‘Rudderless ship of chaos:’ Judge scolds Gardner in contempt hearing

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 2:52 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - A special prosecutor will decide if St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner will be held in contempt of court.

Judge Michael Noble decided to appoint a special prosecutor during a hearing on Thursday after saying there is sufficient evidence that the Circuit Attorney’s Office disrespected the judicial process.

The hearing was connected to the case of a shooting of an 11-year-old girl. Steven Linell Vincent Jr., 28, was charged in 2021 with four counts each of armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon after a gunshot went through the 11-year-old’s bedroom window and hit her in the arm. The incident happened in the 1300 block of Garrison Avenue in October 2020.

The judge in the case said an attorney in Gardner’s office, Chris Desilets, did not show up for trial on April 10 or a counsel status hearing on Monday. According to new court filings, another employee of the Circuit Attorney’s Office told the court that Desilets had a knee injury and was on the way to the doctor. On Thursday, Noble said the evidence supports holding Gardner in contempt.

Gardner was not present at the hearing Thursday.

“It does not appear she has made any reasonable efforts to prevent the resulting chaos,” Noble said. “It appears that Ms. Gardner has complete indifference and a conscious disregard for the judicial process.”

In his comments, Noble also said the caseload for Desilets “creates countless, irreconcilable conflicts.” Desilets has about 104 felony cases.

“The Circuit Attorney’s Office appears to be a rudderless ship of chaos,” Noble said.

A hearing has been set for May 30. Both Gardner and Desilets will be able to put up a defense in the case.

Monday, a judge chose not to hold Gardner in contempt for her office missing a murder trial.