Peter J. Smith

DA’s diary snatching brings new twist to Phill Kline ethics trial, potential crime

Peter J. Smith
Peter J. Smith

TOPEKA, February 22, 2011 ( - It was revealed during Tuesday’s proceedings in the ethics trial against pro-life former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, that the man who replaced Kline as District Attorney of Johnson County, Steven Howe, had intercepted and opened mail that contained personal effects belonging to Kline – an act that may have put the DA in violation of federal law.

Kline is being tried in Topeka over alleged ethics violations in his criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood and late-term abortionist George Tiller.

The revelation came at the end of Disciplinary Administrator Stan Hazlett’s interrogation of Kline, when Hazlett raised questions about Kline’s diary, which had been obtained by Hazlett’s office.

According to Kline’s attorneys, they were given to understand that the matter of Kline’s diary would not be used in the disciplinary hearing.

Just before the diary was brought up, Kline quoted Judge Richard Anderson’s incredulity that AG Paul Morrison had joined with Planned Parenthood (in August 2007 Writ of Mandamus) to demand they both hand over the abortion records essential to Kline’s prosecution of Planned Parenthood on charges of conspiracy to commit illegal abortions.

“Have you ever heard of a prosecutor and judge giving back evidence to the targets of criminal activity?” Kline quoted Anderson as telling him.

The Planned Parenthood in Johnson county still faces 107 criminal counts, including 23 felony charges, filed by Kline.

Several minutes later, the fact of Kline’s personal diary was subpoenaed by Tiller’s legal counsel was raised, and that it remains currently in the hands of the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office, despite repeated requests from Kline to have it returned to him.

“We have your diary,” Hazlett confirmed in the trial, shortly before wrapping up his questioning of Kline.

“I’d like it back,” rejoined Kline.

The fact of the Disciplinary Administrator’s refusing to return the personal diary to Kline elicited laughs from the courtroom.

But soon thereafter the testimony showed that the manner in which Kline’s diary was obtained by Hazlett was no laughing matter - and may even have been illegal under federal postal laws.

Kline said he had forgotten his personal diary and other items at the Johnson County DA’s office in January 2009 when he was driving on the road, moving across the country to take up a position as a visiting professor at Liberty University. He said he asked his administrative assistant, Megan Harmon, who was still at the office, to mail the diary to him at his new Virginia address.

According to his testimony, Harmon sent a package, containing the diary, to the wrong address. The mail package meant for Kline was instead returned to the sender at the DA’s office..

But by the time the package was returned, Kline’s successor Steve Howe was the new DA in Johnson County, and Harmon no longer was working in the DA’s office.

When the package was returned to the DA’s office, it was stated in the course of the trial proceedings that Kline’s mail was then opened, apparently by Howe. Kline’s attorneys later confirmed to LSN that Howe had opened Kline’s mail, and sent the diary along with other contents in the package to Hazlett’s office.

Holbrook did not say to LSN that Howe broke any laws by opening a package addressed to Kline before forwarding it to Hazlett. He also said he was not aware if that action would have violated federal laws regulating the protection of US mail.

But if the package was addressed specifically to Kline, it raises questions as to whether federal laws against mail tampering may have been broken - a potential federal crime that carries jail time.

Under Title 18 of the US Code, deliberately tampering with mail intended for another person is a felony offense. In Part I, Chapter 83, § 1702, “Obstruction of correspondence” it states: “Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

The following section of that chapter, § 1703 (b) “Delay or destruction of mail or newspapers” also may apply to Howe. It states: “Whoever, without authority, opens, or destroys any mail or package of newspapers not directed to him, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

The package alleged to have contained the diary was produced in the courtroom, but inside the box was a large black three-ring binder with sheets of paper. It was unclear what exactly the nature of the binder was or how it was related to the diary. It appeared that it was an item contained in the box Harmon intended for Kline at his new home in Virginia.

There was some amusing speculation by a couple of the 16 members of the audience that Hazlett might give back the diary right there and then. However, that did not happen.

LSN was not able to independently verify the name and address of Kline on the box, although it was agreed that was the box Harmon used to send Kline his diary.

Hazlett declined to shed any light on the way Kline’s diary was obtained, when approached by LSN when today’s proceedings concluded shortly after 5:15 p.m.

“I got a moment and I don’t want to talk about this case,” he stated politely.

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John Jalsevac John Jalsevac Follow John

BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley /
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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