Kline’s Attorney: Disciplinary Administrator in Kline Ethics Case May Share Fired Tweeter’s Bias

Hazlett suggests that the term “child rape” was invented by Kline for inflammatory purposes, outrageously implying that no such crime exists.

By Cheryl Sullenger

Topeka, KS – In the wake of the firing of a research attorney who posted derogatory comments on Twitter during the Phill Kline ethics hearing, Kline’s lead attorney, Tom Condit, has sent a letter to Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett listing acts that reflect Hazlett’s own bias and seeking documents that could define the extent of the judicial branch bias.

“I find it reasonable to conclude that a research attorney who freely and publicly made such impertinent remarks over an extended period of time may inhabit a culture that finds them unobjectionable,” wrote Condit.

Kline has been accused of violating rules of ethics related to his investigations and attempted prosecutions of two Kansas abortion providers, George Tiller of Wichita and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, during his tenures as State Attorney General and Johnson County District Attorney from 2003-2008.

On November 15, 2012, Kline appeared before the Kansas Supreme Court to give final oral arguments in his defense in a case marred by what appears to be a political vendetta against Kline, the only prosecutor to have ever filed a criminal complaint against Planned Parenthood.

Sarah Peterson Herr, a research attorney for an Appeals Court judge publicly tweeted disparaging remarks about Kline during the hearing and posted her predictions that he would be disbarred for seven years. Her comments seemed to indicate inside knowledge of how certain judges planned to rule prior to the conclusion of the oral arguments. Herr was fired after an e-mail complaint made by an Operation Rescue staff member brought her inappropriate behavior to the attention of the Court.

“Because research attorneys draft legal memoranda after ascertaining facts from the record, they are in the unique position to provide judges and justices with their first impression, if not their lasting impressions of a case. Any ideological biases of staff attorneys could shape the perceptions of the court or the panel. If the Court’s trust in the analytical honesty of staff attorneys is misplaced, justice may be jeopardized,” stated Condit.

Condit went on to make the case that Hazlett’s own behavior reflected a similar bias expressed by Ms. Herr. Events that call into question Hazlett’s objectivity were listed by Condit and include:

  • Hazlett filed the ethics case against Kline without obtaining the Review Committee’s probable cause finding as required by the rules that govern the disciplinary process.
  • Hazlett unsuccessfully attempted to include a groundless ethics charge that Kline’s personal pro-life views created a conflict of interest in investigating and prosecuting abortion clinics.
  • Hazlett adopted the false accusation that Kline misinformed a Grand Jury investigating Planned Parenthood of the nature of the mandatory reporting child abuse law when the transcript of the Grand Jury proceedings reflected otherwise.
  • Hazlett elicited false testimony from a Grand Jury member that subpoenas went out before the Grand Jury and received knowledge of the Aid for Women case in which abortionists sued Kline to prevent abortion clinics from having to report incidents of suspected child sex abuse.
  • Hazlett charged Kline under inappropriate case law regarding Kline’s appearance on The O’Reilly Factor television program, then failed to abandon his argument against Kline on this point even after being confronted with the obvious error.
  • Kline received no notice that the “public” filing of a motion was one of the ethics charges against him. Hazlett made false statements to the contrary.
  • Hazlett ignored and buried the recommendation of his own investigator that Kline had committed no ethical violations.
  • But perhaps most outrageous is Hazlett’s position “Child rape seems to be a term invented by Mr. Kline That term seems to me to be highly inflammatory…”

    In this statement, made before the Review Panel that heard testimony in Kline’s ethics case, Hazlett seems to deny that child rape exists or that it is a crime.

    “It is outrageous and disgraceful for Hazlett to ignore the serious problem of child rape and claim that Kline invented the term to advance his abortion clinic investigations. It is hard to believe that anyone could be so unaware or ignorant of the fact that child rapists seek out abortion clinics in order to get rid of the evidence of their crimes. To claim this unspeakable abuse is only an invention of Kline’s imagination essentially saying that the crime of child rape does not exist,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

    “Does Hazlett condone pedophilia and illicit sexual conduct with children? Is that why he has ignored findings that support Kline and twisted facts to Kline’s detriment? Those questions now must be asked – and answered – in light of the culture of bias in the judicial system that has recently surfaced.”

    Meanwhile, Condit is seeking documents from Hazlett that include e-mails and tweets from judicial branch research attorneys and members of the Disciplinary Administrator’s office. Those documents could define the extent of the bias in the Kansas judicial system and how that bias has affected the case against Kline.

    “As long as those with a political axe to grind are allowed to continue their crusade against Kline, there can be no expectation of unbiased justice,” said Newman. “This is a politically motivated crusade to instill fear in the minds of prosecutors. It puts abortion clinics dangerously above the law, to the detriment of women and of children who are the victims of sex crimes. For that reason, we join with Mr. Condit in calling for an independent investigation into court bias.”

    Read Condit’s letter to Hazlett
    Background on Kline’s case
    Background on Herr’s firing

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