06/13/2024

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‘Cough up my guns’: Pardoned St. Louis lawyers threaten suit to get firearms back after judge erases criminal record for BLM protesters episode

Mark McCloskey, Patricia McCloskey

FILE – Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey stand in front of their house, confronting protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house in the Central West End of St. Louis, June 28, 2020. A judge has expunged the misdemeanor convictions of the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at racial injustice protesters outside their mansion in 2020. Now, they say, they want their guns back. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

The St. Louis lawyers who pleaded guilty to state misdemeanors for brandishing a rifle and pistol as Black Lives Matter protestors walked past their mansion in 2020, only to be pardoned be Missouri’s governor, have had their records expunged by a judge.

But while the erasure of their convictions was welcomed by Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey, the husband and wife are nonetheless threatening to sue if the City of St. Louis doesn’t return their firearms.

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    “It’s time for the city to cough up my guns,” Mark McCloskey reportedly said, vowing to sue if that does not occur. The comments were reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    The McCloskeys made national news in June 2020, the month after George Floyd’s murder, by emerging from their mansion armed as protesters looking to demonstrate in front of the mayor’s house nearby marched through a gate to their street, a street the couple said was private and being trespassed upon by an “angry mob.”

    After the couple pleaded guilty in 2021, the McCloskeys appeared in a political campaign video holding a rifle and pistol.

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    “A year ago, an angry mob crashed through my gate and threatened my life, my family, and my home. And I stood on the front porch with my AR-15 and backed the mob down,” Mark said, adding that he would “do the same thing again” if those circumstances arose in the future.

    State pardons for fourth-degree assault and second-degree harassment convictions followed in August 2021, but ensuing litigation to get the guns back didn’t fare well in Missouri’s courts.

    “The law recognizes the difference between a conviction and guilt. Here, McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and voluntarily forfeited his firearms in exchange for the State dismissing a felony charge punishable by imprisonment,” an appellate court ruled in late 2023. “Thus, his inability to recover his firearms is not a legal disqualification, impediment, or other legal disadvantage that is a consequence of his conviction. Rather, the permanent forfeiture is a consequence of his guilt.”

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    “And because only the conviction is obliterated by the pardon and McCloskey’s guilt remains, we find that the governor’s pardon does not entitle him to possession of his forfeited firearms,” the court added.

    Now that the convictions have been expunged, the McCloskeys apparently believe their chances of getting their guns back have received a boost.

    Missouri records show that both the husband and wife remain attorneys in good standing.

    The post ‘Cough up my guns’: Pardoned St. Louis lawyers threaten suit to get firearms back after judge erases criminal record for BLM protesters episode first appeared on Law & Crime.