Federal prosecutors team up with St. Louis circuit attorney to tackle backlog of criminal cases
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabriel Gore at a press conference May 19. Gore has pledged to hire more attorneys and address the criminal case backlog in St. Louis. Photo by David Carson/The St. Louis Post-Dispatch via the Associated Press.
The U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Missouri has forged a new partnership with the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office, sending in at least eight federal prosecutors to help deal with its backlog of criminal cases.
U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team of volunteers from her office will appear in at least 20 homicide cases. They will work alongside city prosecutors and help review other pending charges to determine whether cases can be quickly resolved or dismissed.
“Somebody has to prosecute these cases,” Fleming told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And if the most efficient way is for us to go over there and help until they’re up and running, we’re happy to do that.”
Gabriel Gore, who became the St. Louis circuit attorney in May, has pledged to hire more attorneys and address the case backlog. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his predecessor Kimberly Gardner faced ongoing criticism for understaffing and dysfunction in the office.
The group of eight federal prosecutors include former city prosecutors who worked during Gardner’s administration, according to KSDK. Some of the federal prosecutors also previously worked in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office.
KSDK reports that the agreement is the first of its kind in St. Louis.
“The extraordinary experience of these prosecutors will serve the city of St. Louis in new and unprecedented ways,” Gore said in a statement published by KSDK.
Gore’s office announced the partnership on Twitter in June, saying the federal prosecutors will be cross-designated to work in both offices. He also wrote that the addition of the attorneys will increase “our capacity to handle our most serious cases.”