Democrats are wincing. Their criminal justice reform movement suffered a significant setback when two of its most high-profile progressive prosecutors, Kim Gardner of St. Louis and Rachael Rollins of Boston, unexpectedly resigned. Gardner and Rollins are two who made national news for lessening prison sentences, promoting restorative justice, and holding police departments accountable. Both rose in prominence during the Trump years, because they were actively fighting the White House.
Although their resignations were not directly connected, the two prosecutors’ respective troubles show the two are poor leaders and crooked. For Rollins, her political demise began in July 2020, when she attended a Biden fundraiser in Andover, Massachusetts, despite being advised not to do so. This immediately drew the ire of Republicans, who called for an investigation. Since then, Rollins has been involved in a series of scandals, including free Celtics tickets, Biden fundraising and political machinations. The Department of Justice’s Special Counsel, Henry Kerner, recently released a report claiming she had inappropriately engaged “in extraordinary abuse of her authority.” As a result, Rollins ultimately decided to resign.
Meanwhile, Gardner’s tenure as St. Louis’ prosecutor was marked by controversy from the start. Initially hailed as a reformer, the criminal justice system in St. Louis has continued to struggle under her watch. This year, a judge accused her office of effectively abandoning its duty to prosecute criminals. Further complicating matters was an incident earlier this year where a Tennessee teenager visiting St. Louis with her family was hit by a speeding driver and lost both of her legs due to the 94 bond violations the suspect had accrued in the two years prior. Already planning to resign at the end of May, Gardner announced she was stepping down this Tuesday.
The resignations of Gardner and Rollins mark a significant setback for the Democrats. In a statement, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas reminded Democratic Senators he warned them about Rollins. Stating “that Rachael Rollins wasn’t only a pro-criminal ideologue but also had a history of poor judgment and ethical lapses.”