www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Consolidation by starvation -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

School mergers tricky -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Hotel tipping -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Abuse video revealed nothing we didn't know -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Lessons from 13 years ago -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

The zero option -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Why branding ISIS matters -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

School efficiency -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Favors and loot for sale -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

The 'college experience' -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

Ellis schools -9/11/2014, 10:10 AM

Hold on, Mr. President -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The best bathroom -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The day the world stood still -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

No one can play your part -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Playing candidate dress-up -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Congress at work -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Schmidt is the answer -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

The liabilities of cannabis use -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Downtown decision -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Why are red states so far behind? -9/8/2014, 9:20 AM

Taylor's next move -9/5/2014, 10:16 AM

Consider trees to spruce up yard -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Washington takes action to reform VA -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Umbehr stands out -9/4/2014, 12:25 PM

Leadership education -- it's not a scam -9/4/2014, 12:24 PM

Not supporting Brownback's re-election -9/4/2014, 12:23 PM

A fair fair debate -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Suicide in today's age -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Regulation overreach -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Sharpton, Kobach's common ground -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

In charge of all -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Pocket-book debate? -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Educating voters on education -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

Crazy election season in Kansas -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

An erosion of authenticity -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Blasphemy, free speech and the 'black mass' -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Labor Day -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Flexing muscles -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Blacks must confront reality -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

The leadership scam -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Green monster -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

The resurrection of Rick Perry -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Senate campaign -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Right to be heard? -8/26/2014, 10:08 AM

Over-covering Ferguson -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

Figuring out the tax debate -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

An obvious ploy -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Not-so-beautiful sunset -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Cannabis therapy -- Why bother? -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Business climate of Kansas -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

James Foley: Courage in the face of danger -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Festering wound -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Big banks settling -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Tuition pays for this -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

College textbook scam -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Policing a riot -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Evil strikes back -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Art appreciation -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Abuse of power -8/20/2014, 8:22 AM

Ferguson police arrest reporters for reporting -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Don't 'got milk' -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Another road map to success? -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

It's the abuse of power, stupid -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Riots in Ferguson, and what they mean -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

One of billions -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

The GOP presents: Barack-nado -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Media and Missouri: What's going on? -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Answer the bell -8/15/2014, 8:58 AM

Get ready for denials -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mental illness -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mindless drones -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Can-do attitude -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

'Poor door' -- a symbol of a truth we all know -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

Eyeing the Ogallala Aquifer -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

The slacker congress -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

CIA vs. Senate -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

The cannabis conundrum -- we against us -8/11/2014, 8:55 AM

The debate is over -8/11/2014, 8:54 AM

The 'Almost' Revolution -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Is cross a history lesson or state religion? -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Another downgrade -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

State economy plays critical role in the future of FHSU -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Building on past successes for a stronger future -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Will Palin's channel rival Comedy Central? -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Western anti-Semitism -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Patrolmen without borders -8/7/2014, 10:13 AM

Not a choice -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Ebola politics -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Too few voters -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A special breed -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A license to vote -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Selfies in Auschwitz -- and why it's wrong -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

Election turnout -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Dairy's closing -8/5/2014, 9:19 AM

Concealing the Statehouse debate -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Beauty all around us -8/5/2014, 9:18 AM

Needing another senator -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Doing what he said -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

Needing a new understanding of energy -8/4/2014, 9:57 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy

Published on -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

You and your spouse are sitting in your living room watching "Laverne & Shirley" reruns some night when all of a sudden you hear a window break and something that looks like a jelly jar lands on the floor nearby.

Before you can get up to see what happened, the stun grenade detonates -- the flash blinding you for a few seconds and the ringing in your ears has you completely disoriented. In a little more than one second, you and your wife are face down on the carpet with a SWAT team member's knees on the back of your neck, handcuffed and arrested.

Hours later when the mess is sorted out, they let you out of jail with an apology. Ooops. Sorry. You weren't who we were looking for. Just a big misunderstanding. You're free to go.

Like most people, you want to know "why?" What in the world made the cops think you were a dangerous criminal drug suspect? What information led them to treat you like this, and where did it come from?

The answer -- the information the police and prosecutor submitted to the judge to base your arrest warrant -- is listed in a court document called a "probable cause affidavit." In any other state in the union, you can make a public records request, get a copy of that affidavit, and find out just why you were arrested.

But not in Kansas. Our Legislature keeps it secret.

Think I'm kidding? The scenario above is pretty close to what happened to Robert and Adlynyn Harte in Johnson County. After a year in court and $25,000 of their own money paid in legal fees to unseal an affidavit, these two former CIA agents with security clearances found out Robert's trip to a hydroponics store for his tomato garden and some tea leaves Adlynn threw out in the trash were all cops and prosecutors needed to send a SWAT team to their front door early one morning. They didn't find an indoor marijuana growing operation or any other drugs. For the Hartes to get answers -- not to mention the humiliation -- was expensive indeed.

A bill that came out of the Kansas House this session would have changed that, but thanks to the Senate Judiciary Committee headed by Republican Sen. Jeff King from Independence, it got gutted and the important provisions regarding arrests deleted. King even seconded the motion on the neutered bill when no one else on his committee would. As of this writing and unless the bill is put back into its original form, Kansans still can be deprived of their freedom, treated like criminals, and never know the reasoning of the cops, prosecutor and judge who did it to them.

How can Republicans such as King -- stalwarts of the party that supposedly will stand up for open government and individual rights -- still hold to a policy that seems more like it came from the Kremlin than the Sunflower State? That's a question King and his cohorts should answer. Funny how, when they're campaigning, politicians can't say enough about how much they believe in open government. But elect them, and we see how things change when the rubber meets the road.

Opponents said they fear too much pre-trial publicity will taint a case if too much of that information is available. But the fact is no criminal conviction in Kansas has ever been overturned due to pre-trial publicity. They might have been overturned because cops, prosecutors or judges are later found to have screwed up -- but never because a newspaper or TV station ran a news story.

The public should be able to see those affidavits. The work of cops, prosecutors and judges should be subject to the same public scrutiny as the work of any other public official, especially when it can deprive Kansans of their freedom and the sanctity of their homes.

Kansas deserves better than this.

Dane Hicks is president of Garnett

Publishing Inc. and editor and publisher of the Anderson County Review.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos