About Judge Larry Butcher
Larry Butcher was born in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1942. His father was a trucker; his mother a homemaker. He had an older brother and a younger sister. Larry was a 1960 graduate of Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas, and he attended Kansas City, Kansas Community College for two years before entering Kansas University in 1962. He was graduated from K.U. in 1964 with a B.S. in Business Administration. Although a Missouri resident since 1966, he remains to this day a Jayhawk at heart.
After graduating from K.U. Larry took a job as a sales representative for Black & Decker Power Tools, and he married Peggy Green in late 1964. They had two sons, both of whom live in San Diego, California. Larry entered law school in 1966 at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. While in law school he served as president of the Student Bar Association, and he was a twice published member of the law review staff (Note, Evidence – Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Automobile Accident Reconstruction, 36 U.M.K.C.L. Rev. 402 (1968); Comment, The Privilege Against Self Incrimination – The Scope and Application of Miranda, 37 U.M.K.C.L. Rev. 260 (1969). He was also a member of the school’s National Moot Court team and he was admitted to The Order of Bench and Robe, having finished fourth in his class of fifty-eight. During law school Larry clerked at the Office of the United States Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, and following graduation, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he went to work in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.
While in Washington, Larry tried over twenty federal felony cases and wrote briefs and argued in several of the United States Courts of Appeal. See, e.g., United States v. Hamling, 481 F.2d 307 (9th Cir. 1973), affirmed 418 U.S. 87 (1974). He returned to Kansas City three years later to enter private practice. During his legal career in the Kansas City area Judge Butcher has primarily been a trial lawyer, working for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, serving as Vice President and General Counsel for Cameron Mutual Insurance Company and trying a number of railroad injury cases.
In 1983 Judge Butcher married Julie Shafer of Columbia, Missouri, and they have an adult son, Brandon. In 1984 Judge Butcher and his wife moved to Kearney and in 1990 he opened his law office there. Judge Butcher is a self described “country lawyer” and he remains in practice today. He was appointed to serve as Kearney’s Municipal Judge in 1994, and he attended his first MMACJA Annual Courts Conference in 1995. He was elected to the Association’s Board of Directors in 1998 and served as president of the association in 2005-2006. His first project for the association was to chair the committee on forms, with the eventual publication of the MMACJA Forms Book which was distributed at the Annual Courts Conference in 2001. Judge Butcher received a commendation from the association at the 2001 conference for his effort on the Forms Book.
Both prior to and following his term as president of the association, Judge Butcher either chaired or co-chaired the Spring Seminar Committee for the nine years between 2004 and 2012. For all but one of those years he was responsible for the preparation of the Annual Case Law Update section of the seminar materials. It was said by association members that the quality, organization, and presentation of the Spring Seminar materials made great improvement under Judge Butcher’s oversight, beginning with the 2004 materials and followed by the course materials over the next eight years. Judge Butcher has also been a regular presenter of various topics at the Spring Seminars from 1999 to date.
In 2007 Judge Butcher was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to serve on that Court’s Municipal Judge Education Committee. He served ably until his term expired on December 31, 2012, making presentations to new incoming judges in every year of his service on that committee.
For health reasons Judge Butcher reduced his participation in judicial education efforts in late 2012, although happily, his health is now improved and continues to improve. He remains on the Municipal Bench in Kearney where he intends to serve the next few years until his mandatory retirement at age seventy-five. The MMACJA Board of Directors on March 23, 2013 unanimously approved Judge Butcher’s nomination as the sixth recipient of the George Pittman Award. He accepted the award with humility and gratitude at the 2013 Annual Courts Conference.