Gun-Wielding Lawyers Given Slap on the Wrist

The infamous duo will have to do what they were already supposed to do for a year.

While I would have sworn that we’ve discussed the incident immortalized in the above photo before on this site, I can find no evidence of it. It depicts Mark and Patricia McCloskey, two St. Louis area ambulance chasers, brandishing firearms at Black Lives Matter demonstrators passing their home in a gated community on their way to chant at the mayor, who also lives there back in May 2020.

The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow, it seems, but finally they have received their punishment from the state bar. It is light.

KCUR, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate (“Missouri Supreme Court disciplines St. Louis lawyers who waved guns at BLM protesters“):

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday indefinitely suspended the law licenses of two St. Louis attorneys who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020, but it stayed their suspensions and placed them on probation for a year.

The orders came after Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel last year asked the court to suspend the law licenses of Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia McCloskey, in connection with their guilty pleas to misdemeanors stemming from the gun-waving incident.

The orders mean that if they violate the terms of their probation, their law licenses could be suspended indefinitely.

The probation terms require the McCloskeys, in written quarterly reports, to note any arrests, criminal charges, civil lawsuits, disputes with clients, investigations questioning their fitness to practice law and reports of additional disciplinary complaints.

The court also ordered them to provide 100 hours of pro bono legal services during their terms of probation.

So, basically, they’re not allowed to commit any additional crimes over the next year—which, presumably, was already a requirement of remaining in good standing—and they have to provide 100 hours of free shitty law service. Hopefully, not to BLM protestors. And, as in most states, providing pro bono service is already an expectation of legal professionals in Missouri.

The McCloskeys remain defiant.

Reached at the St. Louis law firm he and his wife operate, Mark McCloskey said he was disappointed the court disciplined them and may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

“I disagree with the (Missouri) Supreme Court that what we did on our front porch constituted a misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude,” McCloskey said. “I don’t think we acted in moral turpitude at all.”

He added: “I will respectfully cooperate with and fully perform my probation.”

So, here’s the problem with that:

Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty in June 2021 to misdemeanor fourth-degree assault and was ordered to pay a fine of $750. Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty on the same date to misdemeanor harassment and was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000.

Granted that plea bargains are essentially coerced and that McCloskey may honestly believe he did nothing wrong, he literally pled guilty to a crime. It’s true that the Republican governor almost immediately pardoned them but that doesn’t change the facts available to the Missouri Supreme Court.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What do you expect from a court that exists in a state of Misery.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Republicans in general, and seemingly everyone in gun-nut states, seem to disregard white thugs with guns. From cosplayers showing up to threaten legislators with real semi-automatic rifles, to dangerous man-boys waving guns at peaceful marchers, the Republicans/gun-nuts just can’t seem to see any harm in them. Meanwhile our murder rate is exploding, with the increase being fueled almost exclusively by recent gun purchasers.

  3. I continue to find absurdity of that image to be immense.

  4. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah, neither of them look like they have ever held a gun before or gone to a range to fire the weapon.

  5. CSK says:

    How will this affect Mark McCloskey’s run for the U.S. Senate?

  6. senyordave says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’ve seen six year olds playing who look more realistic then they do, especially that tough guy with the semi automatic. he looks like he’s on the verge of wetting his pants, possibly in fear but also possibly in anticipation of bagging one of these BLM thugs.

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: What are you talking about??!!?? That’s the way that all gangsters and their molls point guns a people in the old movies!!

  8. Not the IT Dept. says:

    There was another photo where he appeared to be pointing the gun directly in her face (in fairness, it may have been the result of the camera angle). Made you wonder what might have happened if he’d had a trigger finger spasm at that moment. The ultimate in Freudian slips, perhaps?

  9. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:
    Scroll down the article to the first photo within the piece.. I think this is the picture you mean:

  10. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Yes, that’s the one. Not at her face, but not the result of a bad camera angle either. At least she never pointed it directly at him. Always nice when idiots marry each other and don’t inflict themselves on normal people.

  11. CSK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:
    I don’t think I’d want them for neighbors.

  12. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Ayup. She’s got her finger in the trigger guard, but sure as Shinola isn’t looking where she’s a-gonna fire, is she? Come to think about it, while he’s not on the trigger, he’s also looking away from where he’s pointing that thing.

    Somehow, they remind me of a certain family member who famously shot himself in the ankle putting the pistol back in the holster.

    Fortunately for them, they’s rich(ish) white folks, so all good, right?

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    Even without the weapons, you wouldn’t want the McCloskey’s as neighbors. There picture is used to illustrate neighbor from hell in the dictionary. The only people hoping the becomes senator are their neighbors.

  14. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, I know. The weapons are just the icing on the cake.

  15. gVOR08 says:


    I’ve seen six year olds playing who look more realistic then they do, especially that tough guy with the semi automatic.

    I’m not an expert. If we have one lurking, firing an AR-15 clone in that position, close against his chest and left handed, would he just burn his man-boob with hot brass, or would he block ejection and jam it?

  16. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Charlie [Chaplin’s] Angels

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: I’m no expert, and I just keep thinking that the scene would resemble the YouTube of the guy from the Burgers and Guns place teaching the six year old to fire an Uzi.

    No, don’t go back and look (it’s probably been removed anyway) but for such a short clip (no pun intended) it’s striking in graphicality (graphicness?). [apparently the second–not marked as a spelling error]

  18. Kathy says:

    I keep thinking McDonald’s should sue for improper use of the Hamburglar costume.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR08: I have never fired an AR-15, so I’m guessing: I think that at first fire it would fly backwards out of his grip, so the issue of hot brass and jamming would kind of be off the table.

    Likewise, if she were to pull the trigger, the pistol would likely tumble backwards out of her hand.

  20. Kurtz says:


    he looks like he’s on the verge of wetting his pants, possibly in fear but also possibly in anticipation of bagging one of these BLM thugs.

    That ain’t urine, Dave.

  21. Barry says:

    @MarkedMan: “Republicans in general, and seemingly everyone in gun-nut states, seem to disregard white thugs with guns. ”

    They want them.

  22. John430 says:

    As usual, Joyner conveniently omits one wit: Thug marchers stormed and crashed the private gate of the community. If I owned a gun and lived on that street, I’d show it to the thug demonstrators stomping by my property too. I bet that secretly, Joyner would probably do likewise.