Kansas couldn't go two days without a negative Phill Kline story. A couple days ago, we learned that Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller would go on trial for 19 misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating Kansas law by failing to get an independent second opinion for some late-term abortions that he performed. The judge found nothing wrong with Kline's conduct in the investigation. But now comes news that Kline and two top deputies -- Eric Rucker and Stephen Maxwell -- are facing an ethics complaint.
The Associated Press received a copy of the letter yesterday (I'm trying to
get a copy). The letter is dated February 19 but doesn't give any
details of what led the state's disciplinary
administrator to believe Kline violated the rules of professional conduct. The letter comes on the heels of a scathing Kansas Supreme Court opinion in December that criticized Kline's handling of medical records in an investigation of two abortion clinics and his conduct before the court. The Kansas Supreme Court suggested Kline could be disciplined or disbarred for his conduct during the investigation but didn't find him in contempt or say
he violated patient privacy.
The AP says:
The letter said a
review committee for the Kansas Board for the Discipline of Attorneys
found probable cause to believe Kline and his former deputies had
violated rules of professional conduct. ... The majority sent
its opinion to [Disciplinary Administrator Stanton] Hazlett and said Kline's conduct ultimately could
warrant action "up to and including disbarment."
I left a message for Kline's attorney, Caleb Stegall, this morning and
will let you know what I hear from him. But I imagine Stegall, who is
also representing Maxwell and Rucker, will tell me what he told the AP:
Kline, Maxwell and Rucker are eager to "vindicate" their work.
Update (3:31 p.m. Friday, February 27): Finally got a copy of the letter. Check it out.
Kline Disciplinary letter page 1.pdf