Thank you for visiting our website. I am Jean Peters Baker, your Jackson County Prosecutor.
Jean Peters Baker has spent more than 15 years in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, serving in nearly every unit of the office before she was appointed prosecutor in May 2011 and elected to the position in November 2012. She is only the second woman elected to lead the office; the first, now-U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, hired Jean as a young assistant prosecutor.
Jean has been described as a tenacious litigator and a compassionate advocate for crime victims who doesn’t shrink from difficult cases. Over her career in the prosecutor’s office, she has served in Sex Crimes and Child Abuse, Community Justice, Domestic Violence, Drug Enforcement, Family Support, Major Crimes and as Chief Warrant Officer. Baker won the respect and admiration of neighborhood leaders, small business owners and law enforcement when she served as the coordinator of the Drug Abatement Response Team (DART). Jean spearheaded a multi-agency effort to close drug houses and businesses that erode our neighborhoods as well as motels that were known to be hotbeds of illegal drug activity. For her efforts in fighting the drug trade in Kansas City, Jean was honored with the Excellence Award for Advancing COMBAT Objectives given by the County Prosecutor, police agencies and community advocates. During her time in the prosecutor’s office, Jean also received honors as Rookie Attorney of the year and Victim Advocate of the Year.
Jean’s focus as prosecutor has been to make Jackson County a safer and better place to live, work and raise a family. The office works hard every day for just outcomes. But Jean has also set an office goal to more closely connect the prosecutor’s office to the community and more smartly address and reduce crime, especially violent crime.
One of her first steps was to form neighborhood prosecution teams that focused on Kansas City and eastern Jackson County neighborhoods beset by crime, especially violence. In 2012, Jean initiated a new violence reduction effort that now is known as the Kansas City No Violence Alliance. The effort is led by a governing board that includes Jean, Mayor Sly James, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte’ and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson. Using an evidence-based or proven approach known as focused deterrence, KC NoVA in 2014 was able to help the community reduce homicides in Kansas City to the lowest level since 1967, tying 1992’s total of 77 homicides.
Jean’s office attracted national attention in 2011, after a Jackson County grand jury indicted the bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, making him the highest ranking cleric in the United States to face a criminal charge related to church’s child sex abuse scandal. In October 2013, Baker was named special prosecutor to investigate the filing of charges in a high-profile sexual assault involving high school football players, once again attracting national attention.
Jean briefly left the prosecutor’s office in 2010, when she was elected as a Missouri State Representative and served as the leader of the Freshman Democrats during her tenure in the General Assembly. She spearheaded the Kansas City Caucus and served as a co-chair of this group to promote economic development issues for the Kansas City area. Her service in the Missouri General Assembly provided her with a perspective of advocating for additional resources for the office and carrying out legislative priorities. Jean will take an active role in seeing that legislative solutions are made in the next legislative session.
In 2011, Jean stepped down as state representative, when Jackson County Executive Michael Sanders appointed her to succeed Jim Kanatzar as the county’s top law enforcement official -- Jackson County Prosecutor.