As Johnson County's top prosecutor, Phill Kline has been a disaster.

The Dimwit D.A. 

As Johnson County's top prosecutor, Phill Kline has been a disaster.

Page 8 of 8

In the wake of these serious blunders, Kline has taken on what may be his highest-profile case during his tenure as district attorney.

Kline's office has filed first-degree murder charges against Edwin R. Hall. Kline says Hall abducted and murdered 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, who was snatched from the parking lot of a Target store in Overland Park. Smith's body was discovered in a wooded area in southern Jackson County, Missouri. Kline's office has claimed jurisdiction in the case, telling the press that the case belongs to his office because Smith's kidnapping originated in Johnson County.

Kline also remains in the news for his continued anti-abortion crusade. Last week, an expert hired by Kline when Kline was attorney general challenged abortions conducted by Wichita doctor George Tiller. Morrison blasted Kline's expert for meddling in a criminal investigation and ordered him not to speak publicly about his opinions on the case.

Kline is attempting to ease tensions between his office and the Johnson County Board of Commissioners. Kline agreed to meet the commissioners at a public retreat at 2 p.m. June 21 in room 250 of the Johnson County Administration Building.

Since he took office in January, Kline has continually said he doesn't intend to run again. Asked last Thursday during a press conference, Kline said: "I don't know." Kline has 17 months left, and already there's stiff competition in the 2008 race for district attorney. Former Johnson County assistant district attorney Steve Howe announced last week his intention to run for the job. Rick Guinn, Paul Morrison's longtime assistant district attorney, announced last week that he intends to run for Johnson County district attorney. Guinn held his press conference on the steps of the Johnson County Courthouse. His main complaint against Kline: mishandled criminal cases.

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