The battle to prosecute Wichita and Johnson County abortion businesses– begun by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in 2003– is still not over.
Exactly one year ago, the Johnson County assistant District Attorney argued before the state Supreme Court that they should end the forced silence imposed on a district judge the Court had put in charge of abortion files. No ruling has yet been issued, and the 107 criminal charges against the Overland Park Planned Parenthood clinic remain in limbo.
Related to the Wichita case, Kline’s former deputy, Eric Rucker, was questioned by an ethics panel Thursday about his candor before the state Supreme Court 5 years ago. After 15 months of media sensationalism over ethics charges against Kline’s prosecutorial team, the professional misconduct case against Rucker narrowed significantly.
“Not a single allegation from the original complaint remains,” Rucker’s attorney Caleb Stegall told the panel. “Every allegation by the Disciplinary Administrator has been dismissed or abandoned.”
Stegall said Rucker was a lawyer for 28 years before he recently retired and had never had a disciplinary action before. Rucker may have violated the letter of the rules but not the spirit, amounting to “hypertechnical” violations, he added. Stegall urged the panel to recommend that Rucker receive an informal admonition, the least severe disciplinary action.
Since Rucker and the disciplinary administrator’s office had already come to an agreement that his conduct did not involve any dishonest conduct, the hearing was cut short. The panel will recommend to the Supreme Court whether Rucker should be sanctioned, but no time frame for that ruling was given.
Many who strongly feel the ethics charges were politically-based, were pleased that in a few hours, the state seems on the path to restoring Rucker’s good name. (Read Kansaswatchdog.org. for more about the hearing and related events.)