Judge won’t return money, guns to McCloskeys after pardon

A Missouri judge has declined to return guns and money to Mark and Patricia McCloskey after they were pardoned by Governor Mike Parson for misdemeanors after confronting protesters on their street with guns.

The couple surrendered their guns and paid fines when they agreed to a plea deal on the charges, and the judge says they still need to follow through on the plea deal even though they have been pardoned.

“While the governor’s pardon does clear plaintiff’s record of the conviction, his guilt remains and the terms of an agreement that predicated said guilt also remains,” Judge Joan Moriarty said. The McCloskey’s are “required to follow through with their end of the bargain.”

The McCloskeys said they will appeal the ruling.

Republicans outraged by arrest

Republicans were outraged when the couple was arrested and charged after news footage showed them confronting protesters with guns drawn on June 28, during the height of the BLM protests after George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.

They didn’t shoot the guns, and later said they were protecting their private property after protesters broke a gate and entered their neighborhood. No one was hurt in the incident.

The incident ignited a national debate about whether people should stand up to protesters and rehashed a debate about whether people have the right to protect their property when they feel it is threatened.

The couple later spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2020 about their experience and the erosion of Second Amendment and self-defense rights in the U.S.

“Vindicated,” but it’s not over

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (D) originally charged the couple with felony gun crimes but was disqualified from prosecuting them after she used the case in some of her campaign emails.

The state had to appoint a special prosecutor to move forward, at which time the plea deal was struck.

After the pardon, the McCloskeys said they felt “vindicated.”

It now seems like their legal troubles may continue a bit longer before they can put the entire situation behind them.

Setting a bad precedent

If law enforcement gets away with seizing people’s personal property and keeping it even after charges have been dropped or pardoned, it may become a common practice to arrest people on specious grounds in order to seize their property and keep it.

This would be an abuse of power, and may be so in this particular case as well.

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