Criminal Law Links & Commentary
White v. McKinley: More Shocking Facts in False Child Molestation Case

White v. McKinley: Must-Read Case of the Year

There is so much going on in Thomas J. White, Jr. v. Detective Richard McKinley (CA8) (here) that writing a post is a struggle. In White v. McKinley, a wife falsely accused her husband of child molestation. The cop she was dating withheld evidence exonerating the husband. At least two prosecutors (Jennifer Mettler and Jill Kanatzar) knew that the cop was having sex with the wife, but didn't disclose this information to the defense.

And I'm only on page 5!  Read this case.

The case gets more disturbing on each page:

White was tried three times in Missouri state courts for the alleged molestationof Jami. At his first trial, the jury convicted White of 12 counts of sexual molestation.

"White learned after the verdict that Tina White and the chief investigator of the alleged crime [McKinley] had been engaged in a romantic relationship. White also learned that the prosecution knew about the relationship for approximately one year but failed to disclose the information to the defense." State v.White, 81 S.W.3d 561, 566 (Mo. Ct. App. 2002).

The Court of Appeals reversed.  White was re-tried:.  

White's second trial resulted in a hung jury—11 jurors in favor of acquittal and one in favor of conviction. 

After violating the law and getting a vote of 11-1 against them, the prosecutors did not seek justice by dismissing charges against White - who remained in prison during the re-trial.  Instead:

At his third criminal trial, in January or February 2005, White was acquitted. Having remained incarcerated post-appeal and throughout the second and third trials, White was released from custody in February 2005.

White spent five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.  How many times was he raped in prison?  The opinion doesn't say, but a Missouri businessman's time in state prison as a convicted child molester is a house of horrors that even envisioning is too terrifying for civilized people.


Detective Richard McKinley remains a police officer in Lee's Summit.  Framing a man apparently doesn't get one fired from the Lee's Summit Police Department. 

What happened to the prosecutors who ruined this man's life?  Don't prosecutors swear an Oath to uphold the law?  What happens when a prosecutor violates that oath, leading to a man's wrongful imprisonment?

Kanatzar is in private practice with Dollar, Burns & Becker, where she is a partner.  Her husband, James Kanatzar is now the Jackson County District Attorney.  Incest is best.  

I am still researching Jennifer Mettler.  If you know where she is, let me know.

The Eighth Circuit did justice in the case by identifying the prosecutors by name.  Thank you Judges Smith, Colloton, and Kornmann (sitting by designation) for not allowing these prosecutors to remain anonymous.  The father and husband whose life was ruined has had his name in the public record.  So, too, should the prosecutors who ruined his life be known to the world.