| by Ivan
A former Riverside municipal judge who may have tried to manipulate the legal
system recently on a DWI charge now faces new
trouble with the law.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd on Thursday
charged Charles M. McKeon, 48, with possessing
cocaine after he left the scene of an accident
The new charge comes within two weeks after McKeon
pled guilty to driving while intoxicated and leaving
the scene of an accident in Kansas City Municipal
Zahnd said his office filed the felony charge
against McKeon after receiving reports and a probable
cause statement from the Kansas City, Missouri
As reported in the May 4 issue of The Landmark,
McKeon's DWI charge was supposed to be heard in
state court, not in Kansas City municipal.
Zahnd said, The entire Feb. 26 incident
involving Mr. McKeon was supposed to be handled
as one case filed by my office. Even though that
cannot now occur, we will proceed with the remaining
felony drug possession charge.
According to court documents, McKeon was arrested
Feb. 26 at about 1:25 a.m. following a hit and
run accident at the McDonalds restaurant
located at 64th Street and Prairie View Road in
McKeon allegedly left the restaurant after hitting
another persons vehicle. The victims
brother followed McKeon in another vehicle to
the On the Border restaurant at 8340 Roanridge.
When police arrived, an officer smelled what
court records say was the strong odor of
alcohol on McKeons breath. The officer
also observed McKeon having apparent trouble with
his balance. McKeon refused to take a field sobriety
test but was arrested for suspicion of driving
When police searched McKeons vehicle, they
found an off-white rock-like substance in the
seams of the drivers seat. The substance
tested positive at the scene for cocaine, and,
according to court records, a May 2 report concluded
the substance contained cocaine.
McKeon was taken to the Kansas City Police Departments
North Patrol Detention Facility, where he allegedly
refused to cooperate in any way regarding his
booking or completion of an Alcohol Influence
Court documents indicate McKeon was given the
opportunity to call a lawyer but refused to do
so. He then asked to use a restroom, where he
allegedly started consuming large amounts of water
from the sink in an attempt to disrupt the alcohol
A police officer asked McKeon twice to stop,
but McKeon refused. The officer then grabbed McKeons
arm to pull him away from the sink.
According to court records, McKeon then slammed
his head against the door frame and collapsed
on the floor as if he was injured. He was transported
to St. Lukes Hospital on Barry Road, where
he allegedly pretended as if he was unconscious
while in the presence of any police officer but
would converse and immediately become alert when
police officers left the room.
On two occasions, McKeon allegedly was talking
with medical staff and then suddenly fell back
onto the bed when he saw a police officer.
Court records indicate that toxicology reports
from the hospital showed the presence of cocaine,
marijuana, and alcohol in McKeons system.
According to the records, McKeons blood
alcohol content was .289.
McKeon pled guilty on April 28 to driving while
intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident
in Kansas City Municipal Court, where he received
Zahnd said he was disturbed when he learned of
McKeons guilty plea in city court because
there had been an agreement between Zahnds
office and the municipal prosecutors office
that all matters arising out of that night would
be forwarded to Zahnds office for charges.
Zahnd said, I believed Mr. McKeon was aware
of that decision, and I am disappointed something
else occurred. However, we will now address the
remaining felony cocaine possession charge at
the State level.
City Prosecutor Beth Murano indicated in a written
statement to The Landmark at the time that
she did not know about McKeons municipal
court plea before it occurred.
Our agreement with the Platte County Prosecutors
Office was to file all charges as state cases
through Platte County, Murano said. Without
my knowledge, two cases arising out of the incident
of February 26 were added to the docket last Friday.
Previous news stories have reported that McKeon
had been the judge of the Riverside Municipal
Court for about 12 years until he resigned the
day after his arrest.
Zahnd also said on April 29 his campaign committee
returned a $300 contribution McKeon had made more
than three years ago. Zahnds treasurer returned
the contribution the day after McKeons plea
in municipal court.
Zahnd said he reviewed the Missouri Rules of
Professional Conduct for attorneys and the National
District Attorneys Associations National
Prosecution Standards to determine whether it
was a conflict of interest for him to prosecute
the case. The rules revealed no conflict existed.
Zahnd said, No prosecutor looks forward
to prosecuting a former judge, but I took an oath
to uphold the laws of this state when I took office.
It is a sad day for the entire court system when
a former judicial official becomes a criminal
defendant, but I will do my duty in this case.
A warrant was issued for McKeons arrest,
and his bond was set at $2500. If convicted of
the possession charge, McKeon faces up to seven
years in prison