Cases Digital Signature

St. Louis Prosecutor Quits after her eSignature Used on Court Docs while on Maternity Leave

According to reports, St. Louis lead homicide prosecutor resigned from her position in early July after her digital signature was discovered on several court documents after she had gone on maternity leave in May.

Prosecutor Kim Arshi reportedly began her maternity leave on May 10th. Yet her electronic signature appeared in more than 20 cases after the start of her leave in various court documents listed her as the lead prosecutor.

On July 20th, Arshi reportedly resigned but has not publicly commented on the matter, nor has St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office.

One of the cases in which Arshi was listed as the main prosecutor led to St. Louis District Judge Jason Senghizer dismissing the murder case against the defendant, identified as Brandon Campbell. At the time Arshi was on maternity leave.

According to reports, the reason was that prosecutors from Gardner's office did not show up at multiple hearings related to the case. In that case, Campbell was accused of fatally shooting Randy Moore in April 2020.

Since the case was dismissed against Campbell, he was released from custody. Although Gardner's office has reportedly re-opened a murder case against Campbell, he is currently at large.

Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner stated Campbell's release was due to her office's inability to send prosecutors who had not been on leave to scheduled hearings. She blamed the incident on "internal policies and procedures regarding family medical leave" and that “corrective measures are needed to further prevent any future repeat occurrence of the incident in question.”

Court records show that Gardner's office assigned Campbell's case to Arshi on May 17th, a week after she was already on maternity leave.

Gardner says she is “accountable to the public for the actions of the office”. Nevertheless, she has yet to clarify what exact “internal policies and procedures” could result in an assistant prosecutor on leave having signed nearly 30 felony cases while she was not in the office. According to court documents, the cases included more than a dozen murders, a death penalty case, several assaults, and robberies.

It is an example of how the electronic signature of an official can be compromised and what consequences follow. In this case, the prosecutor resigned. Nevertheless, this is a good reminder that an electronic signature ensures the legal significance of electronic documents and an owner has to keep their private key confidential to avoid any possible legal ramifications.

The article has been based on the following news pieces:
  1. St. Louis prosecutor quits after her signature used on court docs while she was on maternity leave.
  2. Assistant prosecutor in St. Louis was assigned nearly 30 felony cases while on leave.

 If you find our articles fascinating, you can subscribe here; we will be elated to get feedback.