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St. Louis attorneys who pointed guns at protesters put on probation to keep law licenses

Mark and Patricia McCloskey are now facing felony charges for unlawful use of a weapon. Our legal roundtable will discuss the merits of the charge.
Bill Greenblatt
/
UPI
Mark and Patricia McCloskey will have to complete a year of probation to keep their law license after a Missouri Supreme Court order issued Tuesday. The sanctions stem from the 2020 incident shown here, when the couple pointed guns at police brutality protesters walking through their neighborhood.

Updated at 6 p.m., Feb. 8, with comments from Mark McCloskey

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the law licenses of two St. Louis lawyers who pointed guns at police brutality protesters, but paused the suspensions if they complete a year of probation.

As part of their probation, Mark and Patricia McCloskey will have to file a series of reports and perform 100 hours of pro bono legal service. They also must not violate any other rules of professional conduct.

The punishment is less than the state’s chief disciplinary counsel had sought. Alan Pratzel had asked the court for an indefinite suspension, without the right to apply to have the suspension lifted for six months.

Reached at the law firm he and his wife operate, McCloskey told KCUR radio he was disappointed the court disciplined them and may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

“I disagree with the (Missouri) Supreme Court that what we did on our front porch constituted a misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude,” McCloskey said. “I don't think we acted in moral turpitude at all.”

He added: “I will respectfully cooperate with and fully perform my probation.”

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner initially charged the couple with felonies in the incident, which happened in July 2020. The McCloskeys claimed they felt threatened by the protesters, who had entered a gated street while marching to the house of then-Mayor Lyda Krewson.

After their criminal defense attorneys got Gardner removed from the case, a special prosecutor eventually charged the McCloskeys with misdemeanors, to which they pleaded guilty in June 2021. Although they were pardoned by Gov. Mike Parson in August 2021, the state’s rules governing legal ethics say discipline can be issued for a guilty plea.

In documents filed in September asking for the couple to face sanctions, Pratzel, the chief disciplinary counsel, noted that a pardon erases the conviction but not the guilt.

Mark McCloskey is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Roy Blunt.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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