On August 2nd, St. Louis will elect a new Circuit Attorney, to succeed Jennifer Joyce, who has served in the office for 16 years. The Circuit Attorney is the City’s head prosecutor for serious crimes.
Four candidates are running. They all have careers dedicated to public service and each has their strengths. This endorsement isn’t meant to take anything away from any of them. From my perspective, Mary Pat Carl is the best choice for the office.
Prosecutor is perhaps the most difficult job in local government. The office interacts with both perpetrators and victims of the most violent crimes. The stakes are high for both. The City's top prosecutor needs a deep ethical commitment to using the power of the office fairly, which I know she has.
The City’s Circuit Attorney needs to be able to recruit, retain, and manage a quality team of attorneys to prosecute violent offenders while helping victims and their families seek a degree of justice after a crime. The CA also needs to be able to communicate with the public about what the office does and why it can or can’t prosecute a case.
Mary Pat Carl simply has, by far, the most prosecutorial experience of any candidate in the race. She’s prosecuted more cases, including homicides and crimes against children, than the other candidates. She’s been involved with more families of victims, and more witnesses to violent crimes. She’s also managed other prosecutors, a key component of the job, which the other candidates haven’t done. I’ve seen her at work, and I can testify that she does a good job.
Earlier this year, she was the lead prosecutor in the homicide of Scott Knopfel, a Clifton Heights resident. Beyond the courtroom, she was a resource to his family and professional when dealing with the media. Those are key components to the role of Circuit Attorney.
Sadly, St. Louis is in the midst of an increase in violent crimes. Its a difficult time to be a prosecutor. The challenge of finding willing witnesses, and sometimes, keeping them safe, is of paramount importance to being able to prosecute people who maim and kill others in our city. Ms. Carl instituted homicide prosecutors responding to the scene after a murder, in an effort to reach witnesses that may not be willing to speak to the police. I know she takes seriously the idea that we need to do much more to help witnesses interact with both the police and the prosecutor's office. If she is Circuit Attorney, I know we’ll see more efforts to make the office more visible and accessible within the community.
People I know who’ve worked closely with her over the years tell me she’s ready for the job on day one. I agree. I’ll be voting for her on August 2nd.