I am a supporter of Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner. As a former criminal trial attorney with the Public Defender’s Office I appreciate her commitment to being the type of circuit attorney our professional standards mandates.
Circuit Attorney Gardner is working to expand the traditional role of the prosecutor and utilize a broader set of tools with law enforcement, community, judges and social service stakeholders to find innovative solutions to address violent and serious crimes. She is also committed to finding opportunities to help at-risk young people become productive members of our community and avoid being drawn into the life of crime. Gardner is committed to engaging citizens throughout the community in a criminal justice system that promotes trust, accountability and transparency.
The American Bar Association (ABA) is a national legal organization founded in 1878, with over 400,000 members. It publishes “Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function,” a guidance for the professional conduct and performance of prosecutors, and these standards are intended to be consistent with the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
According to the ABA, the prosecutor is an administrator of justice, a zealous advocate, and an office of the court. The primary duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice within the bounds of the law, not merely to convict. The prosecutor should be knowledgeable about, and consider, and where appropriate develop or assist in developing alternatives to prosecution or conviction that may be applicable in individual cases or classes of case. The prosecutor should seek to reform and improve the administration of criminal justice, and when inadequacies or injustices in the substantive or procedural law come to the prosecutor’s attention, the prosecutor should stimulate and support efforts for remedial action.
This is exactly what Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been attempting to do, and some of the many reasons I support her.
Sharon Tyus is alderwoman of St. Louis’ 1st Ward.