Legal Ethics

Ethics Panel Recommends Indefinite Suspension for Ex-Kansas AG

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Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline should be indefinitely suspended from practicing law for his alleged misconduct in the handling of criminal investigations of abortion providers in the mid-2000s, a professional ethics panel says.

A three-member panel of the state Board for Discipline of Attorneys says Kline repeatedly misled other officials or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a Kansas City-area grand jury, to further investigations of abortion providers. It also said Kline made a false statement to the office investigating the misconduct claims against him and even attempted to mislead the panel itself as it considered his case.

“The respondent’s dishonest and selfish motives aggravate the misconduct in this case,” the panel wrote in its 84-page report, released Thursday, the Associated Press reports. “The respondent failed to take any responsibility for his misconduct.”

Kline has strongly disputed the allegations against him and called the complaint politically motivated.

“I upheld my duty, upheld my oath of office and the integrity of my profession,” he said in a prepared statement. “I will continue to speak and stand for the truth and for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Kline, who served as the state’s attorney general from 2003 to 2007, is now a visiting assistant law professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the school founded by the late evangelist the Rev. Jerry Falwell. His Kansas law license has been inactive since October 2010.

A lawyer whose license is indefinitely suspended can file a petition to have it reinstated, but such petitions are rarely granted.

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