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St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorney Quits After Someone Used Her E-Signature On More Than 20 Cases While She Was On Maternity Leave

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis homicide prosecutor whose maternity leave was blamed for the dismissal of a murder charge quit her job on Tuesday after learning someone signed her name to documents tied to nearly two dozen cases while she was out of the office.

Now-former St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorney Kim Arshi went on a three-month maternity leave on May 10, KSDK reported.

Seven days later, she was assigned as prosecutor of a murder case against 30-year-old Brian Campbell, a six-time felon who allegedly shot his friend, Randy Moore, during an argument over a girl on April 9, 2020, according to KSDK.

Campbell’s defense attorney and St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Jason Sengheiser said they were unable to get any cooperation from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office in Campbell’s case over the months that followed.

The defense attorney said she reached out to Gardner directly to find out who she should talk to about the case, but she was ignored.

Sengheiser went so far as to order someone from the circuit attorney’s office to attend Campbell’s hearing in June, but no one showed.

In fact, Gardner’s office failed to attend three hearings pertaining to Campbell’s case.

“In a case like this where the Circuit Attorney’s Office has essentially abandoned its duty to prosecute those it charges with crimes, the court must impartially enforce the law and any resultant threat to public safety is the responsibility of the Circuit Attorney’s Office,” Sengheiser said on July 16 as he dismissed the murder charge against Campbell and allowed him to walk free.

Although the accused killer had already been released from jail, Gardner released a statement claiming he was still in custody and that her office had re-filed charges, KSDK reported.

“Be assured that as the Circuit Attorney of the City of St. Louis, I am accountable to the public for the actions of the office and remain committed as ever to upholding the highest possible standards and practices of accountability at all levels of this office, particularly the public safety of the residents of the City of St. Louis. As a result, the individual in this case is [in] custody,” she declared.

Gardner released a follow-up statement on Tuesday night confirming Campbell was actually on the loose.

She further claimed her office has been keeping the family of the victim, 30-year-old Randy Moore, informed about the status of the case – a claim Moore’s family denies, according to KSDK.

But the Moore family said that up until Tuesday night, when Gardner’s office called the victim’s family to say they had made a mistake in the case, the only updates they had received came from homicide detectives and the media.

In addition to falsely claiming Campbell was still in jail despite the dismissal, Gardner further tried to blame the situation on Arshi’s maternity leave.

“Upon review of our internal policies and procedures regarding Family Medical Leave, we have determined that corrective measures are needed to further prevent any future repeat occurrence of the incident in question,” Gardner said in a statement to KSDK.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Arshi’s electronic signature was used liberally on documents pertaining to at least 20 cases while she was on maternity leave, KSDK reported.

The assistant prosecutor’s workload included some of the highest-profile felony cases in St. Louis, at least 30 of which were assigned after her maternity leave had begun, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

They included a death penalty case, over a dozen murders, and multiple robberies and assaults, court documents show.

Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, according KSDK.

Arshi declined to give a statement, KSDK reported.

She had been with the Circuit Attorney’s office since 2017.

Arshi is just one of more than 90 prosecutors who have quit their jobs since Gardner became their boss in 2017, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Some said they left for better employment opportunities, while others said they were unwilling to work in the dysfunctional office Gardner has created, according to the paper.

Police are now searching for Campbell so he can be arrested for murder yet again.

Moore’s family said they were stunned when they originally learned Campbell was the prime suspect in Moore’s murder.

“It was devastating because I’m like ‘We grew up together, he used to come over our house, sit on our porch, eat our food,’ you know, just a childhood friend,” the victim’s sister, Brandy Veasley, told KSDK. “It was devastating to find out that it was him.”

He was indicted in February and immediately fled to Texas, where he was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to the dismissal order, Campbell’s public defender repeatedly asked Gardner’s office for the evidence against her client, KSDK reported.

A prosecutor handed over a portion of the evidence in April, but then quit working for Gardner’s office.

The public defender filed a motion May 17 asking Gardner’s office to hand over the evidence and urging the judge to sanction the prosecutor’s office if it failed to comply, KSDK reported.

Gardner’s office assigned Arshi to the case the same day as the defense motion, but she was already out on a three-month maternity leave at the time, Sengheiser wrote.

“In the Court’s view, someone from the Circuit Attorney’s Office must be assigned while she is on leave to deal with issues like the ones present here,” the judge said. “Otherwise, she is not really on leave.”

Gardner’s office failed to show up for a hearing in Campbell’s case on May 27, KSDK reported.

The following day, Campbell’s lawyer sent an email directly to Gardner asking her who she should contact regarding the murder case since the attorney assigned was still on maternity leave.

Gardner never responded.

The defense attorney provided a copy of the email to Sengheiser, KSDK reported.

On June 4, the judge issued an order directing someone from Gardner’s office to show up for a June 15 hearing on the case, but the prosecutor’s office ignored it.

Sengheiser subsequently granted defense’s motion to compel Gardner’s office to hand over all evidence in the case against Campbell, but that order was also ignored, according to the judge.

Campbell’s lawyer ultimately filed a motion asking Sengheiser to dismiss the case due to “willful violations of the rules of discovery,” KSDK reported.

The judge ordered on July 6 that Gardner’s office needed to appear on July 12 to show cause as to why the murder charge against Campbell should not be dismissed and had a deputy deliver the order directly to Gardner’s office, according to the news outlet.

No one from the prosecutor’s office showed up for that hearing, either.

Sengheiser subsequently dismissed the charge against Campbell and he was released from custody, KSDK reported.

Veasley said the refiling of charges is little consolation, especially considering it just starts the same process “all over again.”

“That’s stressful because he can go out of town. He can hide. Y’all have to find him,” she told KSDK. “It ain’t like he’s going to turn himself in.”

“Kim Gardner is a poor excuse for a prosecutor. It’s not fair,” Veasley told KSDK. “I know she tried to give the black people chances, but on a murder? No. No.”

According to the National Center for State Courts, approximately one-third of the felony cases filed in St. Louis Circuit Court wind up getting dismissed – a figure that is nearly double the dismissal rate in surrounding jurisdictions, KSDK reported.

The dismissal rate in the 22nd Judicial Circuit has doubled in the five years Gardner has been in office, according to the news outlet.

Campbell’s case was one of three murder cases to be dismissed in St. Louis in a single week, KMOV reported.

Gardner’s office dismissed charges against Terrion Phillips, who was slated to go to trial this week.

Charges were refiled immediately after the dismissal, KMOV reported.

Gardner’s office also dropped murder charges against 31-year-old Gregory Seddens, who was also scheduled to go to trial this week, according to KMOV.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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