Legal Ethics

Kansas Attorney Cleared of Ethics Violation Files Complaint Against State Official


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Keen Umbehr. Photo courtesy of Keen
Umbehr.

An Kansas attorney filed a complaint this week accusing a state legal ethics official of professional misconduct in retaliation for the lawyer’s public revelation of sexual abuse at a state prison.

Keen Umbehr, who was cleared in November of professional misconduct allegations for bringing a reporter into a prison to help his client expose alleged illegal sex and contraband trafficking at the facility, filed a detailed complaint with the Kansas Supreme Court against Stanton Hazlett, the disciplinary administrator who previously encouraged Umbehr to apologize for his actions and accept a lesser punishment, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Umbehr’s complaint outlines several years spent pursuing documents and details about the allegations against him and the disciplinary panel’s decisions, according to the report. Among the 50 supporting documents filed are letters between Umbehr and his lawyer asking for details about the “probable cause” hearing in his case. According to the complaint (PDF), Hazlett stated that an ethics panel examining Umbehr’s case found there was “probable cause” for a full hearing, while in truth the panel never made such a finding, the Capital-Journal reports.

Although Umbehr told the paper he was discouraged by fellow lawyers from filing the complaint, he stated that his “sense of justice, sense of indignity” and the rules that govern the practice of law in Kansas demanded that he pursue the issue.

In response, Hazlett, who told the Capital-Journal that he hadn’t yet thoroughly reviewed the complaint, said he denies any misconduct and welcomes an investigation.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: Cleared of Wrongdoing re Paper’s Prison Sex Story, Lawyer Calls Ethics Panel’s Advice ‘Ridiculous’

ABAJournal.com: Lawyer in Hot Water for Helping Newspaper Reporter Write About Prison Sex

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