ST. LOUIS • The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office this week fired an assistant circuit attorney, Steven Roberts Jr., who is running for the top job in 2016.
The circumstances are in dispute.
Roberts’ uncle and campaign co-chair, Michael Roberts, said Friday that Steven Roberts is not available to comment because any direct quotes could prove detrimental to him.
Michael Roberts said: “They walked into his office and fired him” without saying why.
He said that his nephew had several times raised issues about the office’s differential treatment of young black male defendants, but had been ignored. He also said his nephew was always prepared and, despite being moved around to various positions, “He still rose and exceeded expectations.”
A statement from Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office called those claims “completely false” and said, “We can say conclusively that his termination was a result of his poor performance. No other factors were involved.”
The office initially declined to comment on it as a personnel matter, but said that Roberts had “opened the door regarding the reasons for his departure.”
The statement says Roberts “was provided written notice of his performance issues and he has met dozens of times with his supervisors who worked diligently to help him succeed at the office. The Circuit Attorney’s Office has been more than fair with Mr. Roberts, including allowing him to return to the office after no charges were filed following his recent arrest.”
Roberts was investigated earlier this year after a St. Louis University student alleged that some type of incident occurred in a bar on April 16. Roberts was suspended during an investigation by an outside prosecutor but was not charged.
Joyce, who is not seeking re-election, is backing Mary Pat Carl, her lead homicide prosecutor, to replace her. Carl has raised more than $57,000, including $15,300 from Joyce’s campaign committee. Carl also lent herself $115,000.
In a financial report filed Oct. 11, Steven Roberts reported a 16-month, $150,000 loan from himself and $10,000 from his mother. He also received three contributions totaling $5,250, including $50 from his uncle and $5,000 from Talley Properties LLC, a real estate company for which his uncle is the registered agent.