[St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner\Criminal Justice Reform]
MCBA: “MCBA has observed that because of her efforts to transform the criminal justice system and restore community trust and accountability, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has suffered unprecedented attacks.”
Tuesday, the Mound City Bar Association released a statement supporting St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner–who has been targeted, by the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, among others, because of her criminal justice reform agenda. Allegedly, these “peace officers” said Gardner must be removed “by force or by choice.”
Here is the Mound City Bar Association statement:
Mound City Bar Association (“MCBA”) recognizes the enduring vitality of truth. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Our communities are safer when the justice system is fair for all people regardless of income or race. Prosecutors are elected to uphold the values of their communities, including safety and fairness. The citizens of St. Louis duly elected Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner to rebuild trust in the criminal justice system. As the oldest African-American Bar Association west of the Mississippi River, MCBA stands with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner in her efforts to reform the criminal justice system in the City of St. Louis.
Equally important, MCBA rejects all anti-reform efforts intended to defy the will of the people.
MCBA has observed that because of her efforts to transform the criminal justice system and restore community trust and accountability, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has suffered unprecedented attacks including, but not limited to, (1) the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association’s call for the first African-American Circuit Attorney’s removal from office “by force or by choice”, (2) the city police department’s successful request for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the city’s chief law enforcement officer, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, and (3) although no crime has been charged against the Circuit Attorney, the circuit court has ordered city taxpayers to pay the Special Prosecutor investigating the Circuit Attorney more than twice the amount of the Circuit Attorney’s annual salary.
MCBA must repudiate the implicit bias and attacks that have been, heretofore, left unchecked.
Kimberly Gardner is a reform-minded prosecutor and MCBA supports her reform efforts. More specifically, MCBA supports the implementation of drug and mental health diversion programs; efforts to break the school-to-prison pipeline; removal of the barriers to full employment by closing cases previously labeled “Taken Under Advisement”; implementation of a conviction integrity unit; strengthening of victim and witness protection services unit; implementation of implicit bias training; and careful review of police shootings.
MCBA supports these reforms because they work to restore faith in our criminal justice system. MCBA supports a safer and fairer City of St. Louis for all.
ABOUT MOUND CITY BAR ASSOCIATION
Mound City Bar Association is the oldest African-American bar association west of the Mississippi River. It was organized as the St. Louis Negro Bar Association on January 7, 1922, at a time when black lawyers were not allowed to join the all-white St. Louis Bar Association. Mound City Bar Association is a 501(c)(6) organization comprised of lawyers, judges, paralegals, and law students who advance the legal profession through active community participation, real mentoring, and offering professional development opportunities to our members. We are an affiliate, partner, and active participant of the National Bar Association.