he number of felony cases filed by the office of Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd has dropped by more than three percent in the past 12 months.
Zahnd gave his annual report to the Platte County Commission on Monday.
Zahnd said from Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018 his office filed 653 felony cases.
That compares to 676 felonies the previous 12 months. That’s a decline of 3.4 percent.
The veteran prosecutor pointed out the county currently has nine pending murder cases, which he said is undoubtedly a record. One of those is a death penalty case.
The county also has many assault cases and other violent crimes pending, he said.
He explained that the violent crimes take additional resources to prosecute and are often slower to move through the court system.
Zahnd, responding to a question later from The Landmark, said he sees no particular reason for the decline in felonies.
“I’m reluctant to draw many inferences from a single-year comparison. Because it is a relatively small change, it could easily be a timing issue regarding when cases are referred to and reviewed by our office. I would like it to be a sign of a longer-term downward trend, but I hesitate to draw that conclusion until we see a few more years,” Zahnd said.
In response to questions from commissioners during his presentation, Zahnd said his office will continue to prosecutor all levels of marijuana offenses in the county.
Recently, the Jackson County prosecutor had announced she will not prosecute some levels of marijuana offenses, in part due to public opinion of marijuana has changed in recent years and in part due to the overwhelming recent passage of medical marijuana by voters.
“In Platte County we will enforce the law. It’s not my job to choose which ones we are going to enforce and which ones we are not,” Zahnd said.