A formal ethics complaint has been filed against Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe alleging professional misconduct in Howe’s mishandling of the 107-court criminal case against Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, Kansas. That case was originally filed in 2007 by Howe’s predecessor, Phill Kline after years of investigation and Sebelius-era obstruction.
Operation Rescue received documentation from Judge Richard Anderson through open records requests that proves Howe 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.
“It is critically important to preserve the record while this ethics case is under investigation. Because of that we are asking for the Disciplinary Administrator to seek an immediate protective order to prevent Planned Parenthood from retrieving the evidence against them and destroying it,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue, who filed the complaint against Howe.
The ethics complaint also alleges the following, in part:
- Howe lied to Judge Tatum concerning destruction of the evidence against Planned Parenthood when the record was clear that Judge Anderson maintained pristine copies of the evidence. This fraudulent claim resulted in the dismissal of 49 of the most serious charges.
- Howe failed to disclose proper case law that allows the tolling of the statue of limitations in cases where deception is present. Howe claimed there was no evidence that would allow the statute of limitations to be tolled. This misrepresentation resulted in the dismissal of 26 charges on August 3, 2012.
- Howe misrepresented facts when he stated in his August 17, 2012, press release that, “The United States Supreme Court has said that reasonable medical debate should not subject individuals to criminal prosecution.” Howe concealed the fact that the true controlling authority on this legal topic is Gonzales v. Carhart (2007), which states in part: “Medical uncertainty does not foreclose the exercise of legislative power in the abortion context any more than it does in other contexts.” This misrepresentation resulted in the dismissal of the final 32 charges on August, 17, 2012.
- During his negligent prosecution of Planned Parenthood, Howe’s conduct was “prejudicial to the administration of justice.”
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“We again call on Howe to resign and spare the people of Kansas the disgrace of a messy ethics case against a sitting District Attorney,” said Sullenger. “There is more than enough evidence that Howe was working with Planned Parenthood to dismantle Kline’s case and obstruct the administration of justice. Howe’s personal vendetta against Kline, who once fired Howe, has impaired his professional judgment and made him unfit for public office.”