16th Judicial Circuit
Jalilah Otto was appointed as Circuit Judge in October 2017 by Governor Eric Greitens. Judge Otto had served as an Associate Circuit Judge in Jackson County from 2014-2017. Prior to her appointment to the Court, Judge Otto served as a Chief Trial Assistant for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as a Special Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Judge Otto began her legal career in 2002 as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Lisa White Hardwick of the Missouri Court of Appeals. In 2005, she became an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and was the recipient of the Louis Lombardo Award for Prosecutor of the Year in 2009. She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2010 where she prosecuted large-scale narcotic and gang cases. In 2013, she rejoined the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office as a Chief Trial Assistant while maintaining her role at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At the time of her appointment, Judge Otto was very active in the legal community having served on the Kansas City Commission on Violent Crimes, the Kansas City Municipal Ethics Commission, the Kansas City Youth Court, and the Missouri Bar’s Committee on Minority Issues. In addition, she provided leadership as the President of the Jackson County Bar Association, Chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, and Vice-Chair of the Public Service Committee of the Association of Women Lawyers.
Judge Otto is a native of Kansas City and received her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She also received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Political Science from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Judge Otto has also served as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan Community College - Penn Valley, and National American University.