Friday, December 22, 2006

Kansas: Judge dismisses charges against Tiller hours after case becomes public

[updated 12:59 p.m. 12/23/06]

By Diane Silver

Talk about faster than a speeding bullet: A Sedgwick County judge has just dismissed the misdemeanor charges outgoing Attorney General Phill Kline filed against Dr. George Tiller.

AP reports:
Judge Paul W. Clark dismissed the case against Tiller after Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said that her office had not been consulted by Kline, a vocal opponent of abortion who recently lost his bid for a second term.

Clark signed his one-page order only hours after Kline's complaint against Tiller was unsealed. Kline filed his complaint Thursday, alleging that Tiller had improperly performed late-term abortions and hadn't properly reported information to the state Department of Health and Environment.

Foulston said in her request to have the case dismissed that while Kline is the state's chief law enforcement official, he doesn't have the legal authority to "unilaterally" pursue criminal charges when a county prosecutor has not asked his office to intervene or granted a request from the attorney general to handle a case.

"The district attorney has not invited or requested, consented or acquiesced, or failed to object to the filing of the complaint," Foulston wrote.
In a news conference Friday afternoon, Kline told reporters he would file an emergency motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision. Kline also talked about his action against Tiller and said that he had met with Foulston before filing charges. Here is the full text of Kline's statement. The article in The Wichita Eagle has the details.

From The Wichita Eagle:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on the Kline's actions.

District Attorney Nola Foulston's filing.

The Eagle page also includes audio from Tiller's attorneys and now has a pdf of what Kline filed against Tiller. Here is an updated story from The Eagle detailing the sequence of events.

Judge's order dismissing the case.

From the Lawrence Journal-World:

The news release from Tiller's attorneys.


Anonymous said...

I was at the Political Animal boarda nd was asked about the JoCo Fiasco. I posted a link to your blog with the following post:

Oh Paul, it is truly a glorious mess one county and state to the west of me. The heavy lifting on that issue has been done thoroughly by Diane Silver at the In This Moment blog. She is a former statehouse correspondent for the Wichita Eagle, and knows Kansas law better than I do as a result. She has covered the Kline fiasco so thoroughly that I have just linked to her and concentrated on other matters, like troop buildups and the possibility of a returned draft.

Diane Silver said...

Many thanks, blue girl!