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Kansas prosecutor Jacqie Spradling disbarred for “insupportable acts of deception” in double homicide case


The Kansas Supreme Courtroom Friday disbarred a prosecutor who it stated engaged in “a severe sample of grossly unethical misconduct” throughout a 2012 trial that led to a lady being sentenced to life in jail for the murders of her ex-husband and his fiancee.

Prosecutor Jacqie Spradling “repeatedly made arguments to the jury that lacked any evidentiary help, deliberately lied to this courtroom in her briefs and in oral arguments, and made false statements through the disciplinary investigation,” the courtroom wrote in its opinion Friday.

Spradling can not observe legislation in Kansas. An lawyer for Spradling didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. One justice dissented, calling Spradling probably the most expert, profitable, and professional trial attorneys on this state,” although acknowledging that she made “errors” that had been “severe and expensive.”

It has been 20 years since Kansas couple Mike Sisco and Karen Harkness had been discovered gunned down in Harkness’ Topeka house. In August, for the second time, Sisco’s ex-wife Dana Chandler shall be tried for the double homicide.

Sisco, 47, and his fiancee, Harkness, 53, had been every shot a number of instances with a 9 mm weapon on July 7, 2002. Chandler, now 62, was questioned within the speedy aftermath, however wasn’t charged at first.

For the subsequent 9 years the case obtained frequent publicity as investigators sought info from the general public. “48 Hours” broadcast the present “Haunted” in October 2009, which appeared on the chilly case, together with a 2007 report commissioned by legislation enforcement that concluded that Chandler was, within the view of legislation enforcement, the “main suspect.”

A detective instructed CBS’ “48 Hours” in 2009 that investigators dominated out theft as a motive early on, noting that Sisco had “a reasonably substantial amount of money in (his) pockets” when his physique was discovered, cash gained that night time at a close-by on line casino. Harkness was discovered carrying a diamond bracelet, a Rolex watch and a gold ring, based on courtroom information.

As an alternative, legislation enforcement centered on relations and the individuals who knew the victims, in the end zeroing in on Chandler. 

She was arrested and entered not responsible pleas to 2 counts of first-degree homicide in 2011. A 12 months later, after a trial by which her kids testified in opposition to her, a Shawnee County jury convicted her on each counts and she or he was sentenced to life in jail. “48 Hours” broadcast a second present, “My Dad’s Killer,” in September 2012, reporting on the case and Chandler’s trial and conviction.

The March 2012 trial included 10 days of testimony, 80 witnesses and almost 900 reveals, “but regardless of this testimonial and documentary bulk, the State’s case relied on restricted circumstantial proof,” the Kansas Supreme Courtroom would later write in ruling on her attraction  from her conviction.

The proof introduced by prosecutor Jacqie Spradling wasn’t simply circumstantial. In at the least one occasion, it was “made-up” and “deceptive,” based on the Kansas Supreme Courtroom, which in 2018 overturned Chandler’s conviction.

In Spradling’s closing arguments she requested the jury, “How else do we all know the defendant is responsible? Mike received a safety from abuse, a courtroom order.” 

Spradling continued: “He utilized and stated, ‘Hey, choose, please order this girl to keep away from me and the choose agreed. And in 1998, which means one 12 months after he filed for the divorce, he was persevering with to have issues with the defendant not leaving him alone. So he received a courtroom order saying she has to remain away. The safety from abuse order didn’t cease the defendant, although.”

Actually, the courtroom stated in its 2018 opinion, no such order of safety was within the trial document.

The Kansas Supreme Courtroom discovered different “errors” by the prosecutor, however concluded that the prosecution’s false declare a couple of safety order was itself sufficient to overturn the conviction, as a result of it “conveyed severe opposed impressions to the jury.” 

“They improperly declared {that a} choose independently reviewed Chandler’s conduct and concluded she was harmful sufficient to justify a courtroom order for Mike’s safety. In addition they instructed the jury Chandler was so uncontrolled that she violated that courtroom order,” the Kansas Supreme Courtroom wrote then.

However the courtroom didn’t dismiss the case outright and dominated as a substitute that there was ample proof to retry Chandler.  It held that she “had motive and alternative and engaged in suspicious conduct after the murders.”

It discovered she “exhibited obsession” with Sisco and Harkness, “‘growing’ through the time main as much as the murders, as there was proof it escalated from harassing, following, and phone calls to uninvited entry into Mike’s house.”  “As to alternative,” the courtroom noticed, her “whereabouts had been unconfirmed” on the time of the murders. And “her inconsistent statements additionally represent suspicious post-murder conduct demonstrating consciousness of guilt,” the courtroom discovered.

In 2021, a state disciplinary board concluded that Spradling had taken a “win-at-all-costs” method to Chandler’s and one different case. It really helpful that she be disbarred and that her legislation license be completely suspended.  Spradling’s attraction of that call resulted in at present’s disbarment by the Kansas Supreme Courtroom.

After Chandler’s conviction was overturned, she was transferred from a state jail to the Shawnee County jail, the place she has remained since 2018 awaiting her new trial.

Within the years since, she has tried unsuccessfully to get the fees in opposition to her tossed or the trial moved to a unique county. 

One movement to dismiss filed by Chandler sought to focus on various suspects, together with a neighbor who allegedly used a test stolen from Harkness’ house. That movement was denied.

In one other unsuccessful movement to dismiss, on the grounds of “misuse of the media,” Chandler accused investigators of plotting to make use of “48 Hours” and protection from different media retailers “to realize a tactical benefit for prosecution.”

Within the movement, she cited an inside 2003 detective’s memo, “floating the thought of utilizing the media to develop leads within the crime,” in addition to a 2009 request by investigators to have a DNA take a look at expedited within the hopes that it could possibly be included in a “48 Hours” episode.

After the primary “48 Hours” present aired, detectives cited it in an effort to get one in all Chandler’s family members to cooperate, a transcript of the interrogation reveals. After her conviction was overturned, Chandler tried unsuccessfully a number of instances to subpoena a “48 Hours” producer and a correspondent, earlier than ultimately withdrawing her request to take action.

The movement additionally cited NBC and Discovery: ID protection of her case, in addition to in depth native newspaper protection.

A submitting by attorneys looking for a change of venue for Chandler’s trial sought to focus on the affect of media protection in Shawnee County, the place her upcoming trial will happen.

A analysis agency employed by her attorneys performed a survey in Shawnee and close by Johnson County. Of 302 folks in Shawnee surveyed, 200 acknowledged the case, and 99 stated they believed Chandler to be responsible. In Johnson County, simply 25 out of 302 folks surveyed acknowledged the case, with 5 folks believing Chandler was responsible. Their request to maneuver the trial location was denied.

Chandler, who maintains her innocence, is being held in jail on $1,000,000 bond. She has requested repeatedly for a discount in that quantity however these requests have been denied. Her jury trial is scheduled to start on Aug. 1. 



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