Eric Zahnd

Eric ZahndEric Zahnd is the Platte County, Missouri Prosecuting Attorney. He has the longest tenure of any elected prosecutor currently serving the Kansas City metro area. When first elected in 2002, he was the youngest elected prosecuting attorney of a first class county in Missouri. He leads an office of eleven attorneys and nine other staff members. The office handles thousands of cases each year, ranging from traffic offenses to first degree murder.

Mr. Zahnd has personally convicted every person charged with murder in Platte County since he took office. He has also served as special prosecutor in a northwest Missouri murder-for-hire scheme, convicting all four men involved. One newspaper calls him an aggressive prosecutor who passionately presents an extremely impressive case to a jury.

Mr. Zahnd has made it a priority to vigorously prosecute crimes against children. Under Mr. Zahnd’s and the Sheriff‘s leadership, Platte County’s Cyber Crimes Unit became one of the first in Missouri to hunt down and prosecute Internet predators. Mr. Zahnd has been recognized on The O’Reilly Factor for his work to protect children on the Web, and a local TV station has called him “a leader in the fight against Internet predators.” In 2005, Mr. Zahnd’s work with the community to combat teen drinking was recognized in the White House’s National Drug Control Strategy Annual Report. 

Mr. Zahnd has fought for stiffer penalties for child sex offenders and drunk drivers. In 2006, he successfully pushed the legislature to pass Jessica’s Law to put child rapists in prison for life and enact mandatory sentences for Internet predators. At the bill signing ceremony, Missouri’s Governor said, “Eric Zahnd is a leader in law enforcement in Missouri and was key in crafting this legislation.” In 2005 and again in 2010, Mr. Zahnd helped write laws to increase penalties against repeat drunk drivers. In 2009, he wrote the law requiring police to record interrogations of people suspected of committing dangerous felonies.

Mr. Zahnd is one of only two Missouri prosecutors selected in the inaugural class of “Super Lawyers,” an honor given to the top attorneys in Missouri and Kansas. In 2007, he was selected as an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. He was named one of Ingram’s magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2004, recognizing him as one of the most influential business, government, and community leaders in Kansas City.

Mr. Zahnd is the President of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. He has also served as chair of the Missouri Humanities Council and as a member of the executive committee of the William Jewell College Alumni Board of Governors. Prior to his election as prosecuting attorney, he was a member of the Tri-County Domestic Violence Board, and he has chaired an annual fundraising dinner for a local domestic violence and child protection center. He was a delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention and is a past President of the Missouri Association of Republicans.

Mr. Zahnd practiced business litigation with Bryan Cave LLP, Missouri’s largest law firm, prior to his election as prosecuting attorney. He also worked in the Missouri Attorney General’s office and served as a staff assistant to the Governor’s Commission on Crime.

Mr. Zahnd graduated with honors from Duke Law School. He was a member of the Order of the Coif, which recognizes the top 10 percent of law school graduates nationwide. While at Duke, he was editor of a law journal and earned a master’s degree in philosophy. He is the author of an article on Aristotle’s legal philosophy originally published in the journal Law and Contemporary Problems; the article was republished in the book Aristotle and Modern Law.

Mr. Zahnd graduated summa cum laude from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. He was elected president of the college’s student body his senior year and studied at Cambridge University in England his junior year.

Mr. Zahnd and his wife Tracy have been married for more than twenty years. The Zahnds have two sons. Mrs. Zahnd has taught third, fourth, and fifth grade in two public school districts. She has served as PTA president in the Park Hill School District, on the executive committee of Northland Habitat for Humanity, on the board of Tri-County Mental Health Services, and as chairwoman of the Platte County Republican Central Committee. The family attends an area Baptist church, where Mr. Zahnd is a deacon and chair of the Church Council.

Mr. Zahnd is a sixth-generation Missourian. He was raised in Andrew County, where he graduated from Savannah High School first in his class.