Dismissals and appeals put prosecution of the McCloskey case on hold – at least for now

ST.LOUIS, MI- When it comes to deciding who will prosecute the McCloskey’s and when that decision will be made is anyone’s guess. 

According to reports, two trial court judges have now dismissed Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner from prosecuting the McCloskey’s. Mark and Patricia McCloskey have been charged with two felonies, unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.

The couple’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, argued that Gardner’s campaign fundraising emails, which referenced the McCloskey case, jeopardized their right to a fair trial and therefore met the legal threshold of “an appearance of impropriety.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

“Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II’s order said two fundraising emails that Gardner’s re-election campaign sent in response to political attacks before and after she charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony gun crimes in July raised the appearance that she ‘initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes.’”

Clark added:

“Like a needle pulling thread, she links the defendant and his conduct to her critics. These emails are tailored to use the June 28 incident to solicit money by positioning her against defendant and her more vocal critics.”

Gardner attempted to defend her emails, claiming that they were responses to attacks from conservative politicians all the way up to President Donald Trump and that she made a “passing reference” to the McCloskey’s in them.

However, Judge Thomas Clark agreed with the McCloskey’s and dismissed Gardner and her office from Mark McCloskey’s case. Judge Michael Stelzer followed suit by adopting Clark’s ruling, effectively dismissing Gardner from Patricia McCloskey’s as well.

These decisions mean that a special prosecutor must be appointed to oversee the cases and typically speaking, the presiding judge in St. Louis appoints the special prosecutor.

Stelzer, the judge who dismissed Gardner from Patricia McCloskey’s case began his term on January 1st and is now the presiding judge in St. Louis. However, one of the final acts of Stelzer’s predecessor, Judge Rex Burlison, was appointing Judge Steven Ohmer to find a special prosecutor for the case.

Gardner appealed Clark’s ruling to the Missouri Court of Appeals, claiming Clark “abused his discretion” when disqualifying her from the McCloskey’s case. The appeals court gave the McCloskey’s until Monday, January 4th, to file a response, to which their attorney has. 

The response, read it part:

“There is no question that the judge had the statutory and inherent authority to disqualify Gardner and her subordinates, if he found an appearance of impropriety exists. Exercising statutory authority cannot constitute a usurpation of executive authority. Nor can exercising the inherent authority of the judiciary.”

It is unclear when the Missouri Court of Appeals will rule or whether it will ask for more briefings. There is also no deadline as to when Ohmer must name a special prosecutor or for that matter, which one must or should come first. 

Ohmer has not indicated whether he plans to wait until the Court of Appeals makes its ruling, not to mention there could be even more delays ahead.

For example, should the Missouri Court of Appeals deny Gardner’s appeal, she could appeal it to the state’s supreme court and that court does not have a deadline to respond either.

Gardner received nearly $200,000 in the 2016 election from the Soros-backed Safety & Justice Committee and received $116,000 from the Soros-backed Missouri Justice and Public Safety PAC in the 2020 election. 

Soros has funded left-wing prosecutors across the country, including Kim Foxx in Chicago and George Gascón in Los Angeles. The McCloskey’s spoke on behalf of President Donald Trump during the Republican National Convention in August 2020. 

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LET Unity

Soros-backed, police-bashing Circuit Attorney wins second term in St. Louis. Here’s why that’s horrifying.

November 4th, 2020

This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

ST. LOUIS, MO – The people of St. Louis have spoken, and they have re-elected a Soros-funded, police-bashing, race-baiting Circuit Attorney with a history of creating politically-based attacks and ignoring state law herself.

On November 3, Kim Gardner won her second four-year term as Circuit Attorney for the city of St. Louis, receiving 74% of the votes.

Let us take a walk down memory lane and review the “accomplishments” of this Circuit Attorney.

Gardner was elected in 2016 after a campaign “funded heavily” by George Soros.  She was also fined over $63,000 for campaign finance violations.

Early in her first term, Gardner attempted to prosecute a sitting Governor using false allegations.

In 2016, Veteran Navy SEAL and pro-police Republican candidate Eric Greitens was elected Governor of Missouri.

Immediately, Greitens was attacked by liberals for alleged misconduct. Gardner accused Greitens of felony invasion of privacy for allegedly threatening to release a photo of his girlfriend if she spoke of their affair.

As we previously reported,

“George-Soros funded prosecutor [Kim Gardner] wrote a false indictment, “witnesses” who made false accusations were paid $120,000 in cash, politicians held secret hearings where Greitens could not even have lawyers present, false allegations were made and trumpeted in the press, and not one piece of evidence against Greitens was ever produced.” 

In the wake of the indictment and ill treatment by the prosecution, Governor Greitens was forced to resign.  A Missouri Ethics Commission found in 2020 that there was “no evidence of wrongdoing.”

But in 2018, after admitting there was no proof of a photo, Gardner had to withdraw her indictment. In addition, court documents show that exculpatory evidence was hidden, and Gardner’s primary witness admitted that the photo story might have been a dream.

Former St. Louis prosecutor Dwight Warren told Just the News:

“Ms. Gardner tampered with the integrity of the grand jury and our judicial system by feloniously causing an indictment of a man for whom she did not have the evidence.”

In addition to her apparent prosecutorial misconduct, Gardner’s anti-police actions have brought her public attention.

In 2018, citing “credibility concerns,” Gardner created an “exclusion list” of over two dozen police officers.  The excluded officers were not allowed to serve as primary witnesses in criminal cases. 

Since that time, the exclusion list has grown to at least 75 officers.  Now, not only are officers banned from presenting cases to the circuit court, but search warrants will not be granted if they involve officers on the list.

Gardner’s office puts the blame for this list squarely on the police, claiming by way of explanation:

“The St. Louis City Police Union, under its current leadership, has a consistent antagonistic history of resisting any and all attempts to root out bad actors within our police department.”

St. Louis Police Officer Association President Jay Schroeder told KMOV that the Union is quite willing to resolve any issues the Circuit Attorney’s Office has with them.

He added:

“I wish we could sit down and figure out what the problem is with the CAO, and get this fixed.”

Schroeder continued:

”It just doesn’t seem like there’s any appetite from the CAO to do that. It’s just we put you on this list and there you go, ‘Have a nice day’.”

The continued expansion of such a list is not too surprising, given Gardner’s penchant for letting criminals walk.

For example, in June 2020, after the protests immediately following the death of George Floyd, Gardner released all looters and rioters from jail without charges.

Perhaps the most famous recent example of letting violent protestors off is Gardner’s refusal to charge nine activists for trespassing on the property of Mark and Patricia McCloskey.  The McCloskeys famously took up guns as they feared for their lives in the face of a mass of protestors who broke down nearby gates and threatened the couple at their home.

Thanks to Gardner, avoiding prosecution wasn’t so easy, of course, for the McCloskeys.

Gardner charged the couple with felony unlawful use of a weapon after the incident, claiming:

“It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner — that is unlawful in the city of St. Louis.”

Never mind that over 300 protestors ripped down a gate, ignored “No Trespassing” signs in the neighborhood, and gathered in front of the McCloskey’s home, reportedly threatening their lives.

And never mind that, according to Missouri Governor Mike Parsons, Gardner had ”a backlog of cases and dozens of homicides that haven’t been prosecuted.”  In fact, as of July 2020, Parsons stated that Gardner had only filed cases in 20 percent of the 135 open homicides.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who called Gardner’s actions a “political prosecution,” told Fox News:

“At a time when there’s calls to defund the police, at a time with skyrocketing violent crime rates – including here in Missouri and in St. Louis – we’ve got a prosecutor now targeting individuals for exercising their fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.”

But wait… there’s more to Gardner than political attacks and being soft on violent crime.

Gardner herself broke state law by taking multiple out-of-town junkets, funded by activist organizations, and failing to report them as required by state law.

During her first term as St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Gardner traveled multiple times a month to locations such as Portugal, Connecticut, Houston, and Alabama.

One of the unreported trips was provided by the far-left organization Fair and Just Prosecution, which in turn is funded by the Soros-backed Tides Center.  Gardner also did report taking several other trips with this organization.

Fair and Just Prosecution makes no secret of their potential to influence prosecutors and thus influence policy, stating on their website:

“Criminal justice policy is primarily set at the state and local levels. Local prosecutors exercise tremendous control over who will come into the justice system, what charges they will face, and the trajectory of their case.

“Local elected prosecutors, including District Attorneys and State’s Attorneys, are on the front lines of change in our nation’s criminal justice system.”

The organization, though it has denied any quid pro quo, also stated with regard to Gardner that she, as one of their network of “progressive prosecutors,” has “beliefs, values and goals” that are:

“in line with FJP’s priorities and the same as policies the Circuit Attorney has promised to deliver for St. Louis since day one.”

Not only did Gardner take unreported trips provided by activists, but she was also reportedly hard to reach while on her journeys, which was “problematic,” according to sources within St. Louis.

Race-baiting is evidently in Gardner’s purview as well.

In January 2020, Gardner filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Louis and the police union, claiming that she was being forced out of office and alleging civil rights violations and violations of the Ku Klux Klan act of 1871.  All defendants were white, and Gardner is black.

According to KMOV, the lawsuit stated the police union and others “mobilized” to oust Gardner from office and stop her from enacting criminal justice reform, and that one strategy to stop her included “the unprecedented appointment of a white, ethically conflicted Special Prosecutor.”

The St. Louis Police Officers Association termed the lawsuit “frivolous and without merit,” a statement that was borne out by the recent dismissal of the suit by U.S. District Judge John Ross.

In his 19-page opinion, Ross stated the suit:

“can best be described as a conglomeration of unrelated claims and conclusory statements supported by very few facts, which do not plead any recognizable cause of action.”

He added:

“Gardner presents no specific material facts, circumstantial or otherwise, to show that defendants acted with each other for the purpose of depriving her or anyone else of a constitutional right to equal protection.

“Her complaint is nothing more than a compilation of personal slights, none of which rise to a legal cause of action.”

Such have been the actions during the first term of Kim Gardner, newly re-elected Circuit Attorney for the city of St. Louis.

The voters in St. Louis appear to have signed up for a second helping of the same.

_

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