Disciplinary administrator seeks indefinite suspension for Spradling; defense attorney opposes discipline

(Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector (Custom credit) | Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 5:39 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Deputy Disciplinary Administrator on Friday, urged a panel of attorneys to indefinitely suspend the law license of Jacqie Spradling, who prosecuted the criminal cases of Dana Lynn Chandler, whose convictions in the two shooting deaths were overturned, and a man convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault.

Spradling’s defense attorney told panel members his client shouldn’t receive any discipline.

“Discipline is not appropriate here,” said L.J. Leatherman, Spradling’s attorney. He said it didn’t make sense to discipline one of the best attorneys in Kansas for her prosecution work in the most difficult criminal case, referring to the Chandler case.

On Friday, Matthew Vogelsberg, deputy disciplinary administrator, asked the disciplinary panel to indefinitely suspend Spradling’s law license.

Vogelsberg said findings by the panel members should include there was a hearsay violation, Spradling had made some false statements, that some statements by Spradling didn’t reflect on the evidence or it inflamed passions, and there was conduct prejudicial to justice.

The Kansas disciplinary administrator’s office alleges Spradling violated rules dealing with candor toward a tribunal, trial publicity that would be prejudicial in a legal matter, and special responsibilities of a prosecutor.

If hearing panel members find a violation occurred, the panel will recommend the discipline to be administered.

Overall, the type of discipline the Kansas Supreme Court can administer includes informal admonition, censure, suspension, and disbarment.

Friday was the fifth day of the disciplinary hearing conducted in the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s office in Topeka.

On Thursday, Spradling owned her errors when she faced the disciplinary panel.

In one case, Spradling, then the Shawnee County Senior Assistant District Attorney, prosecuted Chandler, who was charged with the shooting deaths on July 7, 2002, of Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness, in Harkness’ west Topeka home.

Sisco and Harkness were engaged to be married, witnesses said during the disciplinary hearing.

“I’ve always believed there was a (protection from abuse order issued to Sisco),” Spradling said Thursday when she faced a panel in the disciplinary hearing. “I was dead wrong.

“Being wrong is embarrassing,” Spradling said. “I’m not sure anybody can be harder on me than me.”

Spradling showed pain at times on Thursday.

“My responsibility as a prosecutor is to protect people, and I failed in these cases,” Spradling said.

Spradling “has grieved that she has been publicly embarrassed for her mistakes,” Leatherman said Friday.

Besides Sisco and Harkness, there were a series of victims in Jackson County where Jacob Ewing was charged in cases tied to multiple sex offenses.

The hearing panel will deliberate and will issue a written report detailing the findings of facts and conclusions of law.

Spradling was at the closing arguments on Friday, but she didn’t say anything.

Spradling now is the Bourbon County attorney.

The re-trial of Chandler, 60, who faces two counts of first-degree murder, is pending.

Pre-trial motions are being heard in that case, but a trial date hasn’t been scheduled.

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