Parson’s search for new circuit attorney underway

Parson’s search for new circuit attorney underway

BY JACK SUNTRUP
St. Louis PostDispatch

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson and his team on Friday were laying the groundwork for appointing a new St. Louis circuit attorney.

“He does not have a list right now,” Kelli Jones, spokeswoman for the Republican governor, told the Post-Dispatch less than a day after Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner submitted her resignation, effective June 1.

“We have not begun any sort of interviewing process for the actual appointment,” Jones said.

Parson on Thursday said his team was committed to appointing someone “who represents the community, values ​​public safety, and can help restore faith in the city’s criminal justice system.” Jones said Friday no decision has been made on whether to appoint a Democrat or Republican for the post in the heavily Democratic city.

“We’re looking for the best candidate for the job,” Jones said.

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The person chosen would be able to serve until Jan. 1, 2025. They could run for a full term in the August 2024 primary and November 2024 general election.

Jones said the governor’s office will be assessing the circuit attorney’s office in terms of total cases, staffing and other issues.

She said the office is contacting leaders in St. Louis to understand what can be done to stabilize the region.

“Whoever is appointed to that position is going to have to have a good understanding of what he or she has ahead of them,” Jones said.

She said more prosecutors for the office will be necessary.

Jones said the state would want to “at least provide resources or assistance to help that particular person be successful.”

In 1992, then-Gov. John Ashcroft, a Republican, appointed Richard L. Swatek to replace St. Louis Circuit Attorney George Peach, a Democrat who resigned amid an investigation into allegations he had misappropriated public money. At the time, Swatek already was the Republican candidate for circuit attorney; he was defeated two months after his appointment by Democrat Dee Joyce-Hayes.

Jack Suntrup• 573-556-6186 @JackSuntrup on Twitter [email protected]

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