“Like A Needle Pulling A Thread”: Kim Gardner Kicked Off McCloskey Case

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I have been skeptical in the past of the charges brought against Mark and Patricia McCloskey by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner given the countervailing rights of gun possession and home protection in Missouri. I felt that a case could be maintained as a charging matter but I still fail to see how such charges could be proven at trial or sustained on appeal.  Now, a court has removed Gardner as prosecutor for fundraising on the case.

The couple challenged Gardner’s participation after learning that she used the case to attract donors. It was a disturbing pitch for contributions since critics allege that Gardner dropped charges against the protesters and prosecuted the homeowner to curry favor with liberal voters and activists.

Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II ruled that Gardner had undermined the integrity of the case and left the appearance of having “initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes.” He wrote that “[l]ike a needle pulling thread, she links the defendant and his conduct to her critics. These emails are tailored to use the June 28 incident to solicit money by positioning her against defendant and her more vocal critics.”

The entire case seems to be now equal measures of law and politics.  Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has stated he would pardon the McCloskeys if they are ultimately convicted. Frankly, it would be useful to have the underlying issues resolved in the courts.

As discussed earlier, it is not unlawful to be outside of one’s home on your property with a lawful weapon. This is particularly an important defense for Mark McCloskey  if he is not shown pointing the weapon intentionally at any individual.  Indeed, we have seen the same type of weapon displayed in public in rallies (like those against the lock-down orders) and protests (like some in the “autonomous” zone in Seattle).  Existing footage shows Patricia McCloskey pointing the weapon.

However, a complicating factor is that Missouri is a state with a Castle Doctrine law and these guns were lawfully possessed.  The law states, in subsection 3,  that deadly force cannot be used unless “[s]uch force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual.” However, no lethal force was used here. It was threatened.

That raises two questions.  Is the law triggered by entry on the property as opposed to entry without the home?  Also, does the law implicitly support the show of force to deter entry.

Some have cited the 2016 case of State v. Whipple, which interpreted subsection 3 is not giving  “the occupier, owner, or lessee authority to stand his ground and use deadly force without having a reasonable belief that such force is necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force.” However, the McCloskeys are alleging that they were threatened directly, the protesters were already trespassing, and that the breaking of the gate constitutes a reasonable basis for their fear.

None of this excuses the display of weaponry in the case by the McCloskeys, but the ambiguity and conflicts between the applicable laws would have led many prosecutors to decline prosecution. The pursuit of felony (rather than misdemeanor) charges further fueled criticism that Gardner used the case for political purposes before her recent reelection.

The problem in the Gardner matter is recurring for both state prosecutors and judges who run for office. They appeal to voters based on their records but that can easily cross the line in the use of criminal cases for popular appeal. That is particularly the case with a pending case. Few prosecutors would have done what Gardner did in using a current case to raise money for herself in the election.

 

106 thoughts on ““Like A Needle Pulling A Thread”: Kim Gardner Kicked Off McCloskey Case”

  1. Let’s keep it simple. In this country you have a right to private property. If you are not allowed to protect your property from invasion the property is actually owned by the state. If you are not allowed to protect your life your life is owned by the state. No one will be exempt from the control. Those on the left and the right will be equally controlled. Wake up.

      1. You see the inequality of the billionaire and yourself. Let’s say hypothetically that you make $70,000 per year. The person making $20,000 per year sees can interpret the difference as inequality. The amount of money is not relevant. The danger at one time came from manufacturing magnates. The greatest danger today is coming from the media moguls. They can and will tell you what you can see and read and they will tell you how to think about it. Some billionaires create jobs. Some of today’s billionaires create ideas to effect public opinion. Which ones should you fear the most?

        1. Think it through. The difference is one of scale., yes?
          the scale between 20k and 200k is not a lot. The difference between 200K and 20 M is a lot but yet not so different.

          The difference up to 20 or 200 B, is a whole world of difference. Their personal wealth exceeds that of entire nations. They are not only in themselves quasi sovereign due to their immense power, they are actively seeking to undermine the system of national sovereignty as such. this is precisely the aim of globalism,

          The billionaires ownership and control of mass media and other social critical infrastructure gives them the power to dominate everything

          Saloth Sar

      2. You assiduously push nonviolent tax resistance as a remedy. Being a Southerner, I say; That dog won’t hunt. The US Constitution via Amendment # 16 allows for taxation of income from whatever source arrived. The last thing in your life, should be to never contend things that will have IRS encroaching into your life. Than can ruin your financial life. They have the Attorneys’, the Fed Marshalls with guns, prisons, etc. So the best way to remedy, is to vote people into office that have your political persuasions in those regards. Now, you, me, etc. we have 50+% of people voting in America now, for free-stuff, who are going to continue to vote these Democrat Socialists into office. If Biden-Harris go into office, the digression of America will accelerate exponentially with the Socialists disease.. Best prepare accordingly. The fat lady hasn’t sang yet.

    1. The case was political from day one. It was used to attack our second amendment rights. See! Look at these crazies with the guns. The story disappeared quickly because the leftist were the only ones aghast. Jump to the story. Find out that most Americans don’t Agee with your so enlightened narrative and drop the story. Here they go again clinging to their guns and their bibles. Such lost souls. Don’t worry, our evangelical efforts (the police and the courts) will bring them around to our way of thinking

  2. A few common threads that have emerged in the postings found here. If you criticize the thoughts of a women you are sexist. If you criticize the thoughts of a Jew you are anti-Semitic. If you criticize the thoughts of a black you are racist. These thoughts are displayed as sacrosanct. When you can’t defend your position you go to your fall back tactic of declaring bigotry. Weak thinkers. After all the “your do do” tactic worked in elementary school, why shouldn’t it work here.

    1. Thinkitthrough: “If you criticize the thoughts of a Jew you are anti-Semitic.” No. Think again. It’s NOT anti-Semitic to criticize the thoughts of a Jew; it’s anti-Semitic to point out that the thoughts you have criticized were thought BY a Jew. Can you see the difference?

  3. The Missouri Constitution has a problem with citizens brandishing weapons in public, and both of these people were doing so threatening Black people. Kim Gardner was doing her job, and Donald J. Trump has used various lies to be elected as an illegitimate president, so I am calling you out. You are a racist and a member of a cabal interested only in keeping power by character assassination. This country is more a dictatorship today than it was yesterday, Republicans are vile as are Democrats, and both are destroying the values of the US Constitution. Nobody wants to follow the rules, and you sit in a position that allows you to spew your toxic opinions about matters you believe attack white supremacy. GTFOH!!

    1. Exactly my point. A weak argument can only be supported by foul language and claims of white supremacy bigotry. Your most important end to reach is the accomplishment of the shaming. It’s the same racial bigotry by you or the Proud Boys with a different pair of paints.

    2. They were not out in public, They were on their own private property. Their gated property was broken into by a large group of people. The group of people were not invited into the property and this is trespassing. They have no legitimate reason to be on another’s property.

      You say nobody wants to follow the rules, yet not mention the trespassers are not following the rules. They should not follow the rules too?

      1. these people were all BLM, Antifa worshippers screaming cuss words and carrying weapons themselves…a bunch of thugs…this couple felt threatened and by the way did NOT fire one shot. Since when can you not protect yourself, your loved ones and your property from thugs.

      2. our rules. we call them laws.

        the billionaires do not follow our rules, and they have annointed certain groups like BLM antifa and Democrat leadership who also don’t have to follow our rules.

        guess what. the people can play at that game too. I say we don’t have to follow their stupid income tax laws and we should RESIST

        https://nwtrcc.org/PDFs/template_letter-to-IRS.pdf

        Saloth Sar

        1. some stupid person said Trump was impeached…true but not convicted…totally political and even Turley said before congress it was the lowest bar ever set for impeachment…what it means is every political person will be impeached along party lines totally political…remember Bill Clinton lied under oath…now you folks with kids, especially young ladies, try to explain to them that oral sex is not sex and Bill proved it in court!…come on you nut jobs from the left…would you leave a daughter under age with Bill Clinton ALONE!!! a known rapist and pedophile…!!!

    3. As of Jan 1, 2017 when facing a threat, in home, on property, or in public, they have the right to use deadly force in self-defense, or in defense of another innocent party. Stand your ground laws. How many BLM and ANTIFA protesters turned violent and destructive, and burning, destroying peoples property? America is now in the process of having no Rule of Law. The leaders of the Nation, States, Cities, etc., have the responsibility to defend and protect people and properties. They do not have the potentate ability (not yet-but will with Joe and Kam) to protect unlawful actions of assault and destruction. These Democratic mayors do not have authority to tell police to stand down in protecting the citizens and their properties. For these leaders to dismiss and not bring charges are Unconstitutional Federal and State. Donald Trump was elected legitimately via receiving more than the required electoral votes in 2016. It is yet to be determined who has done so in 2020 election. Inasmuch as DT as a candidate and as POTUSA was having a Coup attempted via obama and his admin, and he has never been conceded to as Pres by Libs. So to believe that Conservatives are now going to passively gather with Dems in Singing “KUM BY Ya” is a figment of you libs imagination. Donald Thump has been persecute, prosecuted, eviscerated, excoriated, and things illegal, for the last 5 years, and that is a huge problem. As for voter fraud, the fat lady has not sang or sung yet. So Dem Rep Cynthia what’s- her -name, she be gonna punish and destroy Trump supporters. Her class is about 15% of the US population.

    4. The comment says “brandishing their guns in public”. The street they live on is not a public street. It is owned and viewed as the private property if the homeowners on Portland Place. The gang broke through a locked gate. One of the gang held a weapon.
      I bet the city prosecutor has an armed guard at her office.

  4. Only Mr. McCloskey was holding an operable gun. Mrs. McCloskey was holding a gun that had been disabled.

    1. That does not matter. It is the appearance of the gun that is the problem. Nobody but her and her husband would know it did not work. If they really have broken laws, brandishing is still brandishing even if the weapons is inoperable.

  5. Why is it we tolerate egregious behavior from left wingnuts.

    Sorry Prof. Turley – absent evidence I have not seen this case never should have been charged.

    Further Gardner should be prosecuted for abuse of power.

    The political use of prosecutorial power is criminal.

    The left impeached trump on a far weaker claim -for actions where the FBI WAS actually investigating Hunter Biden FOR CAUSE.

    1. You want to talk about egregious behavior from wing nuts? What about Rush Limbaugh championing sedition, saying Trumpsters cannot live with the majority of Americans? This clown was awarded the Presidential Medial of Freedom by a similarly clownish phony POTUS, who’s now handing out pardons like Christmas cards.

      “The Left” didn’t impeach Trump, the House of Representatives did, and it was for valid cause–he did try to leverage aid to Ukraine in exchange for cooking up fake evidence against Joe Biden. 48 U.S. Senators voted to remove his fat ass from office. And, he was legally and overwhelmingly voted out of office.

      1. No. He didn’t advocate sedition. He said that there were some people talking about secession but said he was against that. It’s really high time you pulled your head out of Rachel Maddow’s rear end.

      2. @ Natacha – When in doubt, always fall back on the four D’s: Deny, Deflect, Dissemble, Democrat. Works every time.

      3. When Trump was elected the left cried out Resistance!! Where were your lamentations about sedition then. Hard to believe you write with a straight face.

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