Kansas prosecutor faces hearing for alleged misconduct

Bourbon County, Ks Attorney Jacqie Spradling
Jacqie Spradling, attorney in Bourbon and Allen Counties, Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Shawnee County prosecutor faces a disciplinary hearing this week over allegations that she lied in court and crossed other ethical boundaries to obtain convictions.

A three-member panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys is presiding over the weeklong hearing that started Monday to determine if Jacqie Spradling’s conduct merits formal discipline, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Spradling is now the Bourbon County attorney and an assistant county attorney in Allen County. Neither she nor her lawyer immediately replied to messages seeking comment.

The first was a 2012 case against Dana Chandler, who was convicted of murder in the 2002 deaths of her ex-husband, Mike Sisco, and his fiancée, Karen Harkness.

Spradling is accused of misleading a jury to believe Chandler had violated a protection order, despite there being no evidence that such an order existed. No physical evidence connected Chandler, who lived in Denver at the time of the killings, to the crime scene.

Chandler appealed her convictions and the Kansas Supreme Court overturned them in 2018 and sent the case back to Shawnee County District Court, where she is scheduled to stand trial for the killings again next year.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said Chandler’s prosecution “unfortunately illustrates how a desire to win can eclipse the state’s responsibility to safeguard the fundamental constitutional right to a fair trial owed to any defendant facing criminal prosecution in a Kansas courtroom.”

In the second case, Spradling served as a special prosecutor in the case of Jacob Ewing, a Holton man who was convicted of sexually assaulting two women. The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned those convictions, finding that Spradling made a half-dozen errors and misled the jury by making assertions during her closing argument that were unsupported by the evidence.

Spradling claimed without evidence that Ewing had abused someone with autism — a claim that the appeals court said “improperly inflamed the passions and prejudices of the jury by painting Ewing as a bad person who preyed on especially vulnerable women.”

Ewing’s case was remanded to the district court, where he is set to stand trial again on the charges.

If the panel of three lawyers determines that Spradling engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and error, it could simply admonish her. If it finds that the conduct was more serious, it could recommend to the state Supreme Court hat she be disciplined. The high court would then decide on a punishment ranging from public censure to disbarment.