Rucker’s attorney, Caleb Stegall, called the ruling, “a vindication of what Mr. Rucker has maintained all along, that he was wholly innocent of the charges that he lied and conducted a dishonest investigation in pursuit of a personal agenda.”
The ethical investigation was punishment by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’s judicial appointees (particularly Justice Carol Beier) against Rucker, Kline and his other AG prosecutor, Steve Maxwell, for the “crime” of attempting to prosecute abortion crimes.
But the final panel report reveals distressing evidence that charges against Rucker were BASED ON FALSEHOODS:
- a misstatement of Rucker’s trial response by the judicial administrator, and
- an inaccurate quote that the state Supreme Court submitted from a sealed motion.
What is so disturbing is that the offices of the highest legal powers in Kansas have been exposed as betraying the standards of honesty, accuracy and restraint they are supposed to uphold!
Rather, the Court and its adjunct judicial administrator promoted a laundry list of alleged unethical and negligent acts, any one of which could have cost Rucker his license and livelihood.
For several years, Rucker has been subjected to undeserved and repeated reputation-sullying front page stories, including a screaming (and incorrect) headline that he would be testifying against Kline. (Capitol Journal, May 14, 2010, pgs. 1A,8A)
Yet in the end, the panel handed out the lightest possible conclusion–an “informal admonition”- that they said Rucker merited for:
- failure to correct a statement that he did not know at the time was incorrect, (the existence of one lone AG staffer’s spreadsheet of adult Tiller clients at a Wichita hotel) and
- failure to secure (as the attorney of record) an accurate, amended document in the final trial record.
Consider that four years ago, the current state Supreme Court Chief Justice, Lawton Nuss, was given a similar “ethical” admonishment, but for a far more serious and deliberate breech that many believed should have cost him his seat on the bench.
The Commission on Judicial Qualifications ruled Nuss violated three Canons of Judicial Conduct when he spoke with Senate President Steve Morris and Sen. Pete Brungardt about a school finance bill while the related lawsuit was still pending before the Court. Nuss later recused himself from the case and admitted he made a mistake. What an understatement! Every law student learns about not discussing a pending case with anyone, much less those with a vested interest.
The office of judicial administration is not subject to open records requests and largely writes its own rules. They are still investigating Kline and Maxwell, and the whole procedure looks illegitimate after their own panel pointed out they mistated the trial transcripts!
This is just more evidence that the state Supreme Court– and its ethics branch– needs house cleaning; Justices up for retention this fall should be removed!