January 16th. The Kansas Supreme Court issued a unanimous per curiam opinion in the disciplinary case of In the matter of Frederick Campbell (No. 101116). Under normal circumstances such cases are not covered by this blog, however since this case concerns a public official, it is briefly summarized here. The Court suspended the law license of Frederick Campbell, county attorney for Anderson County. Chief Justice McFarland did not take part in the case, her place being filled by Court of Appeals judge Hill.
The case arose from a drunken party near Greely. An underage girl, who was drunk, was observed by partygoers and photographed having sex with a foreign exchange student. Afterwards the Anderson County Sheriff’s office acquired the photographs and referred them to Campbell. After doctoring the photographs to obscure faces, Campbell declined to prosecute (on the grounds that the sex had been consensual) but decided to share the amended photos with parents of other minors who had attended the party, in an attempt to stir outrage at what was happening at such parties. He did this over the objection of the girl and her mother.
The Disciplinary Hearing Panel held that by doing this, Campbell violated his duty to the public to maintain his personal integrity and his duty to the legal profession and the legal system to comply with the rules. The panel (and Campbell) held that Campbell should be censured for his actions. The Disciplinary Administrator argued for a 90 day suspension, but the Court imposed a 6 month suspension and indicated that some of its members had sought a longer punishment. In addition it ruled that Campbell must undergo a Rule 219 proceeding at the end of the suspension to regain his license, in which he must prove that among other things he understands why his actions were wrong and shows that he is in a fit mental state. The Court indicated that it adopted this position in part because Campbell had argued in mitigation that he suffers from ADD and possibly Aspergers Syndrome.