Karen Kraft retired as Division Director of the Capitol Litigation Division of the Missouri Public Defender System in August of 2016 having served more than 30 years. Karen received her B.A. in History from Xavier University and Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law. After graduating from law school, she worked in the St. Louis City Public Defender’s Office. In1989 Karen joined the team in Capitol Litigation Division and was soon appointed Supervisor handling capital murder cases and supervising an office staff of thirteen. In 1996 she was appointed Division Director where she continued to handle a caseload of capital murder cases, supervised a staff of over 100 in offices across the state and participated in upper-level management decision-making as well as personnel decisions.
Karen has presented at training conferences for the following organizations- Missouri State Public Defender System, Illinois State Public Defender System, Western Trial Advocacy Institute, Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, Bryan Schechmeister Death Penalty College, The Missouri Bar, Missouri Juvenile Justice Association and Missouri Office of State Courts Administration.
Karen serves on the board of the Scottish St. Andrew Society of Greater St. Louis, currently as Secretary, and chaired several of its committees. She has received numerous professional awards including the Clarence Darrow Award, St. Louis University School of Law Lew Kollias Award and recognition from the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Karen lives in University City with her husband Allan Stewart who is a Principal in the law firm of Stewart, Mittleman & O’Rourke, LLC.