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Tags: st louis | circuit | attorney | prosecutor | judge

Judge: St. Louis Chief Prosecutor's Office 'Abandoned Its Duty'

kim gardner speaks to press
In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks a news conference in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

By    |   Friday, 23 July 2021 12:35 PM

Kim Gardner, the first black woman to be elected St. Louis's circuit attorney, has neglected her duties according to former employees, city residents, and a circuit court judge, KSDK reported.

"Kim Gardner is a poor excuse for a prosecutor," Cierra Moore, whose brother allegedly was gunned down in 2020 by a suspect set free last week, told KSDK.

Brandon Campbell went free when a circuit judge was forced to dismiss his case in the murder of Randy Moore after a St. Louis prosecutor in Gardner's office failed to appear at three hearings and did not comply with a court order to produce evidence to Campbell's defense attorney.

Campbell had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful gun possession. If found guilty, he would have faced life behind bars.

"In a case like this where the Circuit Attorney's office has essentially abandoned its duty to prosecute those it charges with crimes, the court must impartially enforce the law and any resultant threat to the public is the responsibility of the Circuit Attorney's Office," Judge Jason Sengheiser wrote in his order.

KSDK reported Wednesday that police were looking for Campbell, and at-large warrants had been issued for Campbell’s arrest in connection to Moore’s death.

Kimberly Arshi, the prosecutor assigned to Campbell’s case, was on maternity leave at the time. Her electronic signature, however, was found on nearly 30 felony cases while she was out, including more than a dozen murders, a death penalty case, several assaults, and robberies, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Court documents show Arshi was assigned the Campbell case on May 17, a week after she began maternity leave.

The Washington Examiner reported Gardner blamed the dismissal of charges on "internal policies and procedures regarding family medical leave."

She added that "corrective measures are needed to further prevent any future repeat occurrence of the incident in question."

More than 90 prosecutors have quit the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office since Gardner was elected in 2017.

"I'm really concerned about what is going on in that office right now," former prosecutor Patrick Hamacher told KSDK.

"At some point, [Gardner] either needs to go out and ask for help or really do some inward thinking about what she can do better as a prosecutor. The city ... we're relying on her to be the circuit attorney."

Gardner was elected St. Louis’ top prosecutor in 2016 and reelected last year. She grabbed national attention when she sued the city, its police union, and five others in 2020 for what she called a racist effort to block her reform agenda.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, a fellow progressive, refused to comment on Gardner’s performance.

"The circuit attorney is an independently elected official, and she is accountable to the citizens of the City of St. Louis," Jones said. "I can't tell her how to run her office, and I don't expect her to tell me how to run mine."

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Kim Gardner, the first black woman to be elected St. Louis's circuit attorney, has neglected her duties according to former employees, city residents, and a circuit court judge. "Kim Gardner is a poor excuse...
st louis, circuit, attorney, prosecutor, judge
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2021-35-23
Friday, 23 July 2021 12:35 PM
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