Clay County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Clay County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Clay County.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Clay County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Clay County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Clay County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Clay County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Where can I get help for my Clay County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Clay County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Prosecutor in Clay County
In Clay County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Clay County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Missouri. For the most part, the prosecutor in Clay County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Clay County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Clay County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Clay County will take place at the Clay County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Clay County Criminal Court Locations.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Clay County Required Court Appearances
In Clay County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Clay County Criminal Court Locations
James S. Rooney Justice Center
Address: 11 South Water Street, Liberty, MO 64068
Phone: 816-407-3900 Fax: 816-407-3888
Avondale Municipal Court
Address: 3007 Highway 10, North Kansas City, MO 64117
Claycomo Municipal Court
Address: 115 East Highway 69, Claycomo, MO 64119
Phone: 816-452-5539 Fax: 816-452-8872
Excelsior Springs Municipal Court
Address: 301 South Main Street, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
Phone: 816-630-0209 Fax: 816-630-4104
Gladstone Municipal Court
Address: 7010 North Holmes Street, Gladstone, MO 64118
Phone: 816-423-41119 Fax: 816-436-2532
Holt Municipal Court
Address: 315 Main Street, PO Box 170, Holt, MO 64048
Phone: 816-320-3391 Fax: 816-320-2555
Kearney Municipal Court
Address: 100 East Washington, PO Box 797, Kearney, MO 64060
Phone: 816-628-5535 Fax: 816-628-4543
Liberty Municipal Court
Address: 101 East Kansas Street, Liberty, MO 64068
Phone: 816-439-4430 Fax: 816-439-4435
Mosby Municipal Court
Address: 12300 4th Street, Mosby, MO 64073
Phone: 816-628-4875 Fax: 816-628-9941
North Kansas City Municipal Court
Address: 2010 Howell Street, North Kansas City, MO 64116
Oakview Municipal Court
Address: 6404 North Locust, Oakview, MO 64118
Phone: 816-436-9150 Fax: 816-436-2671
Pleasant Valley Municipal Court
Address: 6502 Royal Street, Pleasant Valley, MO 64068
Phone: 816-792-4812 Fax: 816-415-4649
Randolph Municipal Court
Address: 7777 NE Birmingham Road, PO Box 34488, Randolph, MO 64116
Phone: 816-455-0100 Fax: 816-455-9316
Smithville Municipal Court
Address: 107 West Main Street, Smithville, MO 64089
Phone: 816-532-0500 Fax: 816-532-3990