TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday indefinitely suspended the law license of former state Attorney General Phill Kline, who teaches at Liberty University’s law school, following allegations of ethical misconduct during his investigation of abortion providers.
The court agreed with a state disciplinary panel that Kline repeatedly misled or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a Kansas City-area grand jury, to further his investigations. The unanimous decision came after repeated disputes between the Republican and critics of his tactics.
Tom Condit, Kline’s attorney, said Friday that Kline reasserted that he never intentionally lied or misled others in pursuit of his case. He and Kline were reviewing the ruling and considering their next steps, Condit said.
In 2007, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Kansas City suburbs, accusing it of performing illegal abortions and falsifying records. The last of those charges were dropped in August 2012. He also pursued misdemeanor criminal charges against Dr. George Tiller because of late-term abortions performed by his Wichita clinic. The case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons.
We would have to know the details about the alleged misleading by himself and his subordinates before we could attack the judges’ decision. They probably have more information than is contained in this story.
Kansas when Sebellius was governor was NOT prolife. Having Phil Kline try to prosecute someone for illegal or not reported abortions, was not wanted. Now he loses his license for doing the RIGHT THING - because many of these unreported abortions were done on young girls - who were more than likely sexually abused!
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS
COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF KANSAS AND MID-MISSOURI, INC.,
Petitioner,v.PHILL KLINE, JOHNSON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Respondent,
and STEPHEN N. SIX, KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL, Intervenor.
We are also deeply disappointed by Kline’s casual treatment of the WHCS patient records. First, he moved them to the Johnson County District Attorney’s office, despite the clinic’s location in Sedgwick County. Second, he and Maxwell failed to correct the Status and Disposition Report given to Judge Anderson on this point. Even accepting, as we do, Judge King’s factual finding that no initial deception or misrepresentation was intended, the same cannot be said about Maxwell’s, and thus Kline’s, subsequent failure to set the record straight. Once Judge Anderson discovered that Kline had possession of the WHCS records, he demanded that the records be returned and questioned whether copies had been kept. He was told no. Yet Kline’s sworn responses to the 17 fact questions reveal that Kline and his subordinates failed to disclose to Anderson that certain summaries of the WHCS records had been created and maintained. By the time Kline appeared before this court for oral argument, he again expressed uncertainty as to whether the summaries existed or were in the possession or use of his office.
Kline has demonstrated similarly disingenuous and possibly orchestrated confusion on his status vis a vis McHugh. After Kline was defeated in the Attorney General’s race but before he decamped to Johnson County, he embraced McHugh long enough to ensure that McHugh obtained redacted copies of patient records and other items that could enable patient identification. Kline later disavowed any ability to control McHugh’s behavior when McHugh discussed the contents of the records in an interview sponsored by an anti-abortion advocacy group. Kline’s behavior told a different story. He met with McHugh shortly before McHugh’s interview and listened to the interview as it was being conducted, both ostensibly because he was concerned about patient privacy. Still later, Kline personally typed an overinclusive affidavit for McHugh at the request of Judge Anderson. Although Kline did not, as Judge King found, personally pass that affidavit on to a legislative committee, he contributed without reason to the detail ultimately revealed by McHugh and others.
An obvious and sorry pattern emerges from the foregoing examples and from Kline’s performance at oral argument before us. Kline exhibits little, if any, respect for the authority of this court or for his responsibility to it and to the rule of law it husbands. His attitude and behavior are inexcusable, particularly for someone who purports to be a professional prosecutor. It is plain that he is interested in the pursuit of justice only as he chooses to define it. As already noted in Alpha, he has consistently disregarded the clear import of this court’s directions, instead doing what he chose because “he knew best how he should behave, regardless of what this court had ordered, and [believed] that his priorities should trump whatever priorities this court had set.” Alpha, 280 Kan. at 929.
We note that Kline has persisted in his attitude and behavior despite the fact that Alpha made clear that he had already narrowly escaped a contempt citation. **He has repeatedly maximized jeopardy to Alpha’s delicate balance between abortion patients’ constitutional privacy rights and law enforcement interests. We therefore conclude that sanction is necessary to remediate the substantial actual costs the Attorney General’s office and this court have incurred as a result, to discourage Kline from continuing as he has, and to deter his subordinates and successors from following his example. **
Kline is guilty of unethical conduct–regardless of how noble his intentions were. You have to fight within the bounds of the law to affect change.