Missouri AG Gives St. Louis Prosecutor Less Than 24 Hours To Resign Or Get The Boot
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, right, and Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard law professor, arrive at the Civil Courts building on May 14, 2018. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R-MO) has given St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner an ultimatum: resign by noon on Thursday, or be removed from office.

Bailey shared the news in a brief series of tweets posted on Wednesday evening, threatening to use the power of his own office to oust her if she refused to leave her office voluntarily.

“We are giving Kim Gardner until noon tomorrow to resign,” he began. “If she refuses, she will face immediate removal proceedings in the form of a writ of quo warranto brought by our office.”

“As AG, I want to protect the people of St. Louis, and that includes protecting victims of crime and finding justice for them,” he continued, adding, “Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them. My office will do everything in its power to restore order, and eliminate the chaos in St. Louis caused by Kim Gardner’s neglect of her office.”

The case that spurred Bailey to action was the Saturday car crash that resulted in 16-year-old Janae Edmondson, a volleyball player from Tennessee, losing her legs.

Edmondson, in St. Louis with her family for a volleyball event, was walking back to her hotel when she was struck by a car. That car was allegedly driven by 21-year-old Daniel Riley — who was supposed to be on house arrest with a GPS bracelet awaiting trial for an armed robbery that he allegedly committed in August of 2020.

The trial, which was scheduled for July of 2022, was postponed because Gardner’s office was “not prepared” to move forward with the prosecution — and in the seven months since he received the GPS monitor, he reportedly violated the terms of his monitoring over 40 times. The most recent violation took place just five days prior to the accident.

According to a report from local NBC affiliate KSDK, the circuit attorney’s office had not filed any motions with the court to have Riley’s bail revoked. A memo from Gardner’s office pinned the blame on the court, claiming that the judge was also aware of the violations and bore sole responsibility for allowing Riley to remain free on bond.

AG Bailey was not the only one to criticize Gardner over Edmondson’s case — Democratic St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones advised Gardner to re-evaluate her priorities in a tweet she shared on Wednesday afternoon.

“The system failed, and it must be fixed. Our Criminal Justice Coordinating Council is working to pull together the Circuit Attorney’s Office and judicial partners to review the process that led up to this preventable tragedy & stop something like this from happening again,” Jones said, adding, “I hope the Circuit Attorney recognizes that seeking accountability and change is not ‘pointing fingers.’ If she cannot do so, then she must do some serious soul-searching about her future as circuit attorney because she has lost the trust of the people.”

Gardner has been under fire since she took office in 2016 on a “criminal justice reform” platform, mainly for failing to prosecute a number of violent crimes in addition to completely shutting down prosecution of what she considered to be “low-level” crimes. She also took heat for compiling a blacklist of St. Louis Police Department officers and then refusing to prosecute any crimes that they brought to her office.

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