Assistant prosecutor at center of Gardner contempt hearing resigns
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A prosecutor in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office who is at the center of a contempt hearing has resigned, News 4 has learned.
Chris Desilets is stepping down, effective immediately, he confirmed to News 4 Monday morning. He, along with his boss, Kim Gardner, is facing being held in contempt of court. If found in contempt, they could have to pay a fine, do jail time, or both. Their contempt case stems from the October 2020 shooting involving 28-year-old Steven Vincent Jr. Vincent is accused of shooting into a North City apartment, hitting an 11-year-old girl. Desilets was the assigned prosecutor. According to the court, prosecutors failed to appear for trial on April 10, 2023, and prosecutors failed to appear for another hearing weeks later.
During a contempt hearing on Thursday, Judge Michael Noble cited Desilets’ workload as a reason he thinks there’s enough evidence to prove contempt. News 4 found that he was facing 104 open cases.
“Any prudent practitioner would expect such a caseload to create countless irreconcilable conflicts, it does not appear she has made any reasonable efforts to prevent the resulting chaos,” Noble said.
During the hearing, Noble also called Gardner’s office, “a rudderless ship of chaos.”
A hearing has been set for May 30. Both Gardner and Desilets will be able to put up a defense in the case.
A spokesperson for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court called the current staffing situation at the Circuit Attorney’s Office a crisis in a statement to News 4 following Desilets’ resignation.
More recent departures from the Circuit Attorney’s Office -- leaving fewer attorneys to prosecute hundreds of serious cases on the trial docket -- are deeply concerning to the judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. We will continue to make reasonable accommodations amid the CAO’s current staffing crisis while always balancing the rights of defendants, crime victims and their families to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice.
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