Missouri Attorney General releases report detailing Kimberly Gardner’s removal from office

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner attends her disciplinary hearing (Pool photo via T.L. Witt)

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey released the Kim Gardner Report, which details his successful petition in quo warranto that ousted Kimberly Gardner from office in May after she failed to prosecute violent crime in the City of St. Louis for several years.

“Kim Gardner hit the eject button and resigned as Circuit Attorney when it became clear that our lawsuit to remove her from office for her refusal to do her job was going to be successful,” said Attorney General Bailey. “My office published the Gardner Report to put into the public domain what went wrong here, how it happened, and what systems need to be put in place to prevent it from ever happening in the future.”

In the Gardner Report, Attorney General Bailey lists several recommendations and takeaways from his lawsuit against the Circuit Attorney, including:

  1. Ms. Gardner’s delay tactics threatened to defeat the purpose of the writ and left many unanswered questions.
  2. Missouri statutes do not protect the public against usurpers who may seek public office again in the future.
  3. Ms. Gardner’s pursuit of an advanced nursing degree while holding the Office of the Circuit Attorney demonstrated a lack of accountability under the law.
  4. The Office of the Circuit Attorney is a law enforcement agency first, and it must be primarily concerned with preserving public safety.
  5. Ms. Gardner failed to effectively manage staffing in her office and she failed to provide adequate training for her staff.
  6. Section 595.209 does not extend the victim’s rights to post-conviction relief proceedings.

The Gardner Report lays out a timeline of the quo warranto process, as well as the actions taken by the Attorney General’s Office to restore order to the City of St. Louis once she resigned. It points out how, beginning on May 16th (the day Ms. Gardner resigned from her office) until the appointment of a new Circuit Attorney, assistant attorneys general began stabilizing the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

Assistant attorneys general assisted including, but not limited to:

  • Meeting with assistant circuit attorneys to review their pending cases set for trial and offering to provide trial support and legal strategy;
  • Re-opening the warrant office to in-person warrant applications on in-custody offenders and serious cases;
  • Attending homicide crime scenes when requested by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department;
  • Authorizing the issuance of recommendations, plea deals, and plea offers;
  • Providing training and assistance in staffing Division 16B, the in-custody bond hearings;
  • Attending dockets to ensure that no court appearances were missed;
  • Meeting with judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit to obtain feedback and information about how to best support the functioning of the circuit;
  • Meeting with members of the Circuit Attorney’s Office staff who requested meetings to provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve the office;
  • Processing discovery for immediate disclosure to criminal defendants;
  • Conducting preliminary hearings in associate circuit court;
  • Identifying action items and key areas of concern for the future administration; and
  • Meeting with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department staff to identify areas where cooperation can be improved.

In addition, the Gardner Report reveals never-before-released information learned from the victims, assistant circuit attorneys, and judges that the Attorney General’s Office interviewed throughout the discovery process.

“The public is entitled to know the mistakes that Kim Gardner made, especially after she tried to deprive the public of access to information by resigning a mere two hours before the Court could order disclosure of several records,” said Attorney General Bailey.

The full report can be viewed here.

(Pool photo via T.L. Witt)