Embattled Soros-Backed St. Louis Prosecutor Sanctioned By Judge Amid New Complaints
A St. Louis judge sanctioned St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office last week for allegedly withholding evidence in a double-murder case, while allowing the suspect out on bond, amid rising criticism about left-wing prosecutors allowing crime to flourish in major U.S. cities.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner appears at her disciplinary hearing in St. Louis, Mo., on April 11, 2022. (T.L. Witt/Pool via Missouri Lawyers Media/AP Photo)
Alex Heflin, 23, was held without bond since January after he was initially charged with two counts of second-degree murder and armed criminal action, local media reported. But those charges were recently reduced to involuntary and voluntary manslaughter before he was released, while his April 17 trial has been postponed until June 12.
Judge Theresa Counts Burke ruled in favor of Heflin’s lawyers after they filed a motion accusing a prosecutor under Gardner of violating discovery rules. They alleged that her office did not turn over evidence, including a 911 call recording and DNA evidence.
“The court finds that there have been repeated delays by the state in obtaining discovery and providing it to the defense,” Burke wrote, according to local reports.
“There has been a lack of diligence on the part of the state in following up and providing discovery to the defendant in a timely fashion. As a result of the state’s actions and lack of diligence, the court grants defendant’s second motion for sanctions.”
Under Burke’s order, Heflin will have to remain on GPS monitoring. She also ordered the circuit attorney’s office to hand over their list of witnesses within 24 hours, provide DNA test results within 24 hours, or ask a crime lab for the DNA results.
The Epoch Times has contacted Gardner’s office for comment.
In a statement, Gardner said that it is working with police “to bring justice on behalf of the people of the City of St. Louis, victims, and their families.” It added that her office “is dedicated to doing everything in its power to hold the defendant accountable … and will continue to work to ensure justice is served.
While the St. Louis Police Department did not comment on the case and said it is working with Garnder’s office, the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association accused Gardner of misconduct.
“The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association would like to address the unfounded claims made against our members in a recent news article concerning State vs. Heflin. Kim Gardner’s office has once again failed to accept responsibility for the mistakes made within her office and chose instead to blame the hard-working men and women of the St. Louis Police Department,” the statement said.
“These repeated problems are due to the incompetence of the Circuit Attorney’s office, not from the actions of police officers.”
The union added that “in this case, all the evidence had been turned over to the Circuit Attorney’s office for nearly a year prior to trial. Police officers shouldn’t be made scapegoats for an overworked, backlogged, and mismanaged Circuit Attorney’s Office.”
It comes days after Gardner, a Democrat, said she will run for reelection in 2024 – even as she tries to fend off an effort by Missouri’s attorney general to force her out of office. Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey in February filed a lawsuit asking a judge to remove Gardner from office, accusing her of incompetence.
Bailey cited a low rate of convictions in homicide cases, accused Gardner of failing to keep crime victims and their families updated, and said her office is too slow to take up cases brought by police.
Gardner, 47, was elected in 2016 and reelected in 2020. She is among several left-wing Democratic prosecutors across the country who have taken steps such as ending the prosecution of certain crimes and seeking mental health treatment over incarceration for non-violent criminals.
Republicans have accused her of receiving money from groups tied to left-wing billionaire financier George Soros, who was accused of providing funding to left-wing groups during the Black Lives Matter-related unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, nearly 10 years ago. In 2016, she received campaign funding from Soros’s Safety and Justice Committee, according to the Missouri Times, while in 2017, she worked with The Vera Institute of Justice, which itself received $11 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations, it was reported.
Soros has been accused of providing funding to other left-wing district attorneys, which was highlighted by tech billionaire Elon Musk last month.
“Soros figured out a clever arbitrage opportunity: The many small political contests, such as DAs & judges, have much higher impact per dollar spent than the big races, so it is far easier to sway the outcome,” he wrote in response to claims that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg received Soros cash.
In 2018, the Supreme Court of Missouri ordered Gardner to be disciplined for misconduct in the 2018 prosecution of then-Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican.
Sun, 04/09/2023 – 20:00