|Circuit Attorney of St. Louis|
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Jennifer Joyce|
|Missouri State Representative (77th)|
January 9, 2013 – January 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Eileen Grant McGeoghegan|
|Succeeded by||Steve Roberts|
|Education||Harris–Stowe State University (B.S., 1999)|
Saint Louis University (J.D., 2003; M.S., 2012)
|Known for||Reforms; prosecution of Eric Greitens|
Kimberly M. Gardner is the Circuit Attorney (chief prosecutor) for the City of St. Louis, Missouri. A reformist and of the Democratic Party, she is the first black person to head the Circuit Attorney's Office (CAO).
Gardner is from St. Louis. Her North City family runs a funeral home, at which she also worked. She earned a B.S. in healthcare administration from Harris–Stowe State University in 1999. She earned a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2003 and a M.S. in nursing from Saint Louis University (SLU) in 2012. Gardner worked at Bell, Kirksey & Associates and as an assistant prosecutor (St. Louis CAO, 2005-2010) prior to being elected as Circuit Attorney. From 2013 to 2017 she was a Missouri State Representative for District 77. Gardner ran against three major Democratic opponents to secure her post as Circuit Attorney (CA) in the 2016 elections, following the retirement of Jennifer Joyce. She ran on reforming and rebuilding trust in the criminal justice system, and reducing violent crime. She also promised to increase diversity, bring independent investigations of police use of force, work to reduce racial disparities, and enhance gun control.
Gardner took office on January 6, 2017.
Gardner continued the prosecution of former SLMPD police officer Jason Stockley for first degree murder in the shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a case first filed by her predecessor Jennifer Joyce. The acquittal in the bench trial in a controversial decision by Judge Timothy Wilson led to intense protests in the latter months of 2017. As CA, Gardner has reduced and removed or reduced amounts of cash bond for minor, nonviolent offenses. She is also expanding diversion and drug court programs, and consulting with the Vera Institute of Justice on these issues. She is ending prosecutions of low-level marijuana possession and is dismissing some cases. The CAO is sharing a federal grant to work with the Midwest Innocence Project on wrongful convictions. In the summer of the 2018, the existence of an "exclusion list" (similar to a "Brady list" in other jurisdictions) of 28 SLMPD officers whose conduct is considered so tainted by misconduct that the CAO would no longer accept testimony or evidence in court cases and would reconsider past cases. Fifty-five prosecutors and law enforcement officials from across the United States signed a statement supporting Gardner's Brady List. Gardner, in February 2019, announced that the CAO and police department are working together on problems stemming from the list. In January 2019, Gardner's office accused officers within SLMPD of obstructing their investigation in the shooting death of officer Katlyn Alix by officer Nathaniel R. Hendren, one of two officers charged with crimes relating to the incident, which resulted in a sharp rebuke by Chief John Hayden.
Gardner's office secured a grand jury indictment of sitting Missouri Governor Eric Greitens in February 2018, for felony invasion of privacy and other criminal charges. The governor was arrested and was swiftly released on his own recognizance. The case was eventually dropped, but it led to a chain of events in which the governor, also embroiled in other scandals, resigned less than 17 months after taking office. Then Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley had opportunity to prosecute but declined to do so.
Gardner has repeatedly been criticized and attacked by the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA), the bargaining unit for city police officers. The Ethical Society of Police (ESOP) has at times criticized but often defended or lauded actions taken by Gardner's office. Gardner has also been attacked by the right-wing locally and nationwide. Gardner paid fines for minor campaign finance violations resulting from a Missouri Ethics Commission complaint filed by a Republican.
- "Kimberly Gardner". Vote Smart. 2019 . Retrieved 2019-02-10.
- Currier, Joel (July 19, 2016). "St. Louis circuit attorney candidates seek to fight violent crime, restore public trust". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Jones, Mike (July 21, 2016). "Kimberly Gardner on why she is running for circuit attorney". St. Louis American.
- Lippmann, Rachel (July 15, 2016). "Six things to know about the candidates running to replace Circuit Attorney Joyce". St. Louis Public Radio.
- Lippmann, Rachel (January 30, 2019). "Gardner Pledges More Court Diversion, Less Cash Bail". St. Louis Public Radio.
- "St. Louis shows promise for bail reform". St. Louis American. December 13, 2018.
- Rice, Rachel (June 13, 2018). "St. Louis circuit attorney's office will dismiss some smaller marijuana possession cases". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Lippmann, Rachel (December 15, 2018). "Federal dollars will help St. Louis prosecutor look for wrongful convictions". St. Louis Public Radio.
- Salter, Jim (August 30, 2018). "St. Louis prosecutor lists 28 officers on 'exclusion list'". Associated Press (AP).
- Walker, Taylor (January 10, 2019). "55 Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Officials Sign Statement Supporting St. Louis' Prosecutor's "Brady List"". WitnessLA.
- Patrick, Robert (February 9, 2019). "St. Louis prosecutor announces changes in investigations of police shootings and 'exclusion list' officers". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Stack, Liam (January 30, 2019). "St. Louis Prosecutor Accuses Police of Obstructing Inquiry Into Killing of Officer". The New York Times.
- "Missouri Governor Eric Greitens charged over nude photo". BBC News. February 23, 2018.
- Suntrup, Jack; Kurt Erickson (May 30, 2018). "Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigns; prosecutor drops computer tampering charge". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Suntrup, Jack (January 3, 2019). "Gardner hit with fine by Missouri ethics officials, says GOP operative caused imbroglio". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "Editorial: Reform-minded prosecutors give St. Louis-area voters what they asked for". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. February 4, 2019.
- Patrick, Robert (January 30, 2019). "St. Louis prosecutor declining more cases and issuing fewer arrest warrants as part of reform efforts". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Jaco, Charles (January 10, 2019). "Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner". The Jaco Report.
- Wicentowski, Danny (March 1, 2017). "Kim Gardner Is St. Louis' First Black Circuit Attorney. That Matters — And She's Just Getting Started". Riverfront Times.