Dan Nelson is the Chief Deputy Prosecutor of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. Most recently, he served for 12 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Western Missouri where he tried cases to juries and represented the United States in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He served in a variety of roles including Securities Fraud Coordinator, Elections Officer and Executive AUSA. At trial, Dan has convicted businessmen and women, bank robbers, a mayor, and tax criminals. He was recognized by a panel of state and federal judges and the Missouri Bar Foundation with the 2014 Lon Hocker Award for trial excellence. Previously, Dan was a business litigation associate in the Washington D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis. He conducts CLEs on trial advocacy, ethics, securities law, and cyber law. He has guest-lectured at Mizzou and KU, he co-teaches Federal Trial Practice at UMKC Law School, and he is a Special Master for KCMBA’s Trial Academy. Dan is board president of The Child Protection Center, an accredited child advocacy center serving Jackson and Cass counties. He is past president of Impact KC, a giving circle that since 2004 has awarded nearly $1M to Kansas City charities. A proud sixth-generation Missourian, Dan is a graduate of the MU School of Journalism and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Director of Communications
Michael Mansur spent 25 years as a reporter at The Kansas City Star, covering education, local government and the environment. On one assignment, he travelled with and chronicled author William Least Heat-Moon’s cross-continent excursion that became River-Horse. He also worked on the The Star team that in 1992 won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for a series of stories on the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over the years, he’s uncovered government inefficiency, dogged cities for overspending and wasting taxpayer funds and spun fun features on such related journeys as Heat-Moon’s quest to visit every county in the continental U.S. Today, Mansur works as communications director at the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and works closely with a new violence reduction project called KC No Violence Alliance or KC NoVA.
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Policy
Jennifer Dameron is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Policies for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from Truman State University and her law degree from University of Missouri-Columbia. Her previous legal experience includes serving as an Assistant Missouri Attorney General and in private practice. In 2012, Mayor Sly James appointed her to be the first Chair of the Kansas City Land Bank and following the completion of her appointed term, he appointed her to the Kansas City TIF Commission. In 2016, Governor Nixon appointed her to the Truman State Board of Governors representing the first college district as defined by RSMo. 174.010 and currently serves as the Chair for the Academic & Student Affairs committee. Jennifer is also actively involved in CCP, STM School Board and the Wonderscope Children’s Museum.
Director of Operations
JUDGE EDITH MESSINA
Advisor to the Prosecutor
Judge Messina is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1966 she graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from Avila University with which she has maintained a life long association. Immediately after graduation, Judge Messina entered the Peace Corps, and after training at the UCLA she was assigned as a teacher in the northern region of Nigeria. She served in Nigeria until the end of 1968. Upon returning home, she taught GED classes. Eventually the judge entered UMKC School of Law and graduated in 1974. After practicing law for several years, Judge Messina was appointed to the bench in Jackson County by Governor Kit Bond in 1984. She was the first woman appointed to that position in Jackson County. During her tenure on the bench, Judge Messina was responsible for civil, criminal and domestic dockets. In 1993 the judge was assigned as the administrative judge of the Family Court in Jackson County. In 1998 Judge Messina was elected as the Presiding Judge of the circuit court. In addition to her judicial position, she has been an adjunct instructor for several years in the MBA program at Avila University. In 2007 Judge Messina received her M.S. degree in Counseling Psychology from Avila. With her 70th birthday looming Judge Messina retired from the bench on December 31, 2014. She presently works part-time in the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney of Jackson County, Mo., as a special counselor to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Baker. Judge Messina was honored by the KCMBA in 2008 as a Dean of the Trial Bar. In 2014 she was presented with the Public Official Service Award sponsored by the Lawyers Weekly, and with Judge of the Year award by the Association of the Women Lawyers’ Association.
Dion Sankar is an assistant prosecuting attorney and program manager for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office’s Drug Court Program. Mr. Sankar also supervises the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office’s Diversion programs. Prior to joining the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Mr. Sankar worked in the litigation division of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office where he defended civil claims filed against various state and governmental entities and the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. He also worked as an associate at the McCallister Law Firm, P.C. where he represented individuals in various civil claims, including claims of police misconduct. Mr. Sankar is a native New Yorker. After working as an associate for Weisman & Calderon LLP in New York for several years, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2011.
Director of Family Support
Melissa Mauer-Smith grew up in the Kansas City area and has proudly served her community in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for most of her legal career. Ms. Mauer-Smith earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She joined the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in 1986. From 1986 to 1991, she served in the Family Support Division of the office as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and then as a Trial Team Leader. In 1992, she was appointed by then Prosecuting Attorney Albert Riederer, to be the as Director of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office- Family Support Division. Melissa is honored to have had the opportunity to serve six innovative Prosecuting Attorneys and to experience the positive evolution of the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office during their terms. Melissa has the unique distinction of being the only person to be appointed twice to serve as the Acting Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney during brief periods when the Prosecuting Attorney position was briefly vacant. She strongly believes in serving her community on Committees, Foundations and Advisory groups as a strong voice for the economic security of children. She truly enjoys every opportunity to participate in Outreach activities on behalf of the Family Support Division in the Jackson County community; sharing information that is critically needed by parents.