John O’Connor practices primarily in the area of general criminal law, white collar crime, and complex criminal litigation. During his career he has tried more than 165 criminal jury trials.
He began his law career as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Jackson County, Missouri. He was promoted to trial director where he supervised 40 attorneys and handled a major felony criminal trial docket. In 1987, he entered private practice.
Outside of the courtroom, John is a frequent speaker at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Training Academy.
His legal expertise and long law career have not gone unnoticed. In 1984, John received the “Louis Lombardo Prosecutor of the Year Award.” In 1986, he was awarded the Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award, an award presented by the Missouri Bar Foundation to an outstanding trial lawyer in Kansas City for “outstanding expression of the qualities of professional competence, industry, integrity, and courtesy indicative of a trial lawyer.” John also holds an AV Preeminent rating with Martindale Hubbell, which represents the “highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.”
SIGNIFICANT CASES AND RESULTS
April 2017, Smithville, Missouri real estate agent charged in Wyandotte County District Court with First Degree Murder in 27 year old cold case. The defendant, if convicted, was facing a life sentence. After a Motion Hearing to Exclude Certain Evidence and a Preliminary Hearing, District Court Judge dismissed the Murder Charge against the defendant.
Daughter Charged with Murder 1st Degree of her mother and facing a Life sentence without the possibility of parole is Found Not Guilty by a Jasper County Jury. Case featured on Oprah Winfrey Show.
Court TV “FBI STING MURDER TRIAL” Nationally televised trial, Nancy Grace gives John an A+.
Local liquor store owner charged with Second Degree Murder and Armed Criminal Action facing 2 Life sentences is Found Not Guilty by a Jackson County Jury. Case Featured in Kansas City Star Magazine Article “Man in the Streets”. See the KC Star Article here..
Navy Seal Charged with Class A felony of Assault First Degree, Kidnapping, and Armed Criminal Action facing 2 potential Life sentences and 15 years, Found Not Guilty by a Buchanan County Jury.
Police Officer working off duty involved in a shooting incident and charged with Murder Second Degree and facing a potential Life sentence Found Not Guilty by a Jackson County Jury.
Kansas City Councilwoman charged with Assault of a Police Officer and facing a potential 15 year sentence Found Not Guilty by a Jackson County Jury.
Decorated Army veteran Charged with Assault First degree and Armed Criminal Action against Kansas City Police Officers and facing 2 potential Life sentences Found Not Guilty by a Jackson County Jury.
Kansas City teenager Charged with Involuntary Vehicular Manslaughter facing a potential 15 year sentence Found Not Guilty by a Jackson County Jury
Kansas City, Missouri Police Deputy Chief charged with Sexual Harassment. As a result of John’s investigation was Reinstated with Back Pay and Full Benefits.
Independence Missouri Fire Captain charged with First Degree Assault and facing a potential 15 years imprisonment in Jackson County. As a result of John’s investigation the Charge was Dismissed.
College bound Scholar Athlete was charged with Murder Second Degree and Armed Criminal Action in Jackson County and facing 2 potential Life sentences. As a result of John’s investigation and proving the Police had the wrong person charged, All Charges were Dismissed the real perpetrator was subsequently charged.
Kansas City Man charged with 5 counts of First Degree Murder and facing 5 Life sentences without parole in Firebombing Arson of a residence. As result of John’s extensive investigation All Charges were Dismissed. The Case was in the “Star Magazine” article in the Kansas City star.
Members of a Professional Football team in Kansas City for a game and were accused of Forcible Rape in Jackson County and facing potential Life sentences. As a result of John’s investigation and the deposition of the alleged victim Prosecutors they were Cleared of All Charges.
Ray County Man was Indicted in 30 a year old cold case with the 2 counts of First Degree Murder in the deaths of his wife and daughter was facing 2 Life Sentences Without the Possibility of Parole. As a result of John’s investigation and depositions of witnesses All Charges were Dismissed.
Milan Missouri man was charged in Federal Court in the Western District of Missouri with Arson and Insurance Fraud. As a result of John’s investigation All Charges were Dismissed.
Johnson County Kansas Man was charged with Federal Bank Robbery and Use of a Weapon in a Crime of Violence in the Federal District of Kansas and facing a 30 year sentence. After a Trial By Jury, the Jury was unable to agree on defendant’ s guilt. The Judge declared a Hung Jury. After the Hung Jury a plea was negotiated with the Government and the Bank Robbery Charge was Dismissed and the Defendant pled Guilty to 5 years on the gun charge. Case Featured in Missouri Lawyers Weekly article “ John O’Connor Challenges Fingerprint Identification”.
PRIOR WORK EXPERIENCE
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and Trial Director, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
J.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 1982
M.S. in Criminal Justice Administration, Central Missouri State University
B.A., Avila College
HONORS & AWARDS
Best Lawyers In America 2005-2019
Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar Crime and Criminal Defense: White Collar Crime 2005-2018
Best Lawyers in America’s 2013 Kansas City, MO Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar Crime “Lawyer of the Year”
American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 Lawyers in Missouri 2007-2018
Kansas City Magazine “Super Lawyers” Top 100 Lawyers 2005-2016
Kansas City Business Journal “Best of the Bar” Kansas City’s Top Attorneys as rated by their peers 2002-2016
Ingram’s Magazine Kansas City “Best Lawyers in Kansas City” 2009 – 2018
I-435 Magazine “Best Lawyers in Kansas City,” 2013-2018
Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award, Missouri Bar Foundation 1986
Louis Lombardo Prosecutor of the Year Award, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office 1984
AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
Star Magazine of the Kansas City Star feature article “Man in the Streets”
Court TV “FBI Sting Murder Trial” Nancy Grace gives John an A+
Missouri Lawyers Weekly article, “False Impressions”: John O’Connor Challenges Fingerprint Identification
U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
American Trial Lawyers Association
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
Missouri Bar Association