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Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kline argues ethics case to Kansas Supreme Court

November 15, 2012, 1:40 p.m. Updated November 15, 2012, 5:16 p.m.

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— Former Attorney General Phill Kline told the Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday that he never lied or intentionally misled authorities as he conducted an extensive investigation of abortion providers during his term in office.

The seven-member court heard 90 minutes of arguments from Kline and from attorneys representing the Board of Discipline of Attorneys who recommend that Kline's license to practice law be suspended indefinitely. The disciplinary panel contends Kline repeatedly misled or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a Kansas City-area grand jury, to further his investigations.

"This kind of misconduct would have been prosecuted no matter who the prosecutor was," said Stan Hazlett, the disciplinary administrator.

But Kline's attorney Tom Condit, an Ohio attorney who has represented numerous clients in abortion-related cases in the past 20 years, suggested that the complaint Kline faced wasn't about how he practiced law but who his investigation was targeting.

"I always smile when I hear judges, prosecutors and attorneys saying about a case, 'This isn't about abortion'," Condit said. "Let me tell you, folks, it's always about abortion."

The case was heard by two Supreme Court justices and five lower court judge. Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and four others recused themselves from the hearing because it was their decision in a previous case involving Kline that led to the filing of his ethics complaint.

Kline was Kansas attorney general from 2003 to 2007 and Johnson County district attorney in 2007 and 2008. He is now a visiting professor at Liberty University in Virginia.

Following the hearing, Kline became emotional as he discussed his lifelong interest in the law and service. He said he was confident in the support of his family and faith and that the truth would exonerate him.

"The law is designed and its purpose is to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. Those are the ones who need it. It's what I've learned," Kline said. "Absolutely, it would affect me deeply if I'm not able to do so."

He and Condit declined to say specifically that Kline's charges were politically motivated by those opposed to his stance on abortion.

As district attorney in 2007, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against the Planned Parenthood clinic, accusing it of performing illegal abortions and falsifying records. The last of those charges were dropped in August.

As attorney general, Kline pursued misdemeanor criminal charges against Dr. George Tiller over late-term abortions performed by his Wichita clinic. The case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons.

Kline's successor as attorney general, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, filed other misdemeanor charges against the doctor. Tiller was acquitted in March 2009, two months before being shot to death by man a professing strong anti-abortion views.

Kline began the investigations of both providers just months into his single four-year term as attorney general. The clinics resisted his attempts to get information from patients' medical records, but eventually, the courts allowed him access to edited documents.

The disciplinary panel concluded that efforts by Kline and his aides to mislead other officials began early in the investigations. The panel also said Kline violated rules of professional conduct by appearing on Fox television's "The O'Reilly Factor" just before the November 2006 election to discuss his investigation of Tiller.

Kline argued that it is a common practice of prosecutors and law enforcement not to disclose the targets of investigations — in this situation potential child sexual abusers — while seeking information.

Kline denied that he intentionally lied or misled others in pursuit of his case. He and Condit countered that Hazlett and others built their case by taking snippets of statements over the course of six years out of context to make their allegations.

"There's absolutely no motive," he said.

However, Hazlett said the 14,000 pages in the court record spanning six years showed how Kline and his associates misled state agencies and the judicial system in their pursuit of charges against abortion providers. He said he could divide the case in to numerous parts and the conclusion would be the same.

"It would be fair to say that the findings as to misconduct would merit disbarment," Hazlett said.

Comments

Claudean McKellips 1 year, 5 months ago

How much money have the Kline violations of HIPPA and other shenanigans cost the state of Kansas? Kline belongs in prison for what he did to those women.

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Agnostick 1 year, 5 months ago

Cheryl Sullenger is a convicted domestic terrorist.

Cherly Sullenger was a co-conspirator in the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

I'd like to go into the matter of Sterlite containers filled with abortion records sitting on his dining room table at home. I'd also like to go into the accusation by members of his own office staff that he copied abortion records and shipped them to Lynchburg, VA when he went to Liberty U. I would also like to go into the matter of just HOW Cheryl Sullenger ended up with the records on which she made her initial accusation against Kristin Neuhaus. (Although, if he was willing to show them to Bill O'Reilly and let him wave them around like a Spanish fan, I'm sure he had no problem handing them over to Operation Rescue.)
Something smells rotten in Denmark and it's not stinky fish.

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Agnostick 1 year, 5 months ago

In 2009, Kline's assistant, Eric Rucker, faced his own ethics hearing for making false statements to the State Supreme Court. Rucker had assured the court that the Kline office was not trying to identify the women visiting Dr. George Tiller's abortion clinic. However, the Wichita Eagle newspaper reports that Kline's office...

"...was reviewing the guest list of a Wichita hotel used by patients of George Tiller, and cross checking it with state abortion data. Investigators were also recording the license plates of cars in Tiller’s parking lot in an attempt to identify their owners."

http://blogs.kansas.com/gov/2009/11/23/phill-klines-former-chief-of-staff-hit-with-legal-ethics-complaint/

Phill Kline was intentionally violating federal HIPAA laws... perhaps with intent to cajorle, harass, and intimidate women seeking a legal medical procedure.

Now who's the "creton," rtwngr??

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 5 months ago

By the way, a couple of things to note.
1. The actual recommendation by the disciplinary board (i.e. Stan Hazlett) was not disbarment, it was permanent suspension of Kline's license. This is actually MORE devastating than disbarment as, according to Kansas law, a disbarred attorney can be "rehabilitated" and the license regranted. It's rare and very difficult to do but it HAS been done and is possible. Permanent suspension means just that; the person will never, ever practice law in the state again.
2. Given that Kline has now been a "visiting professor" at Miskatonic U. (oh, excuse me, LIBERTY U.) for over three years, one wonders just how long someone can "visit". I guess it depends on how long the school's administration wants to protect you and keep you on the payroll, huh?

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jonas_opines 1 year, 5 months ago

"I have ethics. I swear! Case closed."

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 5 months ago

News Flash!!!! The Supreme Court will decide the punishment for Kline.

He has been busted!

About damn time!

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autie 1 year, 5 months ago

ahhh, now do not listen to the rantings of the rtwngr. He may be a witch also. If he was to jump into the Kaw, would he float or would he sink? If he floats, he is made of wood, thus a witch..burn him!!!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 5 months ago

The only "evidence" that records were destroyed in some sort of coverup exists only in the rightwing wackosphere, where facts are manufactured as necessary.

Here's a real, factual account of the dismissal of the lawsuit--

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/09/3256411/kansas-judge-dismisses-felony.html

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

Bull manure: Kline was digging into the abortion records for no other reason than to try to provide evidence as a means of closing down abortion providers. He used the cover as rtwngr professes (to protect young girls from rapes from care providers and guardians) which is a valid reason but not his real agenda. Klien held hostage victims, parents, the legal profession and providers by threatening to release the names of these abused youths, regardless of the reason for the abortion procedure. That the records were ultimately destroyed is unfortunate, but given the shady character of Klien it was probably good in the long run. Fortunately, the Stae of Kansas will soon be rid of ths clown. His motivation was a blind acceptance of the dogma of the Catholic Church and it's staid stand on denying the right of women to control their own bodies.

Doubt his character; all you neefd to review is his performance and retribution against professional employees once he became Johnson County D.A. after being tossed out of Topeka!

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rtwngr 1 year, 5 months ago

One more thought. Destroying evidence to provide political cover is no different than framing and innocent person with false evidence in order to send them to jail. Justice is not served in either example. Justice is served when truth has the opportunity to be presented in a public forum. What if prosecutors destroyed DNA evidence that would exonerate a convicted person? Is that justice?

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rtwngr 1 year, 5 months ago

What is missing from this article is the reason the remaining cases were dropped. It was because Sebeilius and her minions got their hands on these records and then had them destroyed. Of course, there were no charges brought for destroying evidence. Additionally, everybody seems to care about the right to obtain an abortion remaining unobstructed but nobody cares that these abortion providers were performing abortions on girls under the age of 14 a lot of the time. No reporting was made to authorities, as required by law, that would enable an investigation into child abuse or rape.

You scream about priests sexually abusing teenage boys, as is right. You care nothing about the young girls that are raped by a care provider or guardian simply because it involves the ability to obtain an abortion. By allowing this behavior, you give these pedophiles cover and enable them every step of the way. This is what Kline was investigating. Would it have shut down these providers? Maybe, but we'll never know because records were later destroyed.

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autie 1 year, 5 months ago

I tell you he is a witch. Burn him!

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blindrabbit 1 year, 5 months ago

Send this sorry, bigoted man back to Jerry Falwell and Liberty University in Olde Virginny.

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