Spradling could be disbarred

Jacqie Spradling, the Iola attorney hired in 2017 to prosecute the trials against Jacob Ewing that year in Jackson County District Court, should be disbarred over “prosecutorial misconduct” in the Ewing trials and in another high-profile trial conducted in Shawnee County, according to a recommendation given to the Kansas Supreme Court.

A three-attorney disciplinary panel unanimously recommended to the court that Spradling should be disbarred because of her conduct in the Ewing trials and in the 2012 murder trial and resulting conviction of Dana Chandler, as well as for making false claims about her actions in those trials to the state’s highest court.

Panelists John Larson, Darcy Williamson and William Jeter, in their report to the Supreme Court, announced Friday, June 4, said that following a review of Spradling’s actions in the Ewing and Chandler trials, the attorney “knowingly and intentionally” misled juries in those trials in order to secure convictions.

“Based on the deliberative pattern of serious misconduct and the serious injury that followed, the hearing panel unanimously recommends that the respondent (Spradling) be disbarred,” the report stated. “From all the evidence presented, it appears that the respondent concluded that Chandler and Ewing were guilty of the crimes charged and she adopted a ‘win-at-all-costs’ approach.”

After the convictions against Ewing and Chandler were overturned by higher courts, Spradling was investigated by the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office, which ruled early in 2020 that there was “probable cause to believe that Ms. Spradling has violated the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct,” it was reported.

The office also proposed that Spradling’s license to practice law be suspended, but Spradling argued that she should not be disciplined and had initially dismissed allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the Ewing and Chandler trials.

But at a disciplinary hearing this past December, Spradling admitted that she had “failed” to carry out her prosecutorial duties in an ethical manner, prompting the panel to issue its recommendation of disbarment to the Kansas Supreme Court, which holds final authority in disciplinary matters involving attorneys.

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