Mark and Patricia McCloskey may have gotten away with brandishing high-powered weapons at pedestrians back in 2020 and Mark may find a way to transform his 15 minutes of infamy into a Senate berth if he plays his cards right, but the one authority figure in Missouri that seems unimpressed with the McCloskeys is the keeper of professional responsibility.
Alan Pratzel, Missouri’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel, asked the state supreme court to suspend the McCloskeys’ law licenses, noting that the crimes — which the McCloskeys pleaded guilty to before receiving their pardons from the governor — involved an “indifference to public safety” and “moral turpitude.” Which is a polite way of saying — as The Dude put it — “yeah, waving the f**king gun around!”
And while their actions over the summer of 2020 probably amount to suspendable offenses, Pratzel’s filing zeroes in on one specific later action that slapped of professional responsibility problems at the time — McCloskey’s decision to troll prosecutors in a presser designed to pump up his credibility with voters immediately after his guilty plea. Per the Kansas City Star:
Pratzel wrote that the statements demonstrated disrespect for the judicial process.
“Minutes after admitting in court that his behavior was not legally justified in that setting, he told the news media that he would commit the same crime under the same circumstances.”
This seems far worse, as a professional responsibility matter, than anything the couple did with their arsenal. Back when McCloskey made those statements, we noted that this appeared to mock his own allocution and undermine the whole point of the criminal justice system:
Guilty pleas require, on some basic level, the defendant to admit that they committed a crime that they should not have. The government is skimping on the penalty in exchange for the defendants making a show of being appropriately chastened by the experience that they won’t show up in court again.
And you don’t get that sense when the defendant leaves the courthouse and declares, “If that’s a crime in Missouri, by God I did it, and I’d do it again.” Putting aside everything about the substance of the couple’s gunplay, these comments amount to a calculated assault on the legitimacy of the judicial system made for purely personal gain and the profession can’t countenance that behavior. If an officer of the court can’t be relied upon to respect the basic tenets of the oath they took when putting in the guilty plea, then they really can’t remain an officer of the court.
But, it’s Missouri so I assume they’ll give him a professional responsibility medal instead.
Missouri couple who pointed guns at BLM protesters face possible law license suspension [Washington Post]Mark McCloskey, gun-waving lawyer and MO Senate candidate, faces law license suspension [Kansas City Star]
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Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.