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June 13, 2017

Missouri: Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson

Accused of Unfair Treatment to African-Americans,
Leaders of Religious Groups, and a Former Employee

Richardson (above)

By Joe Smith

Basketball star Lebron James has said that being black in America is tough.
Perhaps that statement is symbolic of what has been happening in Jefferson City,
Missouri, lately. But mistreating pastors too? What's going on in Missouri?

Cole County prosecutor, Mark Richardson engages in charging 1st time defendant
minorities with misdemeanors with the highest charge he can without regard to
clean prior records, and prosecuting pastors who simply are trying to make the
world a better place, opines a spokesperson for Citizens For Corporate Justice
(CFCJ), one of the premier human rights advocate organizations in the country.
The human rights advocacy group has had a journalist observing Missouri cases
for months now in which Mark Richardson is refusing to give 1st time offender
minority defendants credit for having no prior record in misdemeanor cases.
CFCJ has not commented on whether or not it will take it's findings before the
Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Missouri Bar or the Missouri
Attorney General.

"He [Richardson] wants to throw the book at them," says one Jefferson City
citizen. "Richardson doesn't seem to care that they had a perfect record. He
doesn't believe in rehabilitating. I think it's cruel and inhumane. We have to stop
this at the voting booth."

In an October 26, 2014 article in News Tribune, former employee and assistant
prosecutor Anji Ghandi complained about the office operations. She indicated
that she became disillusioned about the way Richardson operated things. "There
were a lot of changes I wanted to make when I was there," she said. "I worked
very hard to get Mr. Richardson to institute changes as far as the way cases were
filed, the way cases progressed through the system and the way people were

She said Richardson did not address her concerns.

Notably, in 2016, it was Richardsons office that forced Missouri's prominent

religious group leaders and pastors to trial for protesting Missouri Senate
Medicaid Expansion issues. Many Missouri citizens disagreed with Richardson's
'no mercy' style of prosecution, as many of the pastors he prosecuted were
community leaders and African-American.

Prosecutors are elected officials charged with obtaining justice. Mr. Richardsons
style suggests that he does not believe in giving credit for a spotless prior record.
To him, it seems, punishment is more important than rehabilitation; however,
that old west, no mercy approach has no merit under our constitution. We are a
nation of laws, wherein justice always outweighs punishment.

Citizens For Corporate Justice