Archive for Monday, November 19, 2012

Attorney fired over tweets during Kline hearing

November 19, 2012


— A Kansas appeals court attorney was fired Monday after using foul language about the state's former attorney general in comments she posted to Twitter last week.

Sarah Peterson Herr, a research attorney for a Kansas Court of Appeals judge, posted the comments about former Attorney General Phill Kline while he was appearing before the Kansas Supreme Court as part of an ethics investigation.

One tweet commented on Kline's facial expression, saying "Why is Phil Klein (sic) smiling? There is nothing to smile about, douchebag." Another predicted that Kline would be disbarred by the court for seven years for his conduct.

The Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether Kline's law license should be indefinitely suspended for his conduct during investigations of abortion providers. The comments appeared around 10 a.m. Thursday when Kline was standing before the seven-member court answering questions about his conduct while he was attorney general and Johnson County district attorney.

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Monday that Herr had been fired and that her case had been referred to other offices for possible ethical violations.

Messages left for Herr weren't immediately returned.

Tom Condit, who represented Kline during his ethics hearing, has called for an independent investigation of the judicial branch, saying that he believes the attitudes expressed by Herr permeate the entire court system. Condit didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

Herr had worked for Court of Appeals Judge Christel Marquardt since 2010, with a promotion to research attorney in 2011.

She was suspended with pay on Friday, the same day she apologized for making the comments publicly. Herr said she failed to realize her posts were readable by all Twitter readers and she understood her posts may have reflected badly on the state's court system.

Court spokesman Ron Keefover said he couldn't disclose details of the investigation that led to Herr's firing, including where she was when the tweets were posted or if she was in the building during the hearing. Court rules regarding judges and justices commenting on pending cases extend to the judicial branch staff.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

Herr said she failed to realize her posts were readable by all Twitter readers. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Yea right, smart enough to pass the bar and represent others. She is a liar and should be fired.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"too stupid to realize only twits post on twitter"

That's a broad statement for someone who twits here so often.

Shelley Bock 5 years ago

Bad move on her part and bad situation for the Court, but you all are anonymous vultures.

streetman 5 years ago

Kline had a duty to enforce the law -- and tried. He had an obligation to investigate phony, later-term abortion maternal mental health claims made in a very suspicious manner, and to investigate those who stone-walled providing the information. He was doing what he was empowered to do by those who were elected to state government. It's not wise to pick and choose what laws to enforce.

Cait McKnelly 5 years ago

She didn't lose her license to practice law. She just got fired from a job.

beatrice 5 years ago

dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb (imagine it to the tune of Dragnet)

I wonder if the judge will ask her to write a letter of apology?

brewmaster 5 years ago


He/she is unethical. He/she is a lawyer.

He/she is dishonest. He/she is a lawyer.

He/she is untrustworthy. He/she is a lawyer.

He/she is sleazy. He/she is a lawyer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Bad career move if she wants a mainstream legal career.

"Tom Condit, who represented Kline during his ethics hearing, has called for an independent investigation of the judicial branch, saying that he believes the attitudes expressed by Herr permeate the entire court system."

Well, yea, that's because he really is a douchebag.

volunteer 5 years ago

Well, there was that time Lawson Nuss, now Chief Justice, commuted acts referred to as the Nuss Fuss.

Pepe 5 years ago

This has nothing to do with whether Kline is or isn't a POS -- it is irrelevant in determining whether what she did was wrong. The reason she was fired (and correctly so) is that she tweeted her personal opinion regarding a case pending before the appellate courts. By making these statements, she essentially helped Kline's defense by setting up this "bias" argument. She should be fired for her idiotic lack of judgment, if nothing else.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

You win first prize. And second, third, fourth and fifth. I can't stand Kline, and this lady, by virtue of her ill timed anal cranium inversion, has given him yet another empty argument.

riverdrifter 5 years ago

It's known as a recto-crainial inversion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

She got fired because her comments drew negative attention to her boss. But since her boss is not involved in Kline's hearing and subsequent adjudications, it should have no effect on whatever decisions are reached.

streetman 5 years ago

This event is impressive -- first I have EVER heard of a government employee at any level get quickly canned. It's rare for ANY government employee to get fired for anything -- no matter how obvious -- without all kinds of idiotic review and appeals. We should all celebrate these rare instances of common sense.

bevy 5 years ago

What she did was stupid, but since court proceedings are open to the public, maybe not illegal? Do court employees give up their right to free speech? It will be interesting to see how this one unfolds.

Pepe 5 years ago

Were she just tweeting facts from the hearing, I don't think this would be much of an issue. The problem is that she was tweeting her own personal opinions on the hearing and on Kline.

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