Johnson County, Kansas District Attorney Steve Howe now faces a formal ethics complaint. According to Operation Rescue/Pro-Life Nation, Howe displayed professional misconduct in his handling of a 107-count criminal case against the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Overland Park, Kansas. Phill Kline, who preceded Howe as district attorney, filed the case against Compressive Health of Planned Parenthood in 2007.
Judge Richard Anderson handed over documents to Operation Rescue that show Howe lied on November 9, 2011 when he told Judge Steven Tatum that the “last complete copy” of evidence against Planned Parenthood in the case had been destroyed. The documents show that Planned Parenthood forged documents to cover up crimes. In fact, three judges in Kansas ruled that there was probable cause of crimes having been committed by Planned Parenthood. You can read an earlier press release on this aspect of the case here.
According to a press release from Operation Rescue/Pro-Life Nation, the ethics complaint accuses Howe, 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 (sp) 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.”
According to Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue, “[i]t 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.”
In a later statement in the press release, Sullenger called on Howe to resign in order “to spare the people of Kansas the disgrace of a messy ethics case against a sitting District Attorney.”
You can read the full Complaint Narrative here.