Criminal complaint against Fredricks ( .PDF )
Criminal complaint against Curry ( .PDF )
Following the arrest last week of Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry and Deputy Jerrod Fredricks, Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting relied on a seldom-used Kansas law to try and remove Curry from office.
"It's kind of a last resort," said Melissa Wangemann, legal counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties, of the civil case Hunting initiated last week after Curry and Fredricks were arrested by KBI agents on felony counts of interfering with law enforcement. "It's rarely used."
It's known as an "ouster proceeding," and it allows county attorneys to seek removal of a public official under several circumstances, such as when a public official engages in misconduct, neglects duties or commits a violation of "moral turpitude."
Wangemann could cite only one other instance of a sheriff being ousted. In 2000, Shawnee County Sheriff Dave Meneley was ousted after a seven-day civil trial following his involvement in a drug scandal with the sheriff's office.
It's unclear when Curry's ouster proceedings will take place, but both he and Fredricks — who are both barred from possessing firearms by court order — are scheduled to appear in Franklin County District Court Wednesday on the criminal charges.
At a news conference last week, Hunting, who was not available for comment Tuesday, asked for Curry to resign immediately, though that has yet to happen. Wangemann said it's more common for a public official to resign amid criminal allegations than challenge the ouster.
While the ouster civil case is in process, a judge could suspend Curry from his duties and appoint a temporary replacement until the case is resolved.
According to the criminal complaint filed by a special prosecutor from the Shawnee County District Attorney's Office, Curry is accused of using confidential information gained through his office for his or another person's gain, or to cause harm to another, on May 30, 2012, and then making false statements to investigators on Sept. 27, 2012.
Fredricks, who served as public information officer for the sheriff's office, is accused of making false statements on Oct. 5, 2012, after the investigation had been made public. The circumstances of these alleged incidents remain unclear, however.
Both were booked into the Wyandotte County Jail last week but quickly posted bond.