She also noted that she was the first black constituency lawyer elected in Saint-Louis.
The audience often responded with applause and had the chance to interact with Gardner after the event. Gardner did not respond to questions from the media, however.
Gardner won the election twice promising to revolutionize the prosecution in St. Louis. But she struggled to keep staff and manage cases. In September, a Post-Dispatch article highlighted dozens of departures who left the office without key leaders and with far fewer experienced trial lawyers, resulting in unprepared lawyers, cases dismissed and scathing criticism. from the police, defense lawyers and victims.
The circuit lawyer announced the work of the office’s diversion program, led by attorney Jamie Myers, who has been in charge of the program for nearly three years. When asked what makes her most proud of the program, Myers pointed out Victor Ali, 71.
Ali is a diversion program educator. He spends time in St. Louis schools with the goal of keeping guns and drugs out of the hands of young people.
“I was a youngster before them,” said Ali, who was released from prison after serving 30 years of a natural life sentence. “I try to teach them to be better than me, because I know what to expect if they don’t get an education: it’s a cemetery or a prison cell.