Missouri Attorney General Files to Remove St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from Office
On Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey took the step to remove St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from office. Bailey accused Gardner of neglecting her duties as circuit attorney and gave her an ultimatum to resign by noon, which she refused.
Bailey’s filing makes three claims against Gardner: that she failed to prosecute cases pending in her jurisdiction, failed to “confer and inform” victims of court procedure on numerous occasions, and neglected to file charges in new cases sent to her by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The development comes after Janae Edmondson, 17, of Smyrna, was visiting St. Louis with her family for a volleyball tournament. Last Saturday at 8:40 p.m., a family was walking downtown in St. Louis when a driver who was going too fast failed to yield and crashed into another car. Edmondson, who has had both of her legs amputated since the crash, was struck by the second vehicle.
Daniel Riley, 21, who was the driver responsible for the crash, had been released on bond for an August 2020 robbery case and was under house arrest, with the requirement to wear a GPS monitoring device. According to court documents, numerous violations of his house arrest occurred prior to the accident.
The Missouri Supreme Court has appointed a judge from the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District, John Torbitzky, to oversee Bailey’s motion to remove Gardner from office. Torbitzky was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2021 by Gov. Mike Parson.
Gardner’s press conference came hours after Bailey’s press conference, where he said, “This is about the rule of law and justice. Prosecutors are charged with holding wrongdoers accountable under the criminal code. Prosecutors who fail to do that aren’t doing their job.”
Gov. Parson also called for Gardner to step down and if she does, he will appoint her replacement.
During the press conference, Gardner said her office could have done more but that they cannot force a judge to revoke bond for a defendant. Gardner's timeline in Riley's case was not supported by other discrepancies or sufficient documentation.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said that “this incident and others have highlighted the fact that some improvements need to be made in her office.
0. “St. Louis Circuit Attorney won’t step down after Middle TN teen loses legs in crash” WKRN News 2, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.wkrn.com/news/national/st-louis-circuit-attorney-wont-step-down-after-middle-tn-teen-loses-legs-in-crash/
1. “Missouri AG Demands St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner ‘Resign or Face Removal'” National Review, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/missouri-ag-demands-st-louis-prosecutor-resign-or-face-removal/
2. “Missouri AG issues ultimatum to Gardner: Resign or be removed from office” KTVI Fox 2 St. Louis, 23 Feb. 2023, https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/missouri-ag-issues-ultimatum-to-gardner-resign-or-be-removed/
3. “Missouri AG files paperwork to remove Kim Gardner from office” KTVI Fox 2 St. Louis, 23 Feb. 2023, https://fox2now.com/news/janae-edmondson/missouri-ag-files-paperwork-to-remove-kim-gardner-from-office
4. “AG Bailey mentions backlog, racist harassment case in filing against Gardner” KMOV4, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.kmov.com/2023/02/24/ag-bailey-mentions-case-backlog-racist-harassment-case-filing-against-gardner/
5. “Who is new judge picked to oversee attorney general's case against Kim Gardner?” KSDK.com, 25 Feb. 2023, https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/politics/attorney-general-kim-gardner-case-judge-appointed/63-3dd8cda9-c66b-4511-b63f-65bc8744b8bf
6. “Missouri attorney general launches effort to remove Kim Gardner from office” St. Louis Public Radio, 23 Feb. 2023, https://news.stlpublicradio.org/government-politics-issues/2023-02-23/missouri-attorney-general-launches-effort-to-remove-gardner-from-office
7. “Kim Gardner defends actions of her office in press conference, court transcripts dispute her claims – St. Louis Business …” The Business Journals, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2023/02/23/gardner-defends-transcripts-dispute.html