Graves sworn in
as United States Attorney
Todd Graves accepted a call to duty on Monday.
In a late afternoon ceremony at the federal
courthouse in Kansas City, the Platte County Prosecutor
for nearly seven years was sworn in as United States Attorney
for the Western District of Missouri. It was a relatively
quickly-called ceremony attended by family and friends.
President George W. Bush had appointed Graves to the
post several weeks ago, but the appointment had not yet
gone through the process of being confirmed by the U.S.
Senate. Graves' appointment will still need to be approved
by the Senate, but that is seen as a formality at this
"The judges of the federal district court are appointing
me. They wanted me to do this 45 days ago," Graves
said Monday afternoon as he said goodbye to his staff
at the prosecutor's office in Platte City.
Last week's terrorist attack will delay the Senate confirmation
process as U.S. leaders deal with more pressing matters.
Graves explained that he had received assurance from
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan's office that she would
support his nomination when it comes before the full Senate.
Republican U.S. Sen. Kit Bond's support is assured, as
he had submitted Graves' name to the president for consideration.
Graves, who turned 36 on Wednesday, said he had resisted
taking the early appointment for a couple of reasons,
primarily because "I was in a public office and needed
to wrap some things up here."
U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner administered the oath
of office to Graves in an informal proceeding late Monday
afternoon at the Charles Evans Whittaker U.S. Courthouse
in Kansas City. A formal swearing-in ceremony will be
held later, at a date to be determined.
Graves replaces Marietta Parker, who in February was
appointed by U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft to serve as U.S.
Attorney on an interim basis, following the resignation
of the last presidentially-appointed U.S. Attorney, Stephen
L. Hill, Jr. Parker will continue to serve the office
as an assistant U.S. attorney.
Graves was first elected prosecutor in 1994, defeating
incumbent Democrat Vic Peters. At the time, he was the
youngest (age 29) full time prosecuting attorney in Missouri.
He managed an office of six assistant prosecutors and
a yearly caseload of about 400 felonies, 2,500 misdemeanors
and 14,000 traffic offenses.
He was re-elected without opposition in 1998. In 2000
he came out on the short end of a race for state treasurer
to Nancy Farmer.
Prior to serving as county prosecutor, Graves was in
private practice with the law firm of Bryan Cave. In 1991
he was employed as an assistant attorney general for the
state and served that year as a staff assistant on the
Governor's Commission on Crime.
He said he would know more soon.
"I'll have top secret clearance after I'm sworn
in and I'll know more at that time."
In addition, another high profile case facing the U.S.
Attorney's office is that of Robert Courtney, the Kansas
City pharmacist accused of diluting chemotherapy drugs.
Graves will oversee 53 attorneys on his staff in his
new position, up from the six attorneys he managed as
"It's breaking my heart punching out of here. I've
been here almost seven years, I've hired everybody on
this staff. I feel like we've professionalized this office,"
he said, explaining that attorneys in the prosecutor's
office are no longer allowed to have private practices
on the side, eliminating any potential conflicts of interest.
"It's been a great run," he said.
Raised on a family farm near Tarkio, Graves has been married
11 years to his wife, Tracy. They have three children
and reside on a 210 acre farm north of Kansas City that
has been in the family since 1867. Todd and Tracy also
own and operate Noggin Noodle, an educational toy and
teaching supply store on Barry Road in Platte County.
The nation's 93 United States Attorneys are responsible
for the prosecution of federal crimes such as firearms,
narcotics, money laundering, pornography and fraud; the
defense of civil cases brought against the United States;
and the collection of debts owed to the United States
and restitution owed by criminals to their victims.
He decided to go ahead and get started at the U.S. Attorney's
post when recent events convinced him it was time to get
"They have so many high profile cases going on down
there (at U.S. Attorney's office) right now," he
Of utmost importance as he gets started in his new position
find out if there's any role his federal office will need
to play in the investigation of last week's attack on
America by terrorists.
"I have no idea if there are any aspects of the
investigation that tie to this district," he said
about an hour before his swearing-in ceremony.