Opinion

‘Willful Negligence’: Missouri AG Andrew Bailey Moves To Remove St. Louis Circuit Attorney From Position

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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has filed a writ of quo warranto to remove St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from her position, according to his office.

Bailey gave Gardner until 12:00 pm Thursday to resign, announcing last night that she would face “immediate removal proceedings” if she refused. Calls for Gardner’s resignation have been mounting since last week, when a car crash caused by a criminal out on bond resulted in a teenage girl losing her legs.

Teenage athlete Janae Edmonson was hit by a speeding vehicle on Feb. 18 while heading back to her downtown St. Louis hotel after a volleyball tournament, according to the court filing. The individual driving the vehicle that caused the crash, Daniel Riley, was out on bond for an August 2020 armed robbery and had violated his GPS monitoring terms more than 40 times, KSDK reported.

Bailey’s office filed the writ of quo warranto challenging Gardner’s right to hold office at 12:01 pm today. The court will now have to consider the request.

In an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation, Bailey said the decision to remove Gardner is about more than this incident, but “a pattern of repeated offence.”

Gardner has failed to execute her duties in three ways, according to Bailey: a failure to prosecute, a failure to confer with victims as required under Missouri law, and a failure to file cases. Combined, he said these amount to “willful negligence.”

Gardener said Riley was still out on bond because the court has not yet responded to a request for a hearing date, according to her statement Wednesday night. Bailey said he’s “never heard so many excuses.”

“This is about the rule of law and justice,” Bailey told the DCNF.

Since Gardner dismissed and refiled Riley’s case on July 18, 2022, he has earned 50 violations of pre-trial bond conditions, according to Bailey.

The court filing notes that Gardner has a backlog of “at least 3,000 cases” pending review. It also cites a “nearly two-thirds” drop in felony appeals, from 172 in 2016 to 69 in 2022.

“Upon information and belief, this nearly two-thirds drop in felony appeals is a direct result of Respondent’s failure to prosecute and convict guilty defendants,” the filing says.

Police data shows homicides in 2020 were the second-highest in St. Louis history.

In August 2022, Gardner was fined $750 and reprimanded by the Missouri Supreme Court for “professional misconduct” in her investigation of former Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, according to the Missouri Independent.

Gardner was also responsible for launching an investigation into Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis attorneys who went viral for standing outside of their home armed with guns to defend it from trespassers during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Gardner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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