ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner is scheduled to testify before lawmakers in Jefferson City to make the state law in line with federal law.
Gardner wants state law changed so prosecutors don’t have to share the last known address and other personal identifiers of victims and witnesses with defense attorneys.
“We have constitutional laws, federal laws, that address that we don’t have to turn over last known addresses or other personal identifiers in instances where the victim or witness says they’re afraid and it should simply be that; if they say they’re afraid we should not be made to turn over that person’s last known address,” she says.
Gardner says cases are collapsing because victims and witnesses don’t want to have their addresses and personal information become public record, and give criminals a means for revenge.
“The fear is real. We have cases where witnesses have basically been intimidated and they won’t come forward because they feel like we as law enforcement cannot protect them,” she says.
St. Louis Public Defender Mary Fox says in order to have a fair trial, she needs to see everything the prosecution side has, and she needs “independent access to witnesses against the defendant.”