Criminal prosecutions have more than doubled in St. Louis since the city’s progressive prosecutor resigned under fire, a newspaper analysis found.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore filed more than 1,400 case over the three-period that started with his May 31 swearing-in. That compares to 620 cases filed over the same period when Kim Gardner led the office.
Gardner, a Democrat, was elected in 2016 to become the city’s first Black circuit attorney. She was part of a movement of prosecutors who sought diversion to mental health or drug abuse treatment for low-level crimes, pledged to hold police more accountable, and proactively sought to free inmates who were wrongfully convicted.
But she announced in May that she would resign as she faced an ouster effort by Missouri’s attorney general and scrutiny from Republican state lawmakers.
Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson picked Gore, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to replace her. Since then, he’s tackled a backlog of 4,500 pending charge applications, hiring more than 20 attorneys to help. But the office still is understaffed because the number of attorneys in the office fell be half during Gardner’s tenure.
“I don’t think there’s any magic to what we’re doing,” Gore said. “We are just charging the violations of law.”
Many of the cases left to be charged are complex cases, including five homicides, that require updated investigations. The goal, Gore said, is to clear the backlog by the beginning of 2024.