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St. Louis police ask judge to force city's top prosecutor to clear evidence shelves of drugs

SLMPD filed a petition in court asking a judge to force the CAO to review about 6,890 cases involving drugs and determine which drugs can be destroyed.

November 6, 2022

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wants the city's Circuit Attorney's Office to clear evidence shelves of drugs related to thousands of cases.

SLMPD filed a petition in court asking a judge to force the CAO to review about 6,890 cases involving drugs and determine which drugs can be destroyed.

Court documents showed Kim Gardner's office requested approximately four months to review the cases.

"Fentanyl, marijuana, heroin, cocaine. You know, these are serious drugs," said St. Louis Alderman and Public Safety Committee Chair Joe Vaccaro. "That could be real serious to the health of the people that work there in the crime lab. It would seem to me that if Kim Gardener is not moving these cases, they need to figure they're going to try these cases or not. If they're not, then you should destroy the drugs."

A spokesperson for the Circuit Attorney's Office sent News 4 a statement Friday, saying the office has not been given a reasonable timeframe to look through the substances that are related to open cases.

Unfortunately, the City of St. Louis City Counselor informed the Circuit Attorney, without affording a reasonable timeframe to properly forfeiture and/or disposal of controlled substances related to approximately 6,980 unreviewed police incident reports.

As the prosecuting agent of the State of Missouri within the City of St. Louis, the CAO has a duty to diligently cross-reference such reports against its own files to determine what evidence it agrees may be disposed and what evidence it still considers active and must therefore be kept under Missouri Law.

In a simple preliminary search, the CAO discovered a number [of] cases dependent on related evidence were considered open cases. In order for justice to be served, the CAO needs to ensure evidence necessary for cases that remain open or have a possibility of appeal is not destroyed.

City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney's OfficeThe petition from police mentions "approximately 6890 drug cases," not 6,980. A hearing for this case is set for Monday.

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