Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said Monday that Sarah Peterson Herr, a research attorney for an appellate court judge who had been suspended for tweeting disparaging remarks about former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline and his case during an ethics hearing against him last week, had been fired and that her case had been referred to other offices for possible ethical violations.
Messages left for Herr weren’t immediately returned.
Kline’s lawyer, Tom Condit, said he believes the attitudes expressed by Herr permeate the entire court system. Condit said Monday that Herr’s firing was expected, based on her actions, and didn’t change his desire for further review.
“I have no interest in insulting any judge or justice in that courthouse who is prepared to be fair and objective as it relates to Phill Kline,” Condit said. “But the bigger question has always been what kind of atmosphere prevails in the back rooms of the high courts of Kansas that would make a young lady like that so comfortable to tweet those kinds of comments in those circumstances.”
Court spokesman Ron Keefover said he couldn’t disclose details of the investigation that led to Herr’s firing, including where she was when the tweets were posted or if she was in the building during the hearing. Court rules regarding judges and justices commenting on pending cases extend to the Judicial Branch staff.