St. Louis lawyers who brandished guns at passing protesters face possible license suspension
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.
Updated: Married St. Louis lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey face possible discipline for brandishing guns as protesters marched past their home in a gated neighborhood in June 2020.
Missouri Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel is asking the Missouri Supreme Court to suspend the McCloskeys’ law licenses indefinitely, with the ability to seek reinstatement after six months.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson pardoned the personal injury lawyers after their June misdemeanor pleas. In Missouri, Pratzel wrote, “a pardon obliterates a person’s conviction, but the person’s guilt remains.”
Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault, while Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. Pratzel said the crimes showed indifference to public safety and involved “moral turpitude.”
By pleading guilty, the lawyers admitted that they were not lawfully defending themselves, other people or their property, and their conduct wasn’t justified, Pratzel wrote.
Mark McCloskey is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. After the guilty plea, Pratzel said, Mark McCloskey made this statement to the media on the courthouse steps: “The prosecutor dropped every charge except for alleging that I purposely placed other people in imminent risk of physical injury; right, and I sure as heck did. That’s what the guns were there for, and I’d do it again any time the mob approaches me; I’ll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that’s what kept them from destroying my house and my family.”
In an interview over the next few days, Mark McCloskey said the $750 misdemeanor fine was a “nonevent” that involved “a little face-saving for the prosecution’s office.”
Pratzel argued that Mark McCloskey’s statements are an aggravating circumstance in the discipline case.
“Minutes after admitting in court that his behavior was not legally justified in that setting,” Pratzel wrote, “he told the news media that he would commit the same crime under the same circumstances.”
Pratzel said Mark McCloskey’s statements indicate a refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing and demonstrate a lack of respect for the judicial process.
In mitigation, the McCloskeys had no previous discipline and cooperated with disciplinary authorities, Pratzel wrote.
McCloskey said on the Fox Business program Mornings with Maria that the license suspension effort is from a “totally upside-down world.”
“To say that we engaged in moral turpitude when all we did was defend ourselves is totally insane,” he said.
He added that Pratzel is using a procedure that doesn’t give him and his wife an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing.
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Updated Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. to include comments from Mark McCloskey.