St. Louis lawyers who brandished guns at protesters can continue to practice law

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AP photo Mark and Patricia McCloskey

Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey stand in front their house confront protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house in the central west end of St. Louis in June 2020. Photo by Laurie Skrivan/The St. Louis Post-Dispatch via the Associated Press.

St. Louis lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey have received a stayed suspension of their law licenses for brandishing guns as protesters marched through their neighborhood in June 2020.

The Missouri Supreme Court ordered the stayed suspensions (here and here) Tuesday, report the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Associated Press and St. Louis Public Radio.

Further discipline could be imposed on Mark or Patricia McCloskey if they fail to stay out of disciplinary trouble during a probationary period of one year, according to terms and conditions (here and here). They will each have to submit quarterly reports and provide 100 hours of pro bono service.

The McCloskeys pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in June 2021 for waving their guns during the racial justice protest in June 2020. Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault, while Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to harassment. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson pardoned both lawyers in August 2021.

Missouri Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel had sought an indefinite suspension, with the ability to seek reinstatement after six months. Pratzel argued that the crimes showed indifference to public safety and involved moral turpitude.

Mark McCloskey told the Associated Press that he and his wife respect the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision, although they disagree.

“We will comply 100% with the orders,” he said.

But he plans to consult with his attorney about the possibility of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Mark McCloskey is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Last week, he testified in a support of a Missouri bill that would shift the burden of proof in self-defense cases, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch previously reported.

The bill would create pretrial immunity hearings in which a defendant can make a self-defense claim. The state would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant isn’t immune from prosecution. Currently, the defendant has the burden of raising and proving self-defense during trial.

One opponent has called the bill the “Make Murder Legal Act.”

See also: “Are lawyers who pointed guns at protesters protected by the castle doctrine?” “After lawyers charged for waving guns at protesters, Missouri attorney general plans to intervene” “How Black female prosecutors are challenging the status quo and fighting for reform” “Afternoon Briefs: Top DOJ officials backed family separations; judge forgives gunman who killed her son”

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