Small town, high stakes

Anna Wolf serves as small town city prosecutor

The third Wednesday of each month is a busy day for Anna Wolf. That’s the only day the Tonganoxie Municipal Court is in session.

Wolf is the Tonganoxie city prosecutor.

“Everything depends on that one day, and you need to have everything ready,” said Wolf, L’12. “Otherwise, you’re going to go a whole other month before you get another opportunity. It puts a lot of pressure on that one day.”

Wolf is responsible for prosecuting all city ordinance violations, including DUIs, misdemeanors and traffic infractions.

She also performs bench trials, jury trials and other evidentiary hearings; drafts written motions; performs legal research; negotiates with attorneys and defendants; coordinates with court personnel to effectively run the monthly docket; advises the police department on best practices; and interviews witnesses.

Before prosecuting for the city of Tonganoxie, Wolf spent three and a half years as an Assistant District Attorney at the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office. She is most proud of helping victims of child sex crimes.

“It’s incredibly difficult work, and it’s so important to have good prosecutors doing it,” Wolf said. “It’s very time-consuming and emotionally exhausting, but it’s crucial that we have people out there fighting for those kids.”

Wolf fell in love with prosecution after an internship at the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. She enjoys the rapid pace and variety of challenges inherent in the work. “I really like standing up and making an argument in court,” she said. “And I’ve always been interested in public service.”

KU Law’s Trial Advocacy course helped prepare Wolf for a career in prosecution. She said the class taught her how to communicate effectively, structure an argument and understand the rules of evidence.

“You get the ins and outs of what it’s like to be in a courtroom and making an argument,” Wolf said. “It takes a lot of preparation to be comfortable doing that.”

Like many city and county attorneys, Wolf also holds down a full-time law practice. She recently joined Payne & Jones in Overland Park as an associate and prosecutes for the city of Mission. She is excited to further develop her legal skills and experience at the firm.

Long-term, Wolf hopes to become a leader within the legal community — particularly for women, who are still underrepresented in law.

She strives for integrity in all of her legal work. As prosecutors and law enforcement have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, Wolf has focused on trying cases she believes in and holding herself to the highest standards of professionalism.

“I think the most important way to ensure the public has trust in prosecutors,” she said, “is to make sure that you’re doing the best job you can in the most ethical way possible.”

— By Ashley Hocking