You may vaguely remember Phillip Kline as the former Kansas attorney general who was absolutely obsessed with shutting down abortion clinics and harassing George Tiller. The Kansas Supreme Court has now unanimously voted to sanction Kline, suspend his law license and condemn him for a “substantial pattern of misconduct.”
As fully detailed below, after reviewing each instance of misconduct found by the panel, we find clear and convincing evidence that Kline committed 11 KRPC violations. In assessing discipline, we have considered the facts and circumstances of each violation; the ethical duties violated by Kline to the public, the legal system, and the legal profession; the knowing nature of his misconduct; the injury that resulted from the misconduct; the existence of aggravating and mitigating factors; and the applicable advisory American Bar Association (ABA) Standards for imposing discipline…
The panel released its 185-page Final Hearing Report on October 12, 2011, dividing the claims into 14 general areas of misconduct and finding Kline violated the KRPC in 10 areas, with multiple violations in some. And based on its conclusion that Kline “ha[d] repeatedly violated many of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, including the most serious of the rules, the rules that prohibit engaging in false or dishonest conduct,” the panel recommended an indefinite suspension of Kline’s license to practice law…The violations we have found are significant and numerous, and Kline’s inability or refusal to acknowledge or address their significance is particularly troubling in light of his service as the chief prosecuting attorney for this State and its most populous county.
Ultimately, we unanimously conclude the weight of the aggravating factors—i.e., Kline’s inability or refusal to acknowledge the line between overzealous advocacy and operating within the bounds of the law and his professional obligations; his selfish motives; and his lengthy and substantial pattern of misconduct—weigh more heavily than the mitigating factors and merit his indefinite suspension.
I’m sure it will shock you to hear that Kline is now a professor at the Liberty University law school.