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Ethics Complaint Filed Over Dropping Planned Parenthood Criminal Case

by Steven Ertelt | Topeka, KS | LifeNews.com | 9/18/12 3:47 PM

State

An ethics complaint has been filed against Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt alleging misconduct on his part in the decision-making process that resulted in the dismissal of a 107-count criminal case against Planned Parenthood.

In August, all of the charges against a Planned Parenthood abortion business in Kansas were dropped after one of the most politically biased cases pro-life groups say they can remember. The case was embroiled in controversy after it was found documents critical to it were destroyed during the administration of former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

A Kansas judge dismissed dozens of misdemeanor charges alleging that the abortion business failed to test whether an unborn child was viable (as required by state law) before doing a late-term abortion, and that it manipulated records it submitted to the state to cover up those crimes.

Planned Parenthood filed motions seeking to dismiss the criminal case involving 58 counts related to illegal late-term abortions. It wanted all charges dropped and Judge Stephen Tatum dismissed them all. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made the joint decision to drop the remainder of the charges.

The new ethics complaint was received by the Disciplinary Administrator’s office on Monday morning. It lays out a case that Schmidt and Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe worked together to ensure that the Planned Parenthood criminal case was dropped, even though it meant resorting to misinformation lying to a District Court Judge and the public.

Meanwhile, Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett had been asked to add Tim Golba, Past State President of Kansans for Life, as a complainant on the ethics case against Howe that was filed earlier this month.

“Were I to predict the future I would predict that Howe will continue to be cowardly at any mention of the word abortion, pornography or any other ‘social issue’. Howe wants to live a life of ease. Howe wants to be respected in the community and the local bar. Howe wants to retire comfortably,” said Golba. “I wanted to be added as a complainant to send a message to other pro-life groups that we cannot stand silently by and allow corruption to subvert justice.”

A joint press release issued by Schmidt and Howe on August 17, 2012, indicated that they made decisions together about the case then explained why the charges were dismissed.

Schmidt and Howe indicated that the 49 most serious charges against Planned Parenthood could not be prosecuted because evidence had supposedly been destroyed. However, Operation Rescue received documentation from Shawnee County Judge Richard Anderson through open records requests that it says proves Howe, with Schmidt’s consent, lied to Judge Steven Tatum on November 9, 2011, when he said that the “last complete copy” of evidence that Planned Parenthood forged documents to cover crimes had been destroyed. That evidence made such a strong case against Planned Parenthood that three Kansas judges ruled there was probable cause to believe Planned Parenthood committed crimes.

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Other excuses for dismissing the remainder of the charges were found to have been based on outdated law and misinformation, according to OR president Troy Newman.

Newman told LifeNews today: “When Schmidt issued that press release with Howe indicating that the decisions were made together, he assumed responsibility for all the misconduct that took place. We have documentation that records Schmidt and Howe agreed were destroyed still existed and were being held in the custody of Judge Anderson for use in the prosecution of Planned Parenthood and that Howe never formally asked Anderson for the evidence. Instead they lied about it having been destroyed and asked for the charges to be dismissed under false pretenses. That obstruction of justice violates the code of ethics and betrays the trust of the people of Kansas.”

“Because of this, we renew our call for the resignation of Schmidt and Howe so that confidence in the justice system can be restored,” he said.