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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle