The 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri – Kansas City Municipal Division is the largest municipal court in the State of Missouri. Authorized by the State Constitution and created by the Charter of Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Municipal Division is a court of law that protects the rights of citizens and provides them with a place to obtain a fair and impartial hearing on any citation alleging a violation.
The Kansas City Municipal Court is a division of Missouri’s circuit court system. Circuit courts are primary trial courts with authority over nearly all civil and criminal matters. The courts are organized into 45 regional circuits throughout the state, with a court in every county. Each circuit court consists of various divisions, including circuit, small claims, criminal, family, probate, juvenile, and municipal. The determination of where cases are assigned is based on the type of case.
Our Kansas City Municipal Court has eight (8) full-time judges and one (1) part-time judge, a Court Administrator, and approximately 75 employees. The Presiding Judge is selected by the judges En Banc, a legal term meaning by the full court or full bench, i.e. all the judges. The Court has two divisions: Court Operations and Court Services. There are nine courtrooms, labeled alphabetically as A through I.
With an extremely high volume and quick turnover of cases, our Municipal Court processes approximately 200,000 cases annually. As a limited jurisdiction court, the Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all violations of the City’s ordinances. The most common types of cases handled by the Court include: Traffic violations (e.g., speeding, driving under the influence, and parking tickets); General ordinance violations (e.g., trespass, assault, disorderly conduct); Building code and nuisance violations (e.g., insufficient property maintenance, weeds, trash); and Animal health and public safety violations (e.g., no animal license, animal abuse/neglect, animal attacks).
Our Court is not a court of record. In Kansas City Municipal Court, anyone who wishes to appeal the outcome may request a new trial in a court of record (trial de novo). The case then will be treated as entirely new. While our court does not have jury trials, defendants are afforded every other right that they would enjoy in a court of record, including the right to reasonable bail upon arrest. For persons who are found guilty, judges may require fines, prison sentences, or both. Fines are normally between $1 and $500, but may go up to $1,000 for selected violations. Jail sentences may not exceed six months. Our Court does not settle questions of civil money damages.
Like many other courts, the Kansas City Municipal Court makes use of modern technological tools including extensive computerization of recordkeeping, and we are continuing to move ahead in this area. In August 2011, the Court launched a new automated system to support the flow of information from police officers (who use a new e-ticketing system to issue citations) to the judges (who are realizing greater efficiencies through our new system of case management) and also allow us to tap into national databases to identify suspects criminal records from a variety of sources. The new efficiencies that we have created by advancing to a new era of modernization are making it possible for us to provide even better customer service to the defendants, witnesses, citizens, and police officers we serve.
Contact and Hours
Presiding Judge, Keith R. Ludwig
Court Administrator, Megan Pfannenstiel
Operating Hours: The Violations Bureau is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.
Our courtroom docket times are 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Please arrive 30 to 45 minutes before your scheduled hearing to allow enough time to go through security. Defendants are responsible for being on time and present in court when their cases are called. Those who are not could have a warrant issued for their arrest for failing to appear for the hearing.
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