ST. LOUIS – As challenges mount for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, FOX 2 has learned that she is enrolled in a nursing program at St. Louis University.
Gardner faces legal battles through quo warranto and indirect criminal contempt cases, along with a growing number of prosecutors resigning from her office. It’s a situation some in court proceedings have dubbed a “rudderless ship of chaos.”
FOX 2 learned that Gardner, while serving as circuit attorney, enrolled in courses at Saint Louis University. It’s unclear when exactly she began enrolling in these courses, though it came sometime since she became the circuit attorney.
At a news conference Wednesday, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said his office received information weeks ago that Gardner was taking classes at SLU, and has since issued several subpoenas to the school. Bailey is requesting the university turn over documents relating to Gardner’s class schedule, her hours and participation in class, hours she may have worked at the school, surveillance camera footage, and relevant conversation between the circuit attorney and her instructors at SLU.
The attorney general cited Missouri statute 56.445, which requires the circuit attorney and their assistants “devote their entire time and energy to the discharge of their official duties.”
“Obtaining a nursing degree is not one of her official duties. Prosecuting criminals is,” Bailey said. “Yet, she has consistently failed to charge new cases, inform and confer with victims, and move the cases she does charge to disposition.”
Bailey claimed Gardner’s refusal to step down puts lives and property in the City of St. Louis at risk.
“The criminal justice system in the City of St. Louis has ceased to function,” he said. “And people are suffering from her unlawful refusal to do her job.”
The Circuit Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“Circuit Attorney Gardner believes the issues in our criminal justice system often relate to our broken healthcare system. After serving as a line attorney at the Circuit Attorney’s Office and seeing firsthand the underlying issues that drive crime, she became a Registered Nurse. She continues to stay current with classes at Saint Louis University to add to her training and advance her mission at the CAO. The Circuit Attorney has done this at great personal cost to her time with her family and loved ones. Any suggestion that she is not fully committed to her duties as Circuit Attorney is blatantly false.”
Also Wednesday, the Missouri Supreme Court appointed a new judge to oversee Bailey’s lawsuit against Gardner. The circuit attorney had asked for another judge to hear the case. Judge John Torbitzky granted that request and stepped down. Judge Thomas Chapman of the Missouri Court of Appeals will take his place.