The zealous prosecutor who charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felonies after they defended themselves against a Black Lives Matter mob at their home this summer has been dismissed from the case by a judge. From local NBC 5:
A St. Louis judge has disqualified Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner and her office from prosecuting Mark McCloskey's case, saying campaign fundraising emails she sent before and after issuing charges against the couple “raise the appearance of impropriety and jeopardize the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”
Judge Thomas Clark’s ruling comes about six weeks after the attorneys for Mark and Patricia McCloskey argued their motion to disqualify Gardner and her office from the case, saying her emailed solicitations for campaign contributions demonstrated she and her office have a personal interest in the case and jeopardized Mark McCloskeys’ right to a fair trial.
In her rebuttal, Gardner argued she sent the emails merely to respond to criticisms from the governor and president.
But, in his 22-page ruling, Clark disagreed.
“Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant – or even mention him – in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others,” he wrote. “In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”
Should Clark's ruling stand, a special prosecutor will be appointed to handle the case. In St. Louis, the presiding judge picks the special prosecutor.
Gardner's office responded to the ruling by saying they were not "officially informed" prior to media coverage of the decision.
Statement from Circuit Attorney Office, City of St. Louis— Circuit Attorney (@stlcao) December 10, 2020
Today the media reported on a judge’s ruling on the Mark McCloskey case prior to any official notification. We will review the court order and determine our options. pic.twitter.com/drVK9EjJI1
When Gardner filed the charges against the McCloskey's in July, she urged them to take advantage of a program designed to "reduce unncessary involvement with the courts," indicating she doesn't have a legitimate case against the couple.
You know this is politically motivated horsesh*t because the letter from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney itself states the McCloskey’s should participate in a program designed to “reduce unnecessary involvement with the courts.” https://t.co/r3YjrpYkAf— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) July 20, 2020
Shortly afterward, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a brief calling for the dismissal of the charges.
St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner is engaged in a political prosecution.— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
I entered the case seeking a dismissal.
As AG I have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all Missourians including the right to keep & bear arms in self-defense of one's person & home.
MO statutes specifically authorize citizens to use firearms to deter assailants & protect themselves, their families & homes from threatening or violent intruders. #2A— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
The prosecution sends a powerful message to all Missourians that they exercise their fundamental right to self defense at their peril. Missourians should not fear exposure to criminal prosecution, even prison time, when they use firearms to defend themselves and their homes.— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
I have a duty to protect & defend the const & statutory rights of Missourians including the Constitutional right to keep & bear arms & the right to self-defense by way of our Constitution & Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
This case is extraordinary. Based on widely reported facts, this prosecution targets conduct explicitly protected both by the MO Constitution & statutes setting forth the “Castle Doctrine” of self-defense. #2A— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
This political prosecution is not based in law and as long as it continues it will send a public message to ALL Missourians: If you dare to exercise the fundamental right to keep & bear arms in defense of family and home, you may be prosecuted and sent to prison. #2A— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
This “core and lawful purpose” includes “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth & home.” See Heller.— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020
The right to keep & bear arms is a “fundamental right” that is “necessary to our system of ordered liberty.” See McDonald case. #2A
Thus under principles of English law that the Founders viewed as fundamental, the right to keep & bear arms was “a recognition of the natural right of defense of one’s person or house as part of the law of self preservation & central to the #2A."— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) July 21, 2020