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Examiner
  • Albert Riederer remembered as a pioneering prosecutor

  • Flags are at half-staff at Jackson County offices after the death Thursday of Albert Riederer, whose long career included serving as a county legislator, county prosecutor and judge.

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  • Flags are at half-staff at Jackson County offices after the death Thursday of Albert Riederer, whose long career included serving as a county legislator, county prosecutor and judge.
    “Albert’s one of the few people who doesn’t have any enemies in this business. What a good guy,” County Legislator Scott Burnett, D-Kansas City, said last month as friends prepared an “Albert Riederer Recognition & Retirement Gig” in Kansas City.
    Burnett said it was in keeping with Riederer’s commitment to the community that he wanted the event used as a fundraiser for the Bishop Sullivan Center on Truman Road in northeast Kansas City, which feeds hundreds of hungry people five days a week.
    “That money goes to people that are in bad, bad shape,” Burnett said.
    Riederer, 67, died Thursday. He was a county legislator from 1978 to 1980, then served three terms as county prosecutor, from 1981 to 1993. He was a Missouri Court of Appeals judge from 1997 to 1999. He also had a law practice.
    “He wore many hats in this courthouse and always did an honorable job,” longtime Legislator Fred Arbanas, D-Lee’s Summit, said earlier this month.
    Others spoke of his ability to mediate sometimes contentious dealings among county officials.
    “He was always there when we needed him,” said Legislator James D. Tindall, D-Kansas City.
    As prosecutor, Riederer pushed for the county’s anti-drug tax, COMBAT, a quarter-cent sales tax that remains in effect today. Among other things, that tax pays for the Jackson County Drug Task Force, which spearheads the local law-enforcement effort against drugs.
    But Riederer also pushed for such criminal-justice system alternatives as Drug Court – also a COMBAT initiative – which county officials have long hailed as helping first-time offenders turn their lives around, contributing to society instead serving time in costly jails and prisons. Although the trend at the time was to address drugs with more police and prisons, Reiderer argued that ultimately society cannot incarcerate its way out of the problem. Instead, it should be viewed as a public-health issue.
    “Think about how ahead of his time he was with that concept,” County Executive Mike Sanders, himself a former prosecutor, said recently.
    “He’s truly a great man,” Sanders added. “His legacy and footprint are all over this community.”
    The Legislature this month renamed two county buildings – at 1305 and 1315 Locust, near the downtown Courthouse – as the Albert Reiderer Community Justice Complex. Several court and prosecutor’s office workers are in those buildings.
     
     
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