Judge Kanatzar earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1989, followed by his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1992. He served as an assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County, Missouri from 1993 to 2000. During that time, he was a trial team leader, chief trial assistant and also served on the homicide committee. He tried numerous cases for the State including drug violations, property crimes, domestic violence, rape, robbery and murder. Judge Kanatzar also worked as an associate for the firm of Armstrong Teasdale in Kansas City from 2000 to 2002. Judge Kanatzar returned to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office in 2002 when he was chosen for the position of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. He became the Jackson County Prosecutor in 2007 and was then elected as Prosecutor in 2008.
Judge Kanatzar was selected by the Missouri Supreme Court to serve on its Regional Disciplinary Committee for the Greater Kansas City area. He was also selected to serve on the Board of Governors for the Missouri Bar and serves on the Criminal Law Committee for the Missouri Bar. Judge Kanatzar is a member of the Kansas Bar, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Eastern Jackson County Bar Association and is a past member of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
He is a recipient of the Louis Lombardo Award for Prosecutor of the Year and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense with its Patriotic Employer Award for his support of the Guard and Reserve forces. Most recently, Judge Kanatzar was honored with the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from Jackson County, Missouri, bestowed on May 4, 2011.
Judge Kanatzar was appointed to the Court by Governor Jay Nixon in 2011.