March 31, 2011
Gov. Nixon appoints Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kanatzar as Circuit Judge
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney James. F. Kanatzar to serve as a Circuit Judge on the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, which covers Jackson County. He will fill a vacancy on the circuit created by the retirement of the Honorable W. Stephen Nixon.
Kanatzar has served as prosecuting attorney for Jackson County since January 2007, when he was appointed to the position. In November 2008, he was elected prosecuting attorney. As prosecuting attorney, Kanatzar was the primary prosecutor on a number of high-profile cases, including obtaining sentences of life without parole in the "Precious Doe" case, in the trial of serial murderer Lorenzo Gilyard, and in several other murder trials. He was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to serve on one of its regional disciplinary committees reviewing complaints against licensed attorneys.
From 2002 to 2006, Kanatzar was deputy prosecuting attorney for the county. He also served as an assistant prosecuting attorney from 1991 to 2000, including supervising other assistants as trial team leader for the Domestic Violence Unit and the Independence Drug Unit, and as chief warrant officer for eastern Jackson County. He also served on the Homicide Committee for the office. From 2001 to 2002, Kanatzar was in private practice as an associate with the firm of Armstrong Teasdale.
"I am pleased to appoint James Kanatzar to the bench in Jackson County, and I believe he will be an excellent judge for the people of this county," Gov. Nixon said.
Kanatzar obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law. He has been active as a volunteer with several service organizations in Jackson County, including the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City and the Second Chance Program.
Kanatzar was one of three applicants submitted to Gov. Nixon for consideration by the 16th Circuit Judicial Commission under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.