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Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2011

Panel: Suspend ex-AG Kline’s law license in Kansas

October 13, 2011

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— A professional ethics panel recommended Thursday that former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline have his state law license suspended indefinitely over his conduct during criminal investigations of abortion providers, saying he was “motivated by dishonesty and selfishness.”

The three-member panel of the state Board for Discipline of Attorneys said Kline repeatedly misled other officials or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a Kansas City-area grand jury, to further investigations of abortion providers. The panel also said Kline made a false statement to the office investigating the misconduct claims against him and even attempted to mislead the panel itself as it considered his case.

Kline has strongly disputed the allegations against him and called the complaint politically motivated.

“I upheld my duty, upheld my oath of office and the integrity of my profession,” Kline said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “I will continue to speak and stand for the truth and for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

“My ‘mistake’ was my willingness to investigate politically powerful people and to let that investigation go where the evidence led,” he said.

The panel determined some allegations in a complaint against Kline didn’t represent violations of the state’s rules for attorneys. Those included key criticisms of Kline and his subordinates over their handling of abortion patients’ private medical records.

Yet the panel concluded Kline “engaged in a pattern of misconduct” while serving as Kansas attorney general in 2003-07 and as Johnson County district attorney for two years after he lost his bid for re-election to the state office.

“The Respondent’s (Kline’s) dishonest and selfish motives aggravate the misconduct in this case,” the panel wrote in its 184-page report. “The Respondent failed to take any responsibility for his misconduct.”

No loss of license

The recommended sanction from a three-member panel of the state Board for Discipline of Attorneys reflects the board’s belief that Kline repeatedly violated the state’s rules for attorneys. It stopped just short of recommending that he lose his law license, something state Disciplinary Administrator Stanton Hazlett had proposed in pursuing the case.

Hazlett didn’t comment on the panel’s decision, only summarizing its contents and noting that the Kansas Supreme Court will have the final say on whether Kline will face sanctions. It will be at least six months before the court hears Kline’s case.

An attorney whose license is indefinitely suspended can file a petition to have it reinstated, but such an action by the court is rare.

Kline’s investigations of the late Dr. George Tiller, of Wichita, and a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park led to criminal charges. Tiller eventually was acquitted; the Planned Parenthood case is pending.

Kline is now a visiting assistant law professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., founded by late evangelist the Rev. Jerry Falwell. His Kansas law license has been inactive since October 2010.

Case history

Though Hazlett brought the complaint to the board, Kline has long faced fierce criticism from abortion providers, abortion rights advocates, Democrats and even some fellow Republicans. The allegation that the Johnson County district attorney’s office misled a grand jury, empaneled in 2007 to review evidence against the Planned Parenthood clinic, came from the group’s presiding juror.

Abortion opponents, however, have called the disciplinary process unfair. Five of the seven Kansas Supreme Court justices were appointed by Democratic governors who supported abortion rights, and the court suggested in 2008 that Kline’s conduct could warrant sanctions. Kline also noted that the Supreme Court appointed Hazlett and the disciplinary board members.

As district attorney, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against the Planned Parenthood clinic in 2007, accusing it of performing illegal abortions and falsifying records. The clinic says the allegations are baseless, but a hearing to determine whether the case goes to trial — long delayed by legal disputes — is set for Oct. 24-26 in Johnson County District Court.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 3 months ago

A different panel would find a result 180 degrees the other way. You can get anyone to say or conclude anything depending on who picks the panel.

The libs complain about chasing witches and squandering tax dollars when it does not suit them.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 3 months ago

Its like looking in a mirror eh Agnosknoweverything

guess_again 3 years, 3 months ago

Not even close, Mr. Both Ways:

Kline clearly lied to judges and courts. And he got caught by his very own words. His words are in his testimony and his letters and emails. He lied. Multiple times. It is all in the record. It is an interesting read:

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/256312/kline-final-hearing-report.pdf

SnakeFist 3 years, 3 months ago

"A different panel would find a result 180 degrees the other way."

So nothing will get you to admit Kline was dirty, huh? If this is how you deny ever being wrong, you must work full time creating rationalizations for yourself.

jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like you're a fan of moral relativism, and of having it both ways, from the tenor of this post.

cheers, then.

jackdaniels 3 years, 3 months ago

When the new evangelical Taliban takes over he'll be the one responsible for checking everyone's church attendance records. And he's just the slimy little weasel for the job.

rtwngr 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah? Well, you and Agnostik just made the list, pal.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

It's too bad that the judiciary in Kansas has become so liberal and pro-abortion. Kline was only trying to protect women and children in Kansas he was motivated by love for those who were being abused! Mr. Kline will one day be vindicated for those who are pursuing him in this witch hunt wanting to let Planned Parenthood off the hook for their crimes and destroy the prosecutor!

Corey Williams 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

rtwngr 3 years, 3 months ago

All of you compassionate liberals with all of your feel good attitudes really make the day. I don't think there I have ever seen such hate filled speech. You call us theocrats, taliban, and Lord knows what else under your breath.

Let me ask you this: What do you call a father that marches his 12 or 13 year old daughter into an abortion clinic to remove the proof of his sexual control of her. Who speaks for her? You, Agnostik? You, Corey Williams or you, Jesse Crittenden? You're so sanctimonious in your attitudes about Phill Kline but what have you done to stop it? You weep for George Tiller but he made millions while failing to report obvious cases of statutory rape and child molestation. You preach about rights but you don't give a whit about the rights of children that cannot escape these situations because the safeguards that are in place to protect them only work if those that they regulate adhere to them. The only thing George Tiller ever adhered to was the almighty dollar. That's your hero.

ProfessorSeamus 3 years, 3 months ago

The problem so many of us, from all ends of the political spectrum, have with General Kline is his dishonesty. He is in trouble here because he lied, repeatedly, to the courts. No matter the subject matter it is simply not okay to tell the court you are not looking for personal identification when you actually are seeking and recording that information. It is not okay to tell the court you are protecting sensitive, private, medical records "under lock and key" and then leaving them in your car or dropping them off at Kinko's. Remember, these are the records of the women Kline is "trying to protect" because of his "love" according to kansasjayhawk. Yet he took absolutely no care to protect their privacy, none. If Kline's only motive was to protect the victims of child abuse and statutory rape, why did he only investigate those victims who had an abortion? Why didn't he extend his investigation to hospitals and ob/gyns who helped underage women give birth? Surely there is as much evidence those girls were abused as there is for the girls who had abortions. So who is speaking for those inncent victims? Because Mr. Kline did not attempt to do so. His only focus was on three abortion clinics rather than the scors of hospitals were underage girls may have given birth. It seems obvious there would have been many more victims to protect by examining hospital records. Yet General Kline chose to ignore those vicitms and spend his time, and the state's resources, gathering all of the informaiton he could on patients at the abortion clinics. That seems to strongly suggest his motive had little to do with "protecting" these victims and much more to do with furthering his own personal agenda - no matter how many times he had to lie to do it.

jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

"I don't think (sic: that) I have ever seen such hate filled speech."

Then you're not looking very hard.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

"Kline is now a visiting assistant law professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., founded by late evangelist the Rev. Jerry Falwell. His Kansas law license has been inactive since October 2010."

Busy training a whole new crop of American Taliban lawyers to be “motivated by dishonesty and selfishness.”

Beelzebub 3 years, 3 months ago

Phill Kline, Attorney General for Jesus Christ, says “I will continue to speak and stand for the truth..."

pace 3 years, 3 months ago

It is a matter of law, Kline did not care about law, he had his agenda. I am sorry that so many people think they can use tax payer money to block citizens from their rights. I am sure they feel any thing they do as long as it feeds their side is ok. Klline took an oath, broke it, Teas and antichoice zealots have their hands on our tax money and are making bad law.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 3 months ago

It is good to hear that Kilne's conduct has been thoroughly investigated, and he has been found to have lied, behaved unethically, and abused the power of his office.

Suspending his law license in Kansas is a good start.

woodscolt 3 years, 3 months ago

Suspending his law license is not near enough. He is a habitual criminal and should be prosecuted as such. This would properly take care of his law license . These right wing wacko american talibon extremests are self anointed pretend christians and pretend god is on their side so therefore they are above the law. Lock em up.

beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

It isn't a matter of whether or not someone agrees with Kline's intentions, it is a matter of if he went beyond the limits of the law. The law protects all of us, and isn't there to be ignored at the whim of a politician. It is a shame to see people thinking it is okay for an elected official to break the law just because they agree with that person's views.

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