The married Missouri lawyers who flashed their guns as a crowd of Black Lives Matter protestors entered their gated neighborhood have had their law licenses placed on a year-long probation.
Mark McCloskey (R) and his wife Patricia McCloskey made headlines in June 2020 when they stood in front of their home, both armed and waving weapons as racial justice demonstrators walked by their house on their way to protest at the house of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson (D), who lived in the same gated community as the McCloskeys.
The video went viral, and the McCloskeys, both attorneys, were subsequently charged with two felonies each: one charge of unlawful use of a weapon and one charge of tampering with physical evidence. They pleaded guilty in July — Mark to fourth-degree assault and Patricia to second-degree harassment, both misdemeanors. Republican Gov. Mike Parson (R) pardoned both of them in August.
In September, the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Chief Disciplinary Officer said that the pardon has “no impact” on any possible professional consequences, which would be examined as a separate matter.
Those consequences, however, appear to be minor, at best.
In an order issued Tuesday, Missouri Chief Justice Paul Wilson said that Patricia and Mark “committed a misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude.” Under Missouri law, that could have subjected the McCloskeys to legal discipline.
Wilson said that the court considered the McCloskeys’ guilty pleas, previous court decisions, American Bar Association standards, and “aggravating and mitigating circumstances” before deciding to suspend the McCloskeys’ licenses “indefinitely.”
But Wilson simultaneously stayed that suspension and placed the McCloskeys on one year of probation.
The terms of the McCloskeys’ probation require that they each submit quarterly reports to their assigned probation monitor “concerning the status of [the McCloskeys’] practice of law and the extent and nature of [the McCloskeys’] compliance with the conditions of probation.”
The status reports must include disclosure of any legal filings against them, details of any disputes with clients, and a written statement as to whether they have complied with professional conduct rules and all conditions of probation during that quarter.
The McCloskeys are also required to provide 100 hours of free legal services for a state-approved legal assistance organization.
Under the probation order, the McCloskeys will be allowed to apply for an order that they completed the probation period.
Since being propelled into the national spotlight, the McCloskeys have become aligned with right-wing politics. Mark has launched a run for the U.S. Senate as a “life-long Republican” and has vowed that when it came to waving the guns at protestors who, by all accounts, were unarmed, he would “do the same thing again.”
When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in November of murder charges in the 2020 gun deaths of two people, the McCloskeys cheered him on.
Earlier this month, Mark endorsed a proposed state law dubbed by its opponents the “Make Murder Legal Act.” The law would make it much easier for someone to prove they acted in self defense in using deadly force — so long as a police officer was not the target of the attempt at self defense.
You can read the order for Mark McCloskey here and for Patricia McCloskey here.
[Image via screengrab/KMOV-TV.]
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