Midwest Innocence Project | St. Louis Public Radio

Midwest Innocence Project

Jamala Rogers, far left, the executive director of the Organization for Black Struggle, helps deliver petitions supporting a new trial for Lamar Johnson to Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Dec. 10, 2019.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Dec. 11 with oral arguments

The ability of prosecutors in Missouri to undo wrongful convictions they discover is in the hands of a state appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the Eastern District of Missouri heard oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Lamar Johnson. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner asked for a new trial in his case in July, saying her Conviction Integrity Unit found pervasive police and prosecutor misconduct in his 1995 murder conviction.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner details her hopes for St. Louis after taking the oath of office on Jan. 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis judge has ruled that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner does not have the authority to ask for a new trial in the case of a man Gardner says was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Judge Elizabeth Hogan’s opinion, issued Friday, also says Gardner’s request in the case of Lamar Johnson was filed well beyond deadlines outlined in court rules and decisions. 

A spokeswoman said Gardner will appeal the ruling, and had no further comment.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis prosecutor is defending her authority to ask for a new trial for a man she says was wrongfully convicted of murder and armed criminal action 24 years ago.

Kim Gardner last month filed a motion for a new trial in the case of Lamar Johnson. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1995 for shooting and killing Marcus Boyd — a conviction that Gardner’s office argued was tainted by police and prosecutorial misconduct.

James Cridland via Flickr

The City of St. Louis has received federal funding to review cases where the wrong person may be in prison.

Circuit attorney Kim Gardner and the Midwest Innocence Project will share $250,000 to establish a conviction integrity unit. The money will pay for the cost of an attorney in the prosecutor’s office who will be dedicated to handling the cases, and an investigator shared by the circuit attorney and the Innocence Project.