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Kansas State Supreme Court Opinion Issued Friday in Relation to Ongoing Tiller Case

The Kansas State Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday in a lawsuit related to former Attorney General Phill Kline’s conduct in an ongoing case with Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who is one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US that serves women with troubled pregnancies and complicated health problems. The lawsuit sought to have Kline, who originally launched an investigation into Tiller’s practice in 2006, relinquish all medical records and be held in contempt of court. Though the ruling called Kline’s conduct inexcusable, the only sanction against him is that he must deliver “a full and complete and understandable set of any and all materials gathered or generated by Kline and/or his subordinates in their abortion-related investigation and/or prosecution” to the Attorney General’s office.

Current Kansas Attorney General Steve Six has criticized the investigation of Tiller by Kline, but has said the charges against Tiller should stand, according to the Associated Press. Tiller’s attorney’s filed a motion in September asking the court to either suppress evidence or dismiss the charges against Tiller because of alleged “outrageous” misconduct of the preliminary investigation into Tiller’s practice by Kline and Eric Rucker, a state attorney.

Friday’s opinion heavily criticized Kline’s conduct: “Kline exhibits little, if any, respect for the authority of this court or for his responsibility to it and to the rule of law it husbands. His attitude and behavior are inexcusable, particularly for someone who purports to be a professional prosecutor. It is plain that he is interested in the pursuit of justice only as he chooses to define it.”

Planned Parenthood of Kansas President Peter Brownlie told the Capital-Journal that “the court confirms what Planned Parenthood has said all along: Phill Kline is a zealot pursuing a lawless prosecution and misusing the people’s trust to advance a radical anti-choice political agenda.”

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 11/24/08, 10/21/08; Capital-Journal 12/5/08; Kansas State Supreme Court; Associated Press 10/16/08

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