ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Governor Mike Parson wants lawmakers to allow the Missouri Attorney General’s office to handle murder cases in St. Louis if Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner hasn’t acted within 90-days. The governor says that of the city’s 160 murder cases only about 20-percent have resulted in charges.
“The proposal does not allow the Attorney General to supervise or replace the Circuit Attorney. The Attorney General will be able to prosecute cases only if 90 or more days have passed since a filing, since the murder was committed, the chief law enforcement officer makes the request of the attorney general and the Circut Attorney has not yet filed charges,” said Gov. Parson.
This call comes one week after Gardner won the democratic nomination for Circuit Attorney. Her office released this statement:
“I agree with Governor Parson that fighting violent crime, achieving justice for victims, and making our communities safer is a priority. However, it is clear that this legislation is not actually about addressing crime, instead it serves as a vehicle to interfere with the clear discretion of a democratically elected local prosecutor. This allows the Governor and his cronies to make a mockery of judicial checks and balances and demolishes any notion of a free and independent judicial system.
Furthermore, this bill does nothing to actually address the underlying issues that are driving violent crime. In fact, my office has an overall felony conviction rate of 97 percent. Unprosecuted crimes in our community come down to two variables – lack of evidence and lack of community trust with law enforcement. Solving crime will take all of us working together not divisive political maneuvers such as this that are designed to usurp the will of the people.”Statement from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner
This legislation is not actually about addressing crime, instead it serves as a vehicle to interfere with the clear discretion of a democratically elected local prosecutor.
State Representative Steve Roberts agrees with Gardner while attorney General Eric Schmitt disagrees.