Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kansas: Phill Kline's office misreads opinion

By Diane Silver

Today we get news that may well chill the hearts of those of you in Johnson County. This is your soon-to-be district attorney -- good old Phill Kline -- we're talking about.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kline, Kansas' attorney general until January, made "little" goof. It was such a tiny goof that the Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Kay McFarland had to issue an order to set the record straight.
Attorney General Phill Kline declared victory prematurely in the case of three Topekans accused of engaging in the illegal practice of law.


No final decision has been rendered by the Supreme Court in the matter of David Martin Price, Rosemary Price and Janice King, all of Topeka. In fact, attorneys representing the trio and their association, Pro Se Advocates, have until Jan. 3 to challenge retired Judge Jack Lively's conclusions and recommendations contained in a report submitted to the Supreme Court.

The miscue surfaced in a statement Kline released Friday claiming the Supreme Court "declared" the three Topekans and Pro Se Advocates engaged in unauthorized legal work. In addition, the statement said, the high court "ordered" the three people and the organization to pay $6,550 in fines, legal expenses and restitution.

The court hasn't issued any such declaration or order.

Jan Lunsford, a spokesman for Kline, said the attorney general's office mistakenly believed Lively's report was final and that the case was "a win for us."

Note that the issue isn't politics, it's competency. Let's hope Kline does better when he takes over as DA for the state's most populous county.

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