KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is observing a ripple effect in the legal community following stunning accusations in a whistleblower’s letter.
If true, his allegations could re-open the door on some criminal convictions, a strategy that defense attorneys are already looking into.
The letter accuses KCPD of suppressing certain information, not just for defense attorneys but for prosecutors as well.
The letter comes from a KCPD associate general counsel who says he was terminated last week. His name is Ryan McCarty. He said he was hired by former KCPD Chief Rick Smith, but by the time he started, he was working under Interim Chief Joseph Mabin.
In his letter, he details his six months of employment at KCPD and accuses the administration of misconduct related to the courts.
On Saturday, the same day Kansas City residents met and protested the candidates for KCPD’s chief opening, the email hit inboxes.
The main accusation: the department’s general counsel was not following “Giglio” requests, the name for a Missouri Supreme Court rule saying that the state shall: “Disclose to the defendant any material or information that tends to negate the guilt of the defendant for the charged offense, mitigate the degree of the offense charged, reduce the punishment of the offense charged.”
The allegations were surprising to some local attorneys.
“It was my birthday. So I got up to celebrate my birthday, and I see this email from Mr. McCarty that I’ve been included on, and I start reading it and my jaw drops. My jaw drops,” said Dan Ross, a Kansas City criminal defense attorney.
“To say I’m annoyed is an understatement. I think a number of his comments in what he filed with his letter relate specifically to my cases,” Ross said.
He said if information — say, complaints against an officer — were not shared with attorneys, it prevents those attorneys from being effective.
“If you have ineffective assistance of council, it could be subject to a redo, meaning the conviction set aside. And that’s what we’re concerned about,” Ross said.
In the letter, McCarty said he raised the issue with his boss, KCPD General Counsel Holly Dodge.
“I sufficiently put her on notice that her actions could pose a huge liability for KCPD but her being right and having the final say was more important to her than shoring up the waning credibility of KCPD,” one line in McCarty’s eight-page letter said.
McCarty also included hundreds of pages of additional documents.
In FOX4’s attempt to connect with Dodge, a spokesperson for KCPD said: “Any allegations made have been or will be reviewed and addressed as appropriate.”
Ross suspects there will be an outside look, weighing if this was negligence, sloppiness or something more, if true.
“If it’s intentional, there’s going to be proverbial heck to pay for the people who engaged in it because arguably that could be misconduct,” Ross aid.
There is a Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners meeting scheduled for Tuesday. There is no guarantee that police leadership will talk about this, but a lot of eyes are going to be on that meeting, especially as the selection process for the new police chief carries forward.
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