Gardner claims AG Bailey hasn’t provided lawful basis to remove her in formal response
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- In court documents filed Tuesday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said a legal attempt to oust her from office fails to state a lawful claim for her removal.
Gardner’s attorneys argued in the formal response that the statute regarding an elected official’s removal from office is meant for willful neglect or intentionally corrupt acts, which Gardner denies committing. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey initially filed a motion in February in his attempt to remove Gardner. He filed an amended petition in March.
In the amended petition, Bailey called Gardner a “failed circuit attorney,” citing more than 2,700 cases that have been forced to be dismissed because of what he claimed is Gardner’s “inexplicable failure to provide defendants with discovery and a speedy trial.” He also stated that Gardner’s office had dismissed more than 9,000 cases, frequently on the cusp of trial.
Gardner argued in her response that Bailey’s allegations in his petition do not meet the bar needed to oust her.
“Mr. Bailey must allege a willful and intentional failure, not negligence,” the response stated.
Gardner also claimed the attorney general’s attempt to remove her is “frivolous, for political and not legitimate purposes.” She said it is a case of selective prosecution, alleging violations of the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions.
“Amended Petition is a gross power grab, an affront to the liberties of all Missourians and the democratic process,” the response stated.
Gardner argued that mistakes, often by her staff, will happen in large cities like St. Louis, and Bailey’s claims “alleges misjudgements by line attorneys” in a few dozen cases out of thousands of cases the circuit attorney’s office handles.
She goes on to say that if Bailey has issues with her staff, state law allows for her subordinates to be removed.
Also responding that she doesn’t believe that is warranted.
“To be clear: Ms. Gardner is not in any way agreeing with Mr. Bailey that any assistant circuit attorney or other subordinate actually committed any misconduct at all, the response stated.
Bailey’s petition to remove Gardner as circuit attorney came in the wake of a Downtown crash on February 18 that severely injured a teenager, resulting in her legs being amputated. The suspect in the crash, Daniel Riley, was out on bond while awaiting trial for charges from August 2020. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones criticized Gardner after the incident shined a light on Riley’s case, and two city aldermen called for her resignation.
Read Gardner’s response below:
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