Archive for Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clinics baffled by Kline’s remarks on inquisition

September 16, 2006

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— An investigation into two abortion clinics has widened and led to prosecutions, according to Atty. Gen. Phill Kline.

But attorneys for the clinics say they are baffled by Kline's pronouncements. Their clients have done nothing wrong, they say, and add that Kline needs to watch what he says in light of orders from the Kansas Supreme Court to stay tight-lipped about the probe.

"It is inappropriate for any attorney involved in this process to use the process with the media as a way of gaining attention," said attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, of Topeka.

Kline's campaign, however, defended Kline making statements related to the inquisition.

"Everything that the attorney general has stated is part of the public record," said his campaign spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones. "You just need to know where to look."

The case file, however, has been sealed by the district court.

Live birth cases?

While most reports of the investigation have focused on Kline's attempt to get medical records of women and girls who had abortions, Kline emphasized to reporters recently that the probe also includes the records of live births.

"The inquisition is broader than what you guys know about," Kline said.

The war of words has escalated amid a rough campaign between Kline and Democrat Paul Morrison about an investigation that has gained national attention and been argued before the Kansas Supreme Court.

In September 2004, Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson subpoenaed 90 records at Kline's request from clinics operated by George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who performs abortions, and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. The secret inquisition was made public when the clinics asked the Kansas Supreme Court to block the subpoenas.

Kline said he was investigating allegations of child rape and illegal late-term abortions. The clinics accused Kline, an ardent opponent of abortion, of going on a fishing expedition and trying to intimidate women from getting abortions.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to Anderson, directing him to ensure that patients' privacy rights are maintained before the medical records can be reviewed.

Kline's political challenger, Morrison, has said the investigation is an example of Kline using the office to advance his own political agenda. Morrison frequently states that investigation has produced no criminal prosecutions.

But in a debate last week in Lawrence, Kline said prosecutions have resulted from the inquisition. He promised an update, but was not specific on when.

On Thursday, Kline said the inquisition has led to criminal referrals of cases in Illinois, New York, Missouri and six Kansas counties.

But Jones said Kline will not reveal further details.

"He is not drawing attention to a particular case. These are cases about child rape. To bring attention where this case took place, it could be in a small community where everyone knows everybody. He will not release that information in order to prove a point," she said.

Irigonegaray, who represents both clinics, and attorney Lee Thompson, who represents Tiller's clinic, said there have been no prosecutions involving their clients.

Keeping quiet

The attorneys also noted that the state Supreme Court has told everyone involved in the legal battle to keep quiet.

The clinics had earlier wanted Kline held in contempt of court for releasing information about the investigation.

The court declined, though it noted Kline's "initial defiant tone" and warned all attorneys in the case to hold their tongues because of the publicity surrounding the case.

"We caution all parties to resist any impulse to further publicize their respective legal positions, which may imperil the privacy of the patients and the law enforcement objectives at the heart of this proceeding," the court said.

Anderson's office said there was nothing in the case before Anderson that could be viewed publicly.

But Jones maintains that since Kline has not focused on details of the cases, he has abided by the court's directives.

Comments

emtid4u 8 years, 7 months ago

There needs to be a Grand Jury conveined and Kline needs to indited. Kline has violated court orders and needs to be held accountable.

Furthurmore the U.S. Attorney General need to prosecute Kline for the numerous constitutional violations he has commitied, and the HIPPA violations he committed.

He has no right and has violated his Oath of Office.

Jeff Barclay 8 years, 7 months ago

It is nice to see that this reporter does not have an agenda...

Lethargic_Bureaucrat 8 years, 7 months ago

Any criminal prosecutions that would have resulted from the inquisition would be matters of public record. The fact that he is unwilling to identify them is a strong indicator there aren't any.

Kline's claims that he is investigating "child rape" need to be put into context. People need to understand that when Kline talks about "child rape," he includes within his definition of "child rape" a 15 year old having consensual sex or engaging in any sexual conduct with another 15 year old. (In Kansas, it is a felony to have sex or sexual conduct with a 15 year old, even if the partner is of like age and it is consensual.) However ill advised we as parents and adults may think that it may be for teens to do this, it is normal and common.

Kline's claims that he is investigating illegal late term abortions also need to be put into context. Planned Parenthood, one of the two initial targets of the inquisition, does not perform late term abortions.

Kline's holy war, is not just against late-term abortion, it is against all abortion. And his holy-war is not just against abortion, it is against normal adolescent sexual conduct.

BrianR 8 years, 7 months ago

Interesting how the AG has so much trouble obeying the law.

coldandhot 8 years, 7 months ago

When will the Jounral World hire a reporter that covers political stories that isn't as biased as Rothschild?

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

Lethargic_Bureaucrat, At first glance I wanted to believe that you really don't know what you're talking about when you say Kline "is against normal adolescent sexual conduct." But I think you do.

You know that Kline has stated repeatedly that he will not prosecute teenagers having sex with teenagers. He is trying to stop the 40 year-old sleazeball from sexually abusing someone like my granddaughter.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 7 months ago

""The inquisition is broader than what you guys know about," Kline said."

""He is not drawing attention to a particular case. These are cases about child rape. To bring attention where this case took place, it could be in a small community where everyone knows everybody. He will not release that information in order to prove a point," she said."

But he will mention the cases to further his political career.

Kline is a radical ideologue who is using the AG position to target practices that are legal but that go against his fundamentalist ideology.

What's next? Will Kline will start a trumped-up investigation of high school science teachers?

Jamesaust 8 years, 7 months ago

Two points:

Kline's comments are improper period. Must the courts mandate a stock answer on this subject for him with a jailcell waiting for his defiance? ("This matter is under review and I am forbidden to comment.") Since the matter is sealed, both Morrison, his opponent, and journalists like the one here are incapable of disputing Kline's claims. Kline might just as well claim "secret" knowledge that his opponent has a long record of x, y, or z, but conveniently cannot reveal his evidence right now.

Also, even if Kline's purported goals are true and in fact turn out to reveal significant criminal activity, Kline's initial (unreformed by the courts) actions remain 100% unconstitutional. I'm quite certain that if all constitutional protections of the INNOCENT were tossed aside, the criminal acts of the GUILTY would be revealed. Constitional rights - like the right to privacy - exist to protect the INNOCENT, even if the guilty also benefit. If Kline has credible claims of criminal activity, he is free to seek a warrant from the courts - impartial courts that can balance the public's right to justice with the innocents' rights: not a power-mad, religious zealot masquerading as a public official.

Lethargic_Bureaucrat 8 years, 7 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight,

He will not prosecute them because he knows he could not get a conviction, and he would be the laughing stock of the legal profession (although he already is.)

Kline has stated that he will prosecute medical professionals who do not report knowledge of voluntary sexual conduct by teens. Kline is attempting to intimidate the medical professionals and prevent them from distributing contraceptives, to which minors have a Constitutional right.

And it's not just medical professionals who need to be worried. The list of mandatory reporters is much broader, and includes teachers. Virtually anyone who works with minors is at risk of prosecution if they become aware of any sexual conduct by the teens and do not report it.

Phill's formal A.G. opinion states that he considers all sex and sexual conduct by teens 15 and under child abuse. That's an absurd statement. It has been enjoined by the courts. It is not based on the law. It is based upon his extreme and warped religious beliefs.

Kline's repeated attempts a justification of his inquisition make no sense. He claims he's investigating late term abortions, when he subpoenas a clinic that does not provide them. He claims he's investigating "child rape," when most of the records concern adult women. He claims the inquisition has led to prosecutions, when in fact no names have yet been disclosed in the inquisition, and he cannot identify a single criminal case.

Kline's attitudes to contraception, abortion, evolution, and normal sexual conduct, place him in a political category that can only be described as the American Taliban.

By the way SettingTheRecordStraight, what is your position in Kline's campaign staff?

ronwell_dobbs 8 years, 7 months ago

Well, don't anyone worry. When Sam (2.5%) Brownback takes the oath in early 2009 he'll install Kline as Attorney General to inflict the entire nation.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

Lethargic B, I'm not on Kline's campaign, but it seems likely that you're on Paul Morrison's.

63BC 8 years, 7 months ago

Dude, it's spelled "indicted."

Sheesh.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 7 months ago

Think about it. Kline, once again, is getting coverage in the newspapers and on tv-- TONS OF COVERAGE. He's getting more and more people taking a look at his issues, his office, his message, etc. Paul Morrison could only wish for such media airtime.

And Kline won't shy away from speaking at churches, even after a supposedly damaging memo about his strategy is leaked. What we have are stories about Kline speaking to churches even AFTER the memo was leaked. Kline isn't running from his church strategy; he's EMBRACING it. He hasn't stopped speaking at churches; he'll probably speak at MORE. He hasn't apologized for the memo; he's STOOD BY it.

And coverage like this, in Kansas, is good. Very good. Except for the few bloggers who hate Kline's guts and always will, at the end of the day who's going to fault a fellow for speaking at a church??? C'mon. When Joe and Jane Anybody sit down and think about Kline's plan to speak to congregations, they will understand that Phill is simply a Christian elected official reaching out to other Christians in a campaign year.

Oh, and Kline's comment about Tiller's "blood money?" Another brilliant move. Most people don't know George Tiller performs third trimester abortions right here in Kansas, but they will now. And most don't know that in 2002 George Tiller spent HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars to beat Phill Kline in his race for AG. But they will now.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Phill Kline is one incredibly smart guy.

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