A Sedgwick County judge dropped misdemeanor charges today against Wichita-based abortion provider George Tiller at the request of the district attorney, who said that Kansas’ top law enforcement official overstepped his authority.

Judge Paul Clark granted District Attorney Nola Foulston’s request to drop 30 charges filed Thursday by Attorney General Phill Kline, a vocal abortion opponent.

Kline added to the legal jousting by announcing this afternoon that he’ll file an emergency motion for the judge to reconsider “what we believe is a flawed decision.”

Although the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer in the state, Foulston said that Kline cannot pursue charges in a particular county without being invited by the local prosecutor to do so, or without authority from the governor.

“The statutes and case law are clear,” Foulston said in a statement released by her office this afternoon.

“The district attorney has not invited or requested, consented or acquiesced, or failed to object to the filing of the complaint,” Foulston’s office added. “The district attorney does in fact object to any such filing by the Attorney General, as he lacks the legal authority to file such complaint in this jurisdiction.”

Foulston said she’d received no word from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius allowing Kline to file charges in Sedgwick County District Court.

That’s because Sebelius didn’t.

“I can tell you with absolute certainty the governor did not” consent to the charges, said Nicole Corcoran, the governor’s spokeswoman. “This is a basic rule governing the office of the attorney general, and it’s rather surprising he doesn’t know that.”

During a news conference this afternoon, Kline said he had met with Foulston, told her of his intentions and she had not questioned his decision.

Kline was trying to fend off a day of criticism.

It began with Tiller finding a summons to appear in court stuck in the door of his home overnight.

Kline had apparently filed the charges under seal at 4:37 p.m. Thursday. But Tiller didn’t find the summons until the next morning.

Tiller’s lawyers called a press conference before noon, saying they expected the case to be dismissed and sharply criticizing Kline’s actions with three weeks left of his office, after voters denied him re-election last month.

“The filing of criminal charges by Phill Kline is the last gasp of a defeated and discredited politician,” Lee Thompson said from his law office in Wichita. “Rather than exercising his duty as a prosecutor to see that justice is done, he has chosen to engage in a malicious and spiteful prosecution on the eve of Christmas.”

The charges include allegations that Tiller performed late-term abortions anywhere from 25 to 31 weeks of gestation.

To perform abortions after 22 weeks of gestation, the provider must show a health risk to the pregnant woman, under case law from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that such risks include the mental health of the woman.

The charges include claims that Tiller misdiagnosed a variety of mental illnesses and disorders in those late-term abortions and did not properly report them to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“You can see each primary count is Phill Kline’s disagreement with the notion that a woman’s mental health can be considered in a abortion determination,” Dan Monnat, a criminal defense lawyer who represents Tiller, told The Eagle after the complaint had been unsealed. “And each secondary count is some hypertechnical bizarre view of the state’s reporting requirement.”

By 12:50 p.m. today, Clark had signed the order.

Monnat said he and Thompson, a former U.S. attorney, had contemplated the legality of Kline’s dealings with the Sedgwick County court but had not discussed the matter with Foulston.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the courageous actions of the district attorney,” Monnat said. “Really, there were multiple legal grounds on which to get this dismissed. Factually, Dr. Tiller is innocent of any wrongdoing, so a motion to dismiss should be granted on that basis. Nola has now found the legal flaw in the attorney general’s parting action, which resulted in an expeditious dismissal.”

Voters overwhelmingly rejected Kline in the Nov. 7 general election. Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney who switched parties to take him on as a Democrat, assumes office Jan. 8.

Abortion proved one of the biggest issue in Kline’s campaign. Republicans recently chose Kline to replace Morrison as Johnson County district attorney.

Over the years, Kline has investigated whether Tiller and other abortion providers have performed illegal late-term abortions and have failed to report suspected child abuse as required by law.

Tiller’s clinic is the site of daily protests. He has also be the target of violence: His clinic was bombed in 1985 and he was shot by a protester in 1993.

A few weeks ago — after a two-year legal battle — Kline obtained the medical records of 90 patients from Tiller’s clinic and from a clinic in Overland Park operated by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Reach Ron Sylvester at 316-268-6514 or rsylvester@wichitaeagle.com.
Contributing: Fred Mann and Hurst Laviana of The Eagle; Steve Vockrodt of the Olathe News reporting from Topeka.

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By RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle

And the top 100-ratings include several Kansas private defense attorneys that I have a lot of respect for, like Tom Bath and Dan Monnat. Click here to continue reading

TOPEKA – Wichita abortion provider George Tiller will ask the Kansas Supreme Court to investigate Attorney General Phill Kline and Bill O’Reilly over the Fox television host’s comments that he obtained information from Kansas abortion records, Tiller’s attorneys said Saturday.

They said Tiller wants the court to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the investigation and take possession of the records of 90 patients from two clinics. They said he will make his requests Monday.

Kline spokeswoman Sherriene Jones said the attorney general doesn’t know how O’Reilly obtained his information.

She said the Supreme Court isn’t the proper place for such requests and said Tiller’s plans are a “political ploy.”

“They’re just trying to create a media frenzy just days before the election and once again are trying to confuse and lie to Kansas voters,” she said.

Friday night during a national broadcast of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the host said while interviewing Kline that a “source inside” told the show that Tiller performs late-term abortions when a patient is depressed, which O’Reilly deemed “executing babies.”

He also said his show has evidence that Tiller’s clinic, off Kellogg just east of Oliver, and another unnamed clinic have broken Kansas law by failing to report potential rapes with child victims ages 10 to 15.

Late-term abortions are illegal in Kansas unless physicians determine the pregnancy could put the woman’s physical or mental health at risk.

Source of info unknown 

Tiller’s attorneys, Pedro Irigonegaray of Topeka, and Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat of Wichita, issued a joint statement decrying the “national media event.”

“The fears about threats to the sanctity and privacy of medical records were well-grounded,” they said.

O’Reilly did not say whether his information came from the records of 90 patients from Tiller’s clinic and a clinic operated in Overland Park by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Kline waged a two-year battle to obtain those records and received edited versions of them Oct. 24.

It wasn’t clear Saturday whether O’Reilly or his staff had viewed any records themselves. A request to Fox in Washington to interview O’Reilly or someone associated with his show wasn’t answered Saturday.

“We don’t know anything about Mr. O’Reilly’s inside source,” Jones said. “I assumed he was talking about somebody on the inside of the abortion clinics.”

Asked about the possibility that the information came from a clinic insider, Irigonegaray said, “That’s preposterous.”

Campaign issue 

Patient privacy has been a major issue as Kline is running for a second term against Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney. Morrison has repeatedly criticized Kline for seeking abortion clinic records, saying it invaded patients’ privacy. Kline says he’s not investigating any patient, only potential rapists and doctors who may have broken Kansas’ abortion laws. He maintains that patients’ privacy has been protected.

“Phill Kline told us these records would be kept private, but now that Phill Kline has them, the host of a national talk show Kline is on says he has seen the records,” said Mark Simpson, Morrison’s campaign manager. “O’Reilly would not be claiming to have seen the private medical records of Kansans if Phill Kline had not violated Kansans’ privacy by seizing the records.”

Irigonegaray said in an interview that he was outraged both by O’Reilly’s remarks and by Kline’s failure to demand answers from the television host about where he received his information. Irigonegaray said the records contain no evidence of wrongdoing by the clinics.

“This has been our concern from the beginning, that if he ended up with these records, that just this type of event would occur. Our worst nightmare has happened,” Irigonegaray said. “Women in America deserve better than this.”

Staff reviewing records 

Kline confirmed last week that he’d received the records from Shawnee County District Judge Richard Anderson, edited so that individual patients could not be identified.

Kline said he’s turned the records over to staff who are reviewing them to prosecute possible cases of child rape, forcible rape, incest, illegal late-term abortions, failing to report sexual abuse of a child and making a “false writing.”

“There’s only a limited number of people within the attorney general’s office who have access to those records, and I can assure you that none of them have shared that information beyond the investigators and prosecutors who are reviewing the cases,” Jones said.

O’Reilly told viewers Friday night that his program has been investigating Tiller for a year. Now, he said, it has evidence about abortions in Kansas.

Kline suggested during his interview that O’Reilly inferred that late-term abortions had been performed for mental health reasons, given that state statistics show none have been performed to preserve a woman’s life or to prevent permanent damage to a physical bodily function, two other reasons they are allowed.

O’Reilly replied: “Our information says that on almost every medical sheet — and obviously we have a source inside here — it says, ‘depression.’ I don’t know whether you have that information or not — I don’t know — but that’s what it says.”

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By JOHN HANNA
Associated Press

KSN calls the Wichita detective to bolster its defense in the defamation case. Detective Dana Gouge told a jury Thursday that Wichita police obtained a warrant to take the DNA of Roger Valadez because he was a BTK suspect.

KSN-TV’s lawyer called Gouge to the witness stand in its defense against Valadez’s lawsuit, which claims the NBC affiliate invaded his privacy and defamed him by suggesting he could be Wichita’s notorious serial killer.

Lawyer Bernie Rhodes, representing KSN, sought to show that Channel 3 provided its viewers with accurate information after police took Valadez into custody on Dec. 1, 2004. Valadez’s lawyer, Craig Shultz, portrayed KSN as being lucky in its accuracy.

Shultz asked Gouge whether he or any other members of the BTK Task Force provided information to news reporters, including KSN, about police suspicions.

“Absolutely not,” Gouge said.

Gouge’s testimony about what happened that day was similar to what television crews across Wichita reported. KSN was the only station to use Valadez’s name. That has the station facing the first defamation trial against a media outlet in Sedgwick County in decades — the first in Kansas in 10 years.

During testimony spanning three days, KSN news director Todd Spessard said Valadez’s name was publicly available on jail logs. Spessard also said the details KSN reported were true. Gouge testified that he received a tip at 7:50a.m. Dec. 1, convincing him that Valadez fit a profile of the serial killer that police had released the day before, Nov. 30.

“There was a strong likelihood he was BTK,” Gouge said.

Police watched Valadez’s home most of that day. Although they got no answer at the door, they knew he was home. Valadez, who took the stand briefly Thursday, said he’d been in bed sick for three days and didn’t hear the knocking.At about 7:30 p.m., police went into the house, guns drawn. Valadez said he was startled. Police took a swab from Valadez’s mouth and took him from his home.

Valadez spent the night and most of Dec. 2 in jail, as police rushed his swab to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s DNA testing lab in Topeka. Valadez was held on years-old misdemeanor warrants on 10 times the cash bond typical for such minor charges.

“I could not eliminate him as a suspect until I had the DNA results later that day,” Gouge said.

Those results cleared Valadez.

Valadez got out of jail about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 2004. He met his family at the office of Dan Monnat, the lawyer his three children hired in time to hear his name linked to BTK on KSN’s 6 p.m. news. Daughter Melanie Valadez testified Thursday that she’d never seen her father cry as he did at that moment.

More than two months later, Dennis Rader was arrested. He pleaded guilty to 10 murders as BTK and is serving a life prison sentence. 

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The Wichita Eagle – By Ron Sylvester

Wichita police complied with a court order Tuesday and destroyed more than 1,300 DNA swabs that were taken as part of the BTK investigation. Manila envelopes containing swabs were tossed several hundred at a time into a portable incinerator at the Police Department’s firing range.

After 10 minutes in a propane-fueled incinerator that is usually used to destroy ammunition, all that was left was a light gray powder the consistency of cigarette ashes. The destruction of the evidence marked the end of a sometimes-controversial process in which police asked for DNA samples from hundreds of people whom callers to BTK tip lines named as suspects.

Although some considered the process an invasion of privacy, Deputy Chief Robert Lee said their concerns should be eased knowing the samples had been destroyed.

In a typical criminal case, a DNA sample can be used to prepare a profile that can then be stored on a computer. But Lee and other police officials said no such profiles were used in the BTK testing. They said all DNA evidence in the case had now been purged from investigative files.

With the BTK case solved and Dennis Rader serving a life sentence for 10 murders, District Judge Greg Waller ordered the swabs destroyed on Oct. 12. Police and prosecutors blamed the delay in carrying out the order on an innocent oversight by investigators and the time required to complete paperwork. Not everyone was satisfied by that explanation.

Wichita psychologist Bernie Mermis, a former Wichita State University professor, said he was probably swabbed because of BTK’s known ties to the university. He said he didn’t give it much thought when detectives showed up at his door and asked for a DNA sample.

“I certainly wouldn’t do it again, not without some clear guidelines about what would happen to the sample,” he said. Mermis said he now realizes that scientists can use a DNA sample to glean information about a person’s relatives or health. “I think are some very significant problems with these DNA sweeps,” he said.

Wichita lawyer Dan Monnat, whose firm represents a man who was forced by a court order to give a DNA sample in the BTK investigation, said he was leery of the process. “I think any time law enforcement officers show up at your doorstep and forcibly or unforcibly obtain bodily fluids from you, there’s some invasion of privacy,” he said.

All content © 2006 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

The Wichita Eagle – By Hurst Laviana

Six months after a judge ordered the destruction of more than 1,300 DNA samples taken to eliminate possible suspects in the BTK serial murder investigation, none have been destroyed, police say. That situation will change soon, they say. Deputy Police Chief Robert Lee told The Eagle on Monday that the department expects to have all the samples destroyed — in a careful, deliberate process — by mid-June.

The task has not been completed partly because a key police official – Lt. Ken Landwehr – didn’t receive the paperwork on the court order until March, Landwehr said. “It’s probably as much my fault as anybody because I didn’t ask for it,” Landwehr said. He said he promptly took the order to the police property and evidence staff once he received it.

Still, the disposal process is more time-consuming than people probably realize, said Landwehr, the homicide unit supervisor who has been widely praised for his work in the BTK investigation. Only two people in the property and evidence unit have clearance to handle and dispose of such evidence, Landwehr said. And they also have to handle evidence streaming in from ongoing cases.

“It’s not like I can take 20 people over there and do it one day,” said Landwehr.

He headed the investigation that led to the arrest of Dennis Rader last year for 10 murders committed by BTK since 1974. Rader pleaded guilty last summer. During the investigation leading to Rader’s capture, Bernie Mermis voluntarily gave a DNA sample to police. He figured he was on a list of potential suspects because he taught at Wichita State University in the 1970s. Authorities concluded that BTK had ties to the campus.

Beginning in December, Mermis said, he began writing officials to find out if his DNA was being destroyed as ordered. Although Mermis appreciates the work of police to catch Rader, he said he would be reluctant to give his DNA again, partly because of privacy concerns and partly because of the time it’s taken to dispose of the samples.

“Nobody followed through on what (District Attorney) Nola Foulston promised and what the judge had ordered” regarding DNA disposal, said Mermis, a Wichita psychologist.

Before investigators arrested Rader near his Park City home, they received thousands of tips about possible suspects, and they used DNA samples to eliminate the innocent. Each sample, taken by a swab of the inside of each person’s cheek, went into a package that has been stored in a secure location, police said.

On Oct. 12, with the case solved and Rader starting to spend the rest of his life in prison, District Judge Greg Waller, who presided over the BTK court proceedings, ordered the destruction of the DNA samples.

Kevin O’Connor, a deputy district attorney, said prosecutors asked that the DNA samples be disposed of to protect the privacy of those who gave samples. Both O’Connor and Lee, the deputy chief, said Monday that they want to again thank those people who aided the investigation by giving samples. “Unfortunately,” O’Connor said, “it’s taking more time than we expected it would” to dispose of the samples.

Each person’s DNA has been kept in a separate sealed package. The two property and evidence personnel have to locate each package, verify the name and check it off. “We want to make sure it is indeed the correct one,” Lee said. Because the samples are considered biohazards, Landwehr said, they likely will be incinerated. “Disposing of those swabs is a priority to us,” Lee said. “We are glad to get rid of these 1,300-plus swabs.”All but a handful of those people whose DNA was taken gave samples willingly, police and prosecutors have said.

Among the few people whose samples were taken against their will was Roger Valadez, a Wichita man who said police wrongly targeted him as a suspect. BTK task force investigators and KBI agents came to his home one night in December of 2004 and seized items. His DNA was taken, and he was arrested on unrelated, minor charges and then released.

Asked about the time it has taken to destroy the samples, Valadez’s lawyer, Dan Monnat, said: “That’s one of the problems with sensitive, personal information in the hands of the government. “There may be a court order to destroy it, but you discover a long time hence that the personal information is still in the hands of the government, undestroyed and with the government still having the opportunity to put it to use.”

Waller, the judge, said people have a right to ask about the disposition of their DNA samples. But Waller said he wasn’t troubled by the time it has taken to follow his order. “I don’t really see it as a problem,” he said, “because court orders don’t necessarily happen right now.”

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The Wichita Eagle – By Tim Potter

Judge Greg Waller will allow Roger Valadez’s lawyers, but for now not Valadez, to find out why BTK investigators raided Valadez’s home and took his DNA last December. The Sedgwick County district judge wants the lawyers representing Valadez in civil and criminal cases to get with a prosecutor to review the affidavits for search warrants executed last December.

Waller ordered Friday that the lawyers should see if they can agree what information needs to be removed to protect the identity of the police informant who apparently connected Valadez to the infamous BTK strangler. Wichita police said they were acting on a tip relating to the BTK case when they and KBI agents burst into Valadez’s home, took a sample of Valadez’s DNA, booked him into custody and then searched his house. But authorities have never publicly acknowledged Valadez was a BTK suspect.

Two months later, police arrested Dennis Rader, who confessed to being BTK, pleaded guilty to killing 10 people and was sentenced to life in prison. For the past nine months, Valadez has tried to see the sworn affidavits that persuaded Waller to sign the warrants.

Assistant Sedgwick County District Attorney Kevin O’Connor stressed to Waller that the person who tipped off police should remain anonymous. “It is the public policy of this state to protect police informants,” O’Connor said. O’Connor also told the court that the affidavits contain information, “that, frankly, I don’t think Mr. Valadez wants to see.”

That suggestion irked Dan Monnat, Valadez’s lawyer. “To Roger, saying ‘you don’t want to know the truth’ sounds an awful lot like ‘we don’t want you to know the truth,’ ” Monnat said afterward.

Kansas is one of the only states in America where arrest and search warrant affidavits remain sealed after they are executed. Other states cross out identities of police informants and details of other confidential investigative procedures, then release the documents.

Waller allowed Monnat, O’Connor and Craig Shultz, who represents Valadez in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against one Wichita television station, to see the documents. They are to try to agree on what information to take out regarding the tipster.

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The Wichita Eagle – By Ron Sylvester

A Sedgwick County district judge heard arguments Friday over whether authorities should turn over a document that explains why police searched a Wichita man’s home in December as part of the BTK investigation. Roger Valadez was cleared of being a BTK suspect days after police rushed into his home, searched his house and took a DNA swab from him against his will, his lawyer says. But five months later, Valadez still doesn’t know how authorities justified the search warrant.

In a sometimes tense and impassioned hearing before District Judge Greg Waller, Valadez’s lawyer, Dan Monnat, contended that it is his client’s right to know why police — acting on a tip in the serial-murder case — suspected him and searched his home. It’s not clear when Waller will rule on the affidavit.

Dennis Rader, a 60-year-old Park City man, has since been charged with 10 counts of murder in the BTK case.

Monnat called the police search a “home invasion” and said information in the affidavit could be used in a lawsuit seeking damages. But Kevin O’Connor, a deputy district attorney, argued that releasing the affidavit would disclose information that could interfere with the pending case against Rader. He didn’t elaborate.

O’Connor also contended that releasing the affidavit, which would disclose the identity of a tipster or informants, would have a chilling effect on others who provide information to authorities.

Monnat said Valadez poses no threat to any tipster. Knowing the identity of the tipster is important to any challenge against police, he said. During Friday’s hearing, Waller granted Valadez’s request that his DNA be purged from any state databases and sample repositories.

But the main point of contention in Waller’s courtroom Friday was the affidavit, or oral testimony, used to justify the search. Monnat filed a motion seeking the information in early March, after Waller signed a seal on search warrants involving Valadez. Prosecutors said the seal was sought to protect informants and privacy interests.

Police said they went to the home to follow up on a tip they had received in the BTK investigation. Police arrested Valadez on an unrelated misdemeanor trespassing warrant.

Monnat argued that state law says Valadez is entitled to see the affidavit. “Mr. Valadez can think of no reason on Earth” why someone would suspect him in the BTK case, Monnat said. “The power of the state to break down doors and raid homes is an awesome power,” Monnat said. When O’Connor stepped up to address Waller, he dismissed the “scary words by Mr. Monnat.” O’Connor said the search was legally executed.

The affidavit, he said, is not in the public interest and should remain confidential, to protect informants. If the information were released to Monnat, O’Connor implied, it could be released to others, including media covering the issue.

Valadez initially came under intense media scrutiny. Within hours of his arrest, and before he had been cleared, his name and address were aired in some media accounts.

He has a pending privacy lawsuit against KSN-TV, Channel 3.

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The Wichita Eagle – By Tim Potter

A Wichita municipal judge on Tuesday dismissed charges of battery against a security guard for the city’s main abortion provider.

Judge Jennifer Lind-Spahn ruled that the city’s case against John M. Rayburn had violated the state’s speedy trial laws.

Rayburn’s lawyer, Dan Monnat, argued that because city lawyers had backed out of a plea deal, they’d violated his due process rights.

Last year, Rayburn was charged with battery after a scuffle with protesters outside Women’s Health Care Services, 5107 E. Kellogg Drive. The clinic has been the site of many protests over the past two decades — some of them violent.

According to court files, Monnat and the city’s law department had negotiated for Rayburn to plead no contest in a lesser charge of “interfering with a parade.” City lawyers acknowledged agreeing to the deal.

But when lawyers Gary Rebenstrof and Mary McDonald presented the deal to the victim, Mark Hollick of Operation Save America, he asked the prosecutors to take the case to trial.

The anti-abortion rights group posted messages on its Web site encouraging supporters to call Wichita City Council members and other officials to nix the plea bargain.

Hollick’s request resulted in the city missing the 180-day deadline prescribed under the Kansas speedy trial law.

The city told the judge it would consider appealing the ruling.

Reach Ron Sylvester at rsylvyster@wichitaeagle.com.

All content © 2005 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

By RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle

DNA swabs have been collected from only about 1,300 people in the BTK serial murder investigation, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said Tuesday — less than one-third the number she reported in an earlier news conference about the case. Foulston said the 4,000 figure she used in January actually referred to the number of tips that were cleared by the 1,300 samples. In many cases, Wichita police asked a person for a sample after receiving multiple tips about him. Foulston said the discrepancy in the numbers surfaced during a meeting about the case Tuesday morning.

During an afternoon news conference, she said the DNA “elimination samples” were compared only to evidence collected in the BTK investigation. She said the samples would not be put into any criminal DNA database. Police started collecting DNA samples from potential suspects in March 2004 after BTK sent a letter to The Eagle that claimed responsibility for a 1986 murder that had not previously been linked to him.

Ten other packages have since turned up that reportedly were connected to the killer. One contained a computer disk that reportedly led police to the arrest last month of Dennis L. Rader. Rader is awaiting a preliminary hearing on 10 counts of first-degree murder.

During the news conference, Foulston apologized for the mix-up in the numbers and said she did not blame it on the Wichita Police Department, which oversaw the collection of the samples. “It was my fault, not their fault,” she said. “I don’t know why no one corrected me…before today.” The 4,000 figure had been widely reported in the past two months.

Foulston said the DNA samples probably will be held in the crime labs that processed them — one at the Sedgwick County Forensic Science Center and one at Kansas Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Topeka. Although some have questioned plans to hold onto the evidence from people who have been cleared, Foulston said state law requires evidence in criminal cases to be kept as long as the case remains open. If and when the BTK investigation is closed, she said, it will be up to a judge to decide what to do with the evidence. She said a judge could decide to simply destroy it.

In the meantime, Foulston said, law enforcement officials will make no attempts to solve other crimes with the samples. “This evidence will not, shall not and cannot be placed in any database at all,” she said. The evidence is not subject to the Kansas Open Records Act, she said. “These records are not available to anyone in the media,” she said. “These records are not available to anyone on the street. These records are protected. “We are the guardians of this evidence, and evidence is being protected.”

One Wichita defense lawyer with an interest in the topic is Dan Monnat, who represents a man who was forced through a court order to submit a DNA sample to police. The man, Roger Valadez, went to court last week in an effort to get the sample back.

“Negotiations are ongoing with the state of Kansas in that case, and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved by agreement,” Monnat said.

Foulston declined to comment on the Valadez case.

All content © 2005 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

The Wichita Eagle – By Hurst Laviana