of prosecutorial authority. This is the latest in a pattern of coordinated attacks on reform-minded prosecutors across the country as these local leaders seek to bring about long overdue reforms to our nation’s criminal legal system and advance proven strategies that fortify community trust and promote public safety.

In St. Louis, these attacks have led to numerous death threats against CA Gardner, as reported by The Washington Post.

“Local prosecutors exercise discretion every day, and rarely do elected federal officials decide to challenge that discretion – especially when it involves charging people who brandish weapons at others,” said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of Fair and Just Prosecution.

“This case is not about politics, it’s about the law. There is no doubt this is a local criminal matter that should be handled by local law enforcement and the local elected prosecutor, not national and state politicians who neither live nor vote in that jurisdiction,” Krinsky added. “It is both disturbing and dangerous to see the vicious attacks against an elected prosecutor duly carrying out her job; these personal assaults have serious real-life consequences and fan the flames of distrust and division at a time when our country most needs healing.”

“The political and personal attacks by state and federal politicians against Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner threaten the ability of every prosecutor in this country to do the job they were elected to do,” said Channing Phillips, Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and Former Senior Counsel to the Attorney General of the United States.

Phillips added, “At a moment when we are being pushed even more to reimagine our criminal justice system, state and federal overreach like this sends the message that community voices do not matter and will be ignored. The inflammatory language we have seen undermines public trust that is essential to the promotion of public safety so many claim to care about.”

In recent years, CA Gardner has been the subject of escalating racially-charged political and personal attacks from the St. Louis Police Department and Union, the Missouri State Attorney General and the former and current Governor.

These groups and individuals have sought to derail CA Gardner’s efforts to create a more equitable system grounded in evidence-based practices that are focused on diverting more people away from the criminal justice system, as well as bringing people home who no longer present a risk to public safety.

Some of CA Gardner’s reforms that have prompted the most resistance include efforts to bring about police accountability and limit reliance on police officers with credibility issues through the use of constitutionally upheld Brady lists, the exposure and prosecution of corruption in state government, and efforts to revisit old cases where wrongful convictions and injustices have occurred.

The joint statement, with the voice of some of the nation’s prominent leaders in prosecution, highlights the racist undertones and divisiveness of the attacks leveled against CA Gardner, stating: “These critics of CA Gardner have discussed this case with highly inflammatory language and…paired [this] with wildly inaccurate claims regarding the results of CA Gardner’s efforts to do her job and rethink the criminal justice system in the exact manner she committed to her community to do in seeking the job of Circuit Attorney…[This] has, not surprisingly, led to a flood of shockingly racist and sexist emails, social media messages, and death threats against CA Gardner, including a note left on her car that referenced lynching.”

These attacks stem from the charges filed against the McCloskeys on July 20, after a thorough investigation by local police. The defendants were each charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. Consistent with CA Gardner’s policy of reducing incarceration for low -level offenses, they were issued summonses and offered the opportunity to complete a diversion program which would have enabled the charges to be dismissed; that offer was refused.

The Missouri State Attorney General has vowed to intervene in the case and seek dismissal in contravention of local discretion and Missouri Governor Mike Parson has stated he will pardon the McCloskeys even though an evaluation of facts and evidence conducted through a trial by a jury of the McCloskeys’ peers has yet to occur.

As noted in the joint statement, this unfounded and improper intervention in a local prosecution is particularly troubling in the current climate: “During these difficult and challenging times, it is more important than ever that we support our local prosecutors in the exercise of their core duty to fairly administer justice while protecting public safety. We stand with Circuit Attorney Gardner as she pursues our shared mission for a fair, just, and compassionate vision of safer and healthier communities. And we stand together in calling for an end to racist, hateful and destructive attacks against local elected prosecutors duly carrying out the job they were elected to do.”

To read the full letter and see the signers – click here.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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24 thoughts on “Over 60 Elected Prosecutors Sign Letter in Support of Kim Gardner and Prosecutorial Discretion”

  1. Eric Gelber

    The attacks on the St. Louis Circuit Attorney serve to highlight the hypocrisy of the “LAW AND ORDER“ crowd. Apparently, law and order applies only to those protesting against police brutality, racial injustice, and advocating for other “leftist” causes.

     

    1. Keith Olsen

      The attacks on the St. Louis Circuit Attorney serve to highlight the hypocrisy of the “LAW AND ORDER“ crowd. Apparently, law and order applies only to those protesting against police brutality, racial injustice, and advocating for other “leftist” causes.

      You’ve got this exactly backwards.  It’s the leftists who highlight the hypocrisy of law and order with how they get away with their destruction of property and their attacks on law enforcement.

      Nice attempt at the twist and spin though.

      The McCloskeys did nothing wrong except protect their property from the mob.

      1. Eric Gelber

        The McCloskeys did nothing wrong except protect their property from the mob.

        “The mob?” Look at the photo above and tell me again who came across as mobsters.

        No one threatened their property until after they unlawfully brandished firearms, threatening peaceful protesters—and even then, only verbally, if at all.

  2. John Hobbs

    As usual, Keith disregards the facts and gives is unvarnished endorsement of white privilege. Brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner in public is a crime. Even when it’s done to people you don’t like. The McCloskeys were the only eminent threat to life and limb. If a cop saw a black woman holding a gun like Patricia, he’d shoot for center mass.

  3. Keith Olsen

    Not white privilege at all, just homeowners protecting their property who happen to be white.  When Korean store owners protected their stores while brandishing guns was that white privilege too?  Good people can’t depend on the cops anymore with the defund the police and all, we’re going to see a lot more of what the McCloskeys did.  Get used to it.

    1. Eric Gelber

      Your right wing website article, even if true, is unrelated to the St. Louis incident. The McCloskeys threatened peaceful protesters, with semi-automatic weapons, who were walking down the street exercising First Amendment rights—not looters—and who posed no threat to their property.

      The fact that you can’t see the difference is why our democracy is in trouble.

      1. Keith Olsen

        The fact that you can’t see the difference is why our democracy is in trouble.

        The fact that you can’t see that people are going to defend themselves and their property after everything they’ve seen and read in recent months where it has been mobs out of control is astonishing.

        Your right wing website article

        Like your left wing websites and new sources such as the NY Times, Washington Post, DavisVanguard, NPR, etc are ever going to give this side of the story?

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          In this case the protesters were not headed for their houses. And I’ve heard from my aunt all the trouble they’ve caused.

        2. Keith Olsen

          Oh, so you know what was in the mob’s mind.  Sorry, but the McCloskeys didn’t and they stopped any damage to their property except for a broken gate.

        3. Eric Gelber

          Mob:

          noun

          1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.
          2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.

          I can’t help but note that the repeated and erroneous reference to these, mostly Black, peaceful protesters as a mob has, minimally, the hint of racist overtones. Perhaps if they were all white and wearing MAGA hats ….

        4. Keith Olsen

          There were many white people in the videos.

          Also, where in your definition does it say a mob is black?

          a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.

          I think that about sums it up.  They did smash the front gate and threaten the McCloskeys.

        5. David Greenwald Post author

          Keith: They said before and after what they were doing.  There is an inherent belief on your part that protesters are destructive.  But the couple’s house was not their target, the mayor was.  Stands to reason that the toting of weapons was unnecessary which is why they are being criminally charge.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Right, KO… she had a God-given right… to loot… no one, not born in the US, much less “Ramadans” or ‘Ay-rabs’ should have tried to stop her… her language shows she’s a good Christian woman, to boot…  yeah, right…

      1. Keith Olsen

        Yes, that’s what store owners, homeowners and just everyday people are now dealing with.  Does anyone really think people are just going to sit back and take it?  The McCloskeys showed they had weapons so the mob wouldn’t dare damage their property or worse yet, come after them.  Amazing that not acting like sheep and what a little firepower will do.

    1. Bill Marshall

      What is going on with the right-wings total disregard for the rule of law?

      Just wait until November, and that may become clear… potential ‘coup d’etat’… see Tom Elias’ commentary in the Emptyprise today… interesting food for thought… all potentially logical… after all, some folk are right, and the rest of us are left behind…

      Time will tell… seems to me there was another individual, or more, in world history who have done that… at least in Eurasia, and South/Latin America…

      To be fair, some ‘left folk’ did the same thing… USSR and some countries in South America come to mind…

      All known by history as ‘heroes’ by their supporters, ‘tyrants’ by the “others”… think Fidel Castro… hero to some, ‘spawn of Satan’ by others… depends on one’s lenses…

      1. John Hobbs

        Should Trump and his proteges try that, they’ll need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent for treason. The country needs the catharsis.

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