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Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Judge reopens arguments on charges against Tiller

December 27, 2006

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— A judge decided Tuesday to give outgoing Attorney General Phill Kline a chance to resurrect his criminal charges against Wichita physician and abortion provider George Tiller, but Tiller's attorney predicted Kline wouldn't succeed.

Kline alleges Tiller performed 15 illegal late-term abortions in 2003 on patients ages 10 to 22 and failed to properly report details about the procedures to state health officials. Tiller's attorneys call the allegations groundless.

Thirty misdemeanor charges filed by Kline in Sedgwick County District Court were dismissed Friday by Judge Paul W. Clark after District Attorney Nola Foulston argued that Kline didn't have the authority to file a complaint against Tiller without her consent, which she said she wouldn't give.

Kline asked Clark to reconsider, and Clark scheduled a hearing for 2 p.m. today.

Clark said in a one-page notice issued Tuesday that he will consider only whether a district court has the power to keep a prosecutor from dismissing a case and, if so, whether he can revive the case against Tiller.

Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney representing Tiller, said he's confident Clark's earlier dismissal of the charges at Foulston's request will stand. He noted that between them, Clark and Foulston have decades of district court experience, while Kline never served as a county prosecutor before being elected attorney general.

"Kline's lack of any prosecutorial experience regrettably puts him in the position of not knowing the basics of how, when and where to file charges," Monnat said during an interview. "This could be viewed as a basic question of separation of powers: When a prosecutor wants to dismiss a case, what power does a court have to interfere?"

The hearing will come only 13 days before Kline leaves office, having lost the Nov. 7 general election to Paul Morrison, an abortion rights Democrat. Abortion rights advocates had been expecting a move against Tiller by Kline.

Critics such as Morrison accused Kline of letting a personal, ideological agenda drive his decisions. Abortion opponents argued that Tiller, to avoid prosecution, had helped finance advertising aimed at defeating Kline, and they've accused Foulston, also a Democrat, of trying to protect the doctor.

"Tomorrow's hearing will tell if corrupt partisan politics will continue to interfere with justice," said Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.

Kline; Eric Rucker, his chief deputy; and Stephen Maxwell, the senior assistant attorney general on criminal matters, did not return telephone messages Tuesday.

Foulston spokeswoman Georgia Cole said only that the district attorney would participate in today's hearings, declining to discuss how Foulston will answer the judge's questions.

"All our responses, we'll do in court," Cole said.

As for Morrison, spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said he hadn't seen the judge's notice and would await word from Clark's office before deciding what to do. Morrison was in court Tuesday in Johnson County, where he is district attorney, for a sentencing in a murder case.

Clark's decision to have a hearing on a potential prosecution of Tiller came after a flurry of activity late last week. Kline filed his charges Thursday afternoon, alleging that Tiller, among other things, had improperly used patients' mental health concerns to justify late-term procedures.

Kline's complaint didn't become public until Friday, and Clark dismissed the case less than two hours later.

Foulston argued Friday that Kline didn't have the authority to file the case because she didn't invite him to do so or consent to a request from his office.

Kline told reporters Friday that he was surprised by Foulston's actions because they had met Thursday to discuss his plans and she hadn't objected. He also said his office has broad authority and doesn't need Foulston's consent to pursue a case.

Cole declined Tuesday to respond to those comments, saying: "Our office does not respond to accusations, allegations or those sort of things through the media."

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 12 months ago

Phil Kline is like a cockroach. Hard as hell to keep down. I bet that if he lost his head, that he would still survive a week before he died of starvation.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

I like that nickname for him.. "The Cockroach".. very fitting!

Bobo Fleming 7 years, 11 months ago

The attorney general in Kansas is the chief law enforcement officer in the state. He can prosecute in a county whether or not the local DA or County attorney choses to participate. Those are the facts. Now the legal establishment may chose to ignore those facts but they are the facts just the same. I was a country attorney during the days of Vern Miller. He rode around Kansas filing charges where he pleased including Douglas County I didnt like it in my county but there was nothing I could do about it.

KUDB99 7 years, 11 months ago

"The attorney general in Kansas is the chief law enforcement officer in the state. He can prosecute in a county whether or not the local DA or County attorney choses to participate."

That is an incorrect statement.

I'm sure that Vern Miller did go around and file charges all over the state, but no one filed to have those charges dismissed. I also bet that those charges, although a pain, were not nearly as egregious.

Just more proof that Phil Kline is a very dangerous man.

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

Quick, find some RAID, time to exterminate the pest. It's a pretty sad day for Republicans. President Gerald Ford is dead, & yet, instead of remembering him like we should, the PEST (aka KLINE) takes headlines once again over an abortion case that he has NO chance of winning. Phill Kline, instead of going down like a MAN for once, you drag Republicans into the mud with you. Have you no shame, KLINE?! Hey, COWARD, take your losses like a man & shove it where the sun doesn't shine. You're no Republican, you're a wannabe politician with extremist views who has no chance at success. LIVE WITH THAT, Scrooge!

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

The attorney general in Kansas is the chief law enforcement officer in the state. He can prosecute in a county whether or not the local DA or County attorney choses to participate.

No he can't, at least not according to the statute that defines his duties. He's the chief prosecutor at the state level, but can only be the lead prosecutor at the district level if the governor or legislature approve, or if asked to by the county DA. Read the brief, and tell me why the judge decided the way she did if you're right.

http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/da/criminal_media/2006/Brief-%20State%20of%20Kansas%20v%20%20Tiller%2006CR2961.pdf

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeah, parkay, while the murderers of Kansas are roaming free, Kline prosecutes Tiller, oh yeah, that's real justice. Good Luck, Johnson Countians, you're gonna need it! Go jump in a lake, Kline & all Kline supporters, & while you're at it, take your stench with you also, LOSERS!

Frank Smith 7 years, 11 months ago

Kline once again shows that his priority is getting his name in the newspapers and his face on T.V., rather than in actually prosecuting crimes. He's fond of nuisance suits, whether it's dredging up the 15 year old dismissed complaints of his opponent's disgruntled problem ex-employee, or dredging up insupportable charges against a physician. By the way, he's claiming that a 10-year-old should have been forced to bear the child of a rapist. Think of that trauma that having a baby would have been to that young girl. What would you want your daughter, sister or granddaughter to have imposed upon her, in that situation?

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

Kropotkin, that's the problem, the neophytes who voted Kline into office 4 years ago have no brains. Kline wants his name in the news. Guess What? Kline shacks up with Fred Phelps? Quick call the tabloids! Kline is a tabloid story waiting to happen. Thank God Kansas had enough brains to throw this bozo out. Good Riddance to bad rubbish & stench! So long KLINE, & don't forget to pick up your check & don't let the door hit you on the way OUT, you hate filled MONGREL!

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

parkay:

Sedgwick County DA Foulston is lying on court documents and obstucting justice.

WTF? Where's the lie? The DA isn't pulling this stuff out of thin air these decisions exist, the laws are on the books, the judge has looked at it, reporters have looked at and you're the only one I've heard mentioning this. Look at the brief and tell everyone exactly where the lie is, or stop wasting bandwidth!

imastinker 7 years, 11 months ago

Why hasn't anybody said that if these charges are true - they ought to be prosecuted?

I don't know anythig about the case other than the fact that he lost his job over it, so he felt very strongly about it. Whether that is because of his beliefs or because Tiller was breaking the law I have no idea. I do hope that justice is served (and I think the rest of you do too).

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't care what Kline's beliefs are. He doesn't care about the privacy of medical patients. He doesn't care about the people of Kansas, all he cares about is HIMSELF! Take your antics & pollution filled stench of hatred Kline & SHOVE IT!

BigDog 7 years, 11 months ago

"By the way, he's claiming that a 10-year-old should have been forced to bear the child of a rapist."


Where do you get this stuff? That is total crap. Kline wants the crime of rape on a child reported by the clinic as required by law and then convicting the child rapist.

There are things that I disagree with Kline on and some of his tactics. However I do believe that when there are possibilities of crimes, the abortion clinics should absolutely be required to report and if not there should be consequences. This is no different than the requirement of doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, etc. to report suspicions of child abuse to authorities.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

BigDog:

Kline wants the crime of rape on a child reported by the clinic as required by law and then convicting the child rapist.

No, that's not the case at all! To quote the article:

"Kline alleges Tiller performed 15 illegal late-term abortions in 2003 on patients ages 10 to 22 and failed to properly report details about the procedures to state health officials."

The charges were not about the reporting of rape, but about late term abortions, which Kline alleges were illegal. This is why Kropotkin made that comment. Not only that, Kline has yet to bring a single charge with regards to the reporting law that I've seen.

imastinker 7 years, 11 months ago

From your quote it appears that the abortions were illegal, but not prosecuted. If that is the case, then it should be done. If Kline is trying to use the courts to push his agenda, then it is wrong. I hope there is a court that will see the difference.

Do you all know something I don't? Or are everyone jumping to conclusions? I agree with BigDog. If a ten year old had an abortion, then it means that a rape occured. If it was not reported, then a pedophile rapist is running around. But you have to prove the rape occured before you can do anything.

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

That's the thing isn't it? KLINE HAS NO PROOF! He is pulling this stuff out of thin air. Well, Kline is thin air polluting Kansas. ENOUGH already!

BigDog 7 years, 11 months ago

I guess whether they were illegal or not should be determined by the courts. Not by two politicians, Kline and Foulston, or the political organization pushing this issue behind Kline or the one behind Foulston trying to stop it. But it is looking like everything is being done to keep the cases from ever getting to the courts, so we may never know.

imastinker 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't know if he has proof - Do you?

He obviously took some documents before the court.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

Do you all know something I don't? Or are everyone jumping to conclusions? I agree with BigDog. If a ten year old had an abortion, then it means that a rape occured.

Yes, but Kline is not bringing charges about the reporting (or lack thereof), he's saying the abortion itself was illegal and should never have occurred.

I guess whether they were illegal or not should be determined by the courts. Not by two politicians

I agree that the courts would be a good place to find the truth about this, if there was a possibility of wrongdoing, but what if these charges were politically motivated in the first place? Should we move forward with the case anyway, or should politically motivated action be counteracted through political means?

imastinker 7 years, 11 months ago

It's statutory rape until 16. What kind of exception is there? I'm not aware of it.

I don't know how he is going to prove it his case. He hasn't had an opportunity to. What difference will it make if he is wrong?

rhd99 7 years, 11 months ago

Imastinker, Don't you get it? Kline had four years to do it & NEVER TOOK ACTION! Now, he wants to make up time? TOO LATE! I have no time for him or his tax wasting fishing expedition against Tiller. I have no time for KLINE, end of story. I have had it with this idiot!

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