Missouri lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey made headlines in June of 2020 when they appeared outside their St. Louis home during a Black Lives Matter protest. The married couple both carried weapons and were photographed addressing the protest members, sparking swift backlash online. The pair both received disciplinary action from the Missouri Supreme Court for engaging in “moral turpitude”. This action could result in both lawyers losing their law licenses in Missouri.
The two also pled guilty to misdemeanor charges relating to appearing with weapons in public and reportedly attempting to intimidate protestors. While the couple received a pardon for these misdemeanors from Missouri governor Mike Parson, they sought further exoneration through the United States Supreme Court. They wrote the court and asked that the justices throw out the disciplinary action levied by Missouri’s judicial system.
The couple became famous in the United States two years ago when they appeared on their front porch during a racial justice protest in their neighborhood. Activists entered their neighborhood to protest Mayor Lyda Krewson’s decision to publish the names and addresses of people who supported police reform.
The protest, which was sparked in part by the police killing of George Floyd earlier that summer, was unrelated to the McCloskey’s. However, by interjecting themselves into the proceedings, they became well-known figures in the ongoing social movement. The couple would later claim they feared for their lives, saying they were afraid the protestors would break into their home and harm them.
The Supreme Court dismissed the McCloskeys’ petition Monday, sending it away without comment. It is not standard for the Supreme Court to offer any comment on its reasoning for refusing to hear a case. Many legal experts considered the petition a longshot, and the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel waived its ability to respond to the couple regarding the appeal.
Mark McCloskey is running for an open state Senate seat in Missouri, and his prior criminal record and notable media attention have played a role in the campaign. Political experts in the state don’t consider McCloskey a strong contender for the seat.
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the couple will lose their law licenses as a result of pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. However, they will be eligible for a stay of that order if they both serve out a twelve-month probationary period. During this period, they will both be unable to practice law.