Honorable Ardie A. Bland – Presiding Judge
Megan Pfannenstiel – Court Administrator
The Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Court is located in the heart of downtown Kansas City. This three-story building is on the southeast corner of 11th and Locust between City Hall and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department headquarters.
The Traffic Violations Bureau is open from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. The court room docket times are 9:00am, 10am, 11am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm.
About the court
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 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 Court has eight (8) full-time judges, a Court Administrator, and approximately 65 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 350,000 cases annually. As a “limited jurisdiction court,” the 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, DUIs, and parking tickets)
• General ordinance violations (e.g., trespass, assault, disorderly conduct)
• Domestic cases (e.g., family violence, child abuse)
• Building code violations (e.g., insufficient property maintenance, weeds, trash)
Our esteemed judges, who are at the helm of our Court’s operations, are appointed by the Mayor and City Council through a merit selection system that requires voter approval every four years. A clerk and bailiff are assigned to each judge. While each full-time judge handles many types of cases, some of our full-time judges also preside over specialized courts: Mental Health Court, Drug Court, Veterans Court, Domestic Violence Court, and Housing Court.
Our Court is not a court of record. In Municipal Court, anyone who wishes to appeal the outcome can request a new trial in a court of record (i.e., the circuit courts of Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties). 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. Prison sentences may not exceed six months. Our Court does not settle questions of civil money damages.
Like many other courts, the 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.