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Politically Speaking: Mary Pat Carl says St. Louis' circuit attorney should target illegal guns

Mary Pat Carl
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome circuit attorney contender Mary Pat Carl to the program.

Carl is one of four candidates running to succeed Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who is not running for re-election. We taped shows with all four circuit attorney candidates last week, and we are posting the shows throughout this week.


Carl is a Florissant native who initially started her prosecutorial career in St. Clair County, Illinois. Since being hired at the circuit attorney’s office in 2003, she has prosecuted cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse. Before taking a leave of absence to run for office, Carl was the circuit attorney’s chief homicide prosecutor.

While two other candidates – state Rep. Kim Gardner, D-St. Louis, and Patrick Hamacher – have either worked for or currently work in the circuit attorney’s office, Carl received Joyce’s endorsement. Carl says that's, in part, because she has the most experience.

She also has the most money in the bank, thanks in part to a $120,000 loan. (Even without the loan, Carl has still raised more money than the other three candidates.)

Since St. Louis is solidly Democratic, whoever wins the Aug. 2 Democratic primary will almost certainly take on the circuit attorney job next year.

Here’s what Carl had to say during the show:

  • Carl says it's an "honor" to have Joyce's endorsement, adding that the Democratic official has been a "dedicated public servant for 16 years." "And there's no there's no one that knows this job better than Jennifer," she said.
  • Because the Missouri General Assembly is unlikely to institute gun control, Carl said she wants to go after people who carry firearms illegally. "One of the ways to attack the gun violence is to work on what we can, which is illegal guns," she said. "That's a common ground that we can all agree on: That there should not be illegal guns and guns shouldn't be in the hands of kids."
  • Carl said she wants the circuit attorney's staff to get out into the community and meet the people that they serve. "To trust is to know," she said. "It's really difficult to trust a system or to trust lawyers that sit downtown in a building."
  • When asked if she would want a special prosecutor whenever there's a police-involved killing, Carl replied that she would look into each case on an individual basis. "I'm not opposed to special prosecutors. But we have a question that hasn't been answered that I'm not willing to say in every case I'll appoint a special prosecutor until I figure out how to answer that question," she said. "And that question is 'how do we hold special prosecutors accountable?'"

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Mary Pat Carl on Twitter: @MaryPatCarl

Music:  “You Are the One” by Shiny Toy Guns

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.