Jackson County Prosecutor's Office

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jean Peters Baker's work doesn't end when she steps out of the Jackson County Courthouse. In fact, the county's top prosecutor recently hosted a cleanup event on the 2300 block of Denver Avenue in Kansas City to reduce blight and fight crime. She speaks about that, and about the work of Mayor Sly James' Citizens Task Force on Violence. Then, the only business school professor ever named a MacArthur Fellow tells us why he thinks fixing income inequality in America requires increasing the number of college graduates.

File photo

Facing a rise in police excessive force cases often gone viral on social media, a national group of prosecutors issued a “guidance document” Friday designed to help law enforcement work in a more public and proactive manner.

Led by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, the report by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys urges local and regional agencies to be more transparent, quickly respond to a scene and create written internal protocols.

Eva Wilson / Leawood Baptist Church

Dec. 21 was the winter's solstice, the longest night of 2016. That night, roughly 200 people showed up for a vigil at the Leawood Baptist Church to honor nearly 200 people who lost their lives in homicides in the Kansas City metropolitan area in 2016.

For weeks, the church's front lawn was a sea of white crosses: 193, each with a name, each representing a life lost.

In Kansas City, Missouri in 2016, there were 127 homicides, marking the highest number in nearly a decade. 

Eva Wilson / Leawood Baptist Church

Kansas City recently hit a milestone: 2016 saw the highest number of homicides in the past 10 years. What's going on in the metro? A look at what each death means for KC and its children.

Guests:

Courtesy of Wasiba Hamad

Exactly six months after 18-year-old Southwest High School honor student Daizsa Bausby was found dead in a motel room, Jackson County prosecutors have charged her father with her murder.

After investigators received positive DNA results, 40-year-old Jerry K. Bausby was charged late Tuesday with first-degree murder, sodomy, incest and sexual abuse.

On the morning of March 21, Daizsa was found by a cleaning crew face up in the bed of a room at the 4 Acres Motel in South Kansas City. The following day, her mother, Laetta Walker-Bausby filed a missing persons report. 

David Shane / Flickr-CC

A loophole in Missouri's criminal code means most stealing cases are no longer felonies. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court reduced multiple felonies for a woman convicted of stealing firearms to misdemeanors, citing vague language written into the state's criminal code in 2002. 

The court looked at the case of Amanda Bazell, who was convicted of felony stealing. Her lawyer noticed that the language in the criminal code that designates stealing offenses as felonies was unclear.  The court agreed. 

Here's what the court's opinion states:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

Big questions are being asked about the recent grand jury hearing about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, for example, whether justice was served. But there are simpler questions, too: When and why is a grand jury called? What's the prosecutor's role, in a grand jury hearing and otherwise? Who are the jurors, and why is their selection process a secret?

Guests:

A  Jackson County grand jury has declined to file charges against a  Kansas City, Mo., police officer in the 2013 shooting death of a firefighter.

The criminal case is closed in the Dec. 1, 2013, death of Anthony Bruno.

Bruno and the policeman struggled during a brawl leading to the shooting on a downtown street. There had been a dispute over cab fare outside Bruno’s wedding reception party. The pair fought and struggled on the pavement as the officer tried to arrest Bruno.

Governor Nixon Vetoes Sex Registry Bill

Aug 21, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Arguing that he was keeping nearly 900 sex offenders from being  let loose on unknowing communities, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City explaining his veto of a bill passed by the legislature. 

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Kansas City’s newest program to fight violent crime began today, aided by UMKC researchers, state and federal prosecutors, police and others.  The launch coincided with a chilling set of deaths.

A fresh double-homicide in south-side Kansas City had detectives going to work, one  hour before top crime fighters were gathering to describe the program, initially announced in May of 2012.

There had been 6 murders in the preceding 48 hours.

Into the mix comes the Kansas City No Violence Alliance or KC NoVA.

An Independence, Missouri woman and a Kansas City, Kansas man have become the third and fourth people charged in a triple murder during an Independence home invasion.

Frank Morris / KCUR

UPDATE at 3:30 pm: Bishop Robert Finn: Guilty on one of two counts.