HISTORY OF OUR OFFICE

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office has a long and distinguished history that has attracted a number of notable attorneys to serve as either the elected prosecutor or assistant prosecutor. The following list includes a U.S. senator, a Missouri governor and numerous other distinguished jurists and attorneys.

In 1992, now U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill became the first woman to be elected as Jackson County Prosecutor. She served until 1999 when she was sworn in as Missouri State Auditor. In 2006, she became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, winning the seat that Harry Truman once held. She was re-elected in 2012.

Former Missouri Gov. Joseph Teasdale also served as Jackson County’s elected prosecutor, 1966 to 1972. He was the youngest person to hold that post. In 1976, he won the governor’s office in a campaign that was given little hope at its outset. But the approachable native Kansas Citian won the popular nickname “Walkin’ Joe” for trekking 1000 miles, crisscrossing the state, in his push for a primary victory.

Albert Riederer preceded McCaskill as the elected prosecutor in Jackson County. He served three terms as prosecutor and also was a state judge. As a civic leader, Riederer lead numerous campaign measures, including the expansion of the Kansas City Zoo. Riederer’s impact on the community may have been most significant as prosecutor, when he championed the anti-crime and anti-drug program known as COMBAT that continues today.

Many other notable attorneys have served in the prosecutor’s office, including Alissia Canady, current Kansas City Council member; current U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson; Mike Sanders, who served until just this year as Jackson County Executive; Joe Bednar, chief attorney for Gov. Mel Carnahan; Ronnie L. White, who would become Chief Judge of the Missouri  Supreme Court.

Other current and former state judges with roots in the office: William Page Bellamy, Kenneth R. Garrett III, James F. Kanatzar, Bryan E. Round, Joel P. Fahnestock, Jennifer M. Phillips, Charles H. McKenzie, Robert M. Schieber, Kevin D. Harrell, Jalilah Otto, Gregory B. Gillis, Jeffrey C. Keal, Janette K. Rodecap, Twila K. Rigby, Jeffrey Bushur, Charles E.. Atwell, Vernon E. Scoville, Robert Beaird and Drug Court Commissioner David J. Fry.
Federal judges who worked in the office include Matt J. Whitworth, Beth Phillips, Brian C. Wimes and Roseann Ketchmark.

More than a dozen attorneys in the office have won the distinguished Lon Hocker award, presented by the Missouri Bar Foundation to leading trial attorneys. The winners include John Turner (1980), Patrick B. Hall (1983), John P. O’Connor (1986), J. Michael Shaffer (1987), Lou Accurso (1990), Kevin E.J. Regan (1991), Matt J. Whitworth (1992), Tim E. Dollar (1996), William Page Bellamy (1998),  Dawn M. Parsons (2001), Michael C. Rader (2008), Jennifer M. Phillips (2011), Adam Caine (2015).