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Kansas Supreme Court suspends former AG's law license

Oct. 18, 2013 at 9:57 PM   |   Comments

TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The Kansas Supreme Court Friday suspended the law license of former Attorney General Phil Kline for "significant and numerous" cases of professional misconduct.

The court found that Kline -- who was state attorney general before losing a re-election campaign and then went on to serve as Johnson County district attorney -- violated 11 rules on professional conduct of attorneys while investigating abortion clinics as attorney general and during a grand jury proceeding while he was district attorney, the Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.

The court declined to disbar Kline, as recommended by a state official, but found that he engaged in a pattern of violations due to selfish motive, the newspaper said.

"The violations we have found are significant and numerous, and Kline's inability or refusal to acknowledge or address their significance is particularly troubling in light of his service as the chief prosecuting attorney for this state and its most populous county," the court wrote.

The disciplinary case against Kline began in January 2010, with complaints about his investigation into a Wichita clinic run by Dr. George Tiller and the Planned Parenthood facility in Overland Park. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday Kline improperly instructed his staff to attach sealed documents to a publicly filed document, and directed his staff to file court documents containing misleading information, when he was attorney general.

The court found he improperly advised a grand jury about Kansas law when he was Johnson County prosecutor, gave false testimony in one court and made "false and misleading" statements to the Supreme Court, the newspaper said.

Thomas Condit, a lawyer for Kline, said the state Supreme Court ruling was "not an acceptable result" and accused officials of "cherry picking" Kline's statement.

He said he and Kline -- who is an assistant professor of law at Liberty University Law School in Lynchburg, Va. -- will take further, unspecified action.

Kline will be able to apply for reinstatement of his law license in three years, the Star reported.

Five members of the court recused themselves from the case. The decision by the remaining judges was unanimous.

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