Judge rules Kim Gardner will go to trial on seven counts of neglect of her duties (Update)

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

In February there was a tragic story out of St. Louis. A teen named Janae Edmondson was downtown as part of a high school volleyball tournament that she was participating in. Afterwards she and her family were crossing the street when a car driven by 21-year-old Daniel Riley came speeding through town. Riley flipped the car and crushed Janae Edmondson’s legs. She survived but both of her legs had to be amputated.


At the time of the crash, driver Daniel Riley was out on bond for a robbery that took place in 2020 but he still hadn’t been tried. The really unbelievable part was that Riley had remained out on bond even though he’d violated the terms more than 50 times. The prosecutor’s office in this case was run by Kim Gardner. Her office immediately offered an excuse for why Riley hadn’t been tried in three years. But the first explanation offered turned out to be false.

Riley, 21, was out on bond for a 2020 robbery charge that was dismissed and re-filed last year. A spokesperson for Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner defended the office on Tuesday, saying the case was dropped and re-filed because the victim died before trial, throwing a wrench into prosecution. The spokesperson also said the final ruling on whether a suspect’s bond is revoked is in the hands of a judge.

But a judge’s order from the day the case was dropped shows the victim was alive and present for the hearing, and prosecutors weren’t ready to proceed. And court officials said they never knew Riley violated his bond, because prosecutors never filed a motion to revoke it.

Note that last sentence. The court claimed it knew nothing about the 50+ times Daniel Riley had violated the terms of his release because no one from Gardner’s office ever filed a motion to revoke it. In short, Gardner’s office didn’t seem to be aware of the facts of the case and also didn’t seem to be managing the suspect’s bond violations prior to the crash.


It was at that point that Missouri AG Andrew Bailey interceded and demanded Gardner’s resignation.

Gardner’s office issued a statement refusing to resign but, true to his word, at noon the next day AG Bailey announced he was filing a “quo warranto” petition arguing that Gardner was unfit for office. Then in March, AG Bailey added a bunch of counts to his lawsuit seeking Gardner’s ouster.

Missouri’s attorney general has added seven new claims to a lawsuit against St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner, including that she’s refused to review dozens of police use-of-force incidents and has created a “toxic office environment” where she yells at and fails to train subordinates.

The allegations were among 100 pages added Tuesday to the lawsuit, initially filed last month by Attorney General Andrew Bailey, contending Gardner should be removed from office. Bailey said a review of case files, budget documents, emails, reports and discussions with victims has bolstered his case that Gardner has failed as the city’s top prosecutor.

“Respondent has lost the trust of the people,” Bailey wrote in Tuesday’s amended filing. “She has sacrificed the safety of the city of St. Louis. She has squandered the goodwill of the courts through misdirection and incompetence. She has turned away grieving families while murderers walk free.”


Gardner has been fighting this ever since but today, a judge ruled that the majority of the case, seven of the 10 counts against her, will go to trial:

In his last act before granting Gardner’s request to switch judges, Judge John Torbitzky allowed seven of 10 allegations levied by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to proceed despite arguments from Gardner’s attorneys that there is no legal standing to seek her ouster.

If all of the allegations are found to be true, Torbitzky wrote, “the number of alleged incidents and cases impacted … gives rise to a reasonable inference that (Gardner) has failed to act contrary to a known duty.”…

Torbitzky also rejected blanket arguments from Gardner’s office that a 59-point subpoena from the attorney general’s office asking for information including emails, case records and complaints from victims should be thrown out because it’s “unduly burdensome” and compromises prosecutorial privilege.

Here’s a local news story about the case. This notes that Gardner hasn’t turned over a single document in the two months since this case started. As of today, she’ll have 30 days to turn over everything the AG requested. Below that is another clip about Janae Edmondson who was welcomed back to school last month after weeks of recovery.


Update: After weeks of recovery, Jenae Edmondson returned to her high school early last month.

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