Zahnd faces Marshall for prosecutor’s job

 CODY THORN/Citizen photo Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd talks during a Northland Coalition event on Wednesday, July 18, at Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, Mo. 

CODY THORN/Citizen photo
Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd talks during a Northland Coalition event on Wednesday, July 18, at Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, Mo. 

With only one county-level primary race on the Tuesday, Aug. 7 ballot in Platte County, turnout is likely to be low, but one of the candidates for the Platte County Prosecutor’s office doesn’t appear to be campaigning for the seat at all.

By the end of filing in March, long-time Republican prosecutor Eric Zahnd was facing a challenge from within his own party in state Rep. Nick Marshall, who signed on to that race in the last day of filings. Marshall, of Parkville, was elected to serve those in District 13 in 2010 and will leave the state house due to term limits at the end of the year. Marshall is a practicing private attorney and previously served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jasper County, Mo. The Marshall Law Firm, located in Gladstone, handles workers’ compensation, divorce and family law, criminal defense and traffic tickets.

Since filing for the prosecutor’s post, Marshall has not campaigned, and has not responded to attempts to contact him for a comment on his status in the approaching election.

Zahnd, who was first elected as prosecutor in 2002, is the longest-serving prosecutor in Platte County’s history. He also has the longest tenure of any elected prosecutor currently serving the Kansas City metro.

Zahnd is a past president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and is a member of the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association, where he serves as a member of the legislative committee. In 2014, he was recognized as Missouri’s Prosecutor of the Year and 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.

Earlier this year, Zahnd was reprimanded by the Missouri Supreme Court for personal conduct violations related to the case of Darren Paden, who in 2015 pleaded guilty of sexually abusing a child for more than a decade. Paden’s attorney filed an ethics complaint against Zahnd and assistant prosecutor Chris Seufert in 2016, stating they tried to intimidate those who wrote letters of support for Paden by releasing their names to the media. A disciplinary hearing held late last year found Zahnd in violation of rules of professional conduct and recommended he be reprimanded.

After the decision, the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Missouri Press Association both filed briefs in support of Zahnd’s actions in the Paden case. The mother of Paden’s victim also came out in support of Zahnd.

The Platte County prosecutor’s office employs 11 attorneys and 10 other staff members.