Update: Gardner won’t be held in contempt, judge rules

ST. LOUIS – Embattled St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is slated to appear in court Monday morning to explain why she should not be held in indirect criminal contempt of court. This latest legal trouble for Gardner comes after one of her prosecutors didn’t show up for the first day of a murder trial that was supposed to start one week ago.

The trial is now on hold and the case could be dismissed. Monday morning’s hearing is set for 9:00 a.m. before judge Scott Millikan inside the Civil Courts building.

In his order for Gardner to show cause for why she should not be held in contempt of court, judge Millikan said that the conduct of the circuit attorney’s office in this case “thwarts and defeats the authority of the circuit court of the city of St. Louis.”

Gardner responded this past Friday, blaming her assistant circuit attorney assigned to the case, Alex Polta. Gardner’s filing shared that Polta had told an official in the Circuit Attorney’s Office that he was going on vacation for a month and that he failed to notify her office that the murder trial was scheduled to start last Monday. Gardner arguing that since she herself was not prosecuting the case, she should not be held in contempt.

The case involves a murder that happened on Washington Avenue near the Arch grounds in September 2021.

Jonathon Jones is facing first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges for shooting and killing 29-year-old Brandon Scott. Scott was found dead inside a vehicle.

This is the latest controversy surrounding Gardner. Her office has been has faced criticism for years for organizational dysfunction and understaffing. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is currently trying to have her removed from office.