ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is hoping to win another term as St. Louis Circuit Attorney.
She's the face of the Circuit Attorney's Office. She also has deep ties to the community.
“I'm a lifelong North City resident, I grew up in North City all my life. My family business has been around since 1932. It's a funeral home business, so I understand the devastation of what violent crime does to the City of St. Louis,” Gardner said.
She's also a former state representative and registered nurse. As Circuit Attorney, Gardner is proud of the cases she's prosecuted, as well as the ones she has not.
“I was the first prosecutor to refuse stand alone marijuana cases of 100 grams or less,” she said.
Gardner says her office has a 96 percent felony conviction rate. But her opponent, Mary Pat Carl is critical of Gardner's conviction rate for cases that actually go to trial. Earlier this year, News 4 obtained data from the Circuit Attorney's office showing trial convictions hovered around 50 percent.
“What about at trial. Would you like to see your conviction rate at trial cases that go before the jury, would you like to see that number improve?” asked News 4’s Chris Nagus. “First of all, I don't know what number you are talking about. You are talking about three percent of our total work, when you are talking about statistically sound and evidence based, we would never judge yourself by less than three percent of the work you do,” Gardner responded.
As Circuit Attorney, Gardner has been involved in high profile cases. A recent example is her decision to charge Mark and Patricia McCloskey. The couple's defense attorneys have accused Gardner of playing politics and have filed a motion to dismiss.
“First of all, it's an open investigation and we will be filing a response in the proper procedure, a court process. I won't comment on an open investigation or open case,” Gardner said.
She's also known for her decision to charge former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens with invasion of privacy. That case was ultimately dismissed.
“How do you feel your office performed during that investigation and do you have any regrets regarding that case?,” asked Nagus.
“What I regret is people never focused on the middle-aged hairdresser who was a victim in the case, who was credible. What people like to use is a powerful individual who happened to be a governor, who is no longer the Governor of Missouri. I did my job as prosecutor, where criminal activity took place, it was found to be credible. We will hold anyone to be accountable that breaks the law inside the city limits and that's my job. I have to make tough decisions,” Gardner says.
Gardner says one of the reasons murders aren't prosecuted is because many are unsolved, and those cases never make it to her desk. As for any regrets while in office, Gardner pointed to one.
“The only mistake I feel like I've made is to not speak up even louder for injustices we have in the criminal justice system,” Gardner says.
Gardner was also asked about the difference between her and Carl, she said:
“The biggest difference I have is experience in running this office. She has never led an office of any size. She's never managed any amount of individuals while in the office or outside the office to do this job... I'm the only candidate that has that experience.”