Law enforcement agencies, DA to work together to review case files from Golubski

Showing a united effort to handle case review files from former detective Roger Golubski, on Monday the KCKPD chief, Wyandotte County district attorney and UG mayor announced a plan of working together.

Golubski is a retired detective from the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department who was indicted by the federal government with several felonies over the course of his career, from 1975 through 2010. After he retired from KCKPD in 2010, he went to work for the Edwardsville Police Department until 2016. There has been a demand from the community and beyond to review all the cases he worked on in his career.

District Attorney Mark Dupree went before the Unified Government Commission on Thursday night to request $1.7 million for software that will scan in about 4,000 boxes of old DA case files and make them searchable electronically. It will help the DA’s office find all the old cases Golubski handled, as that is not now indexed.

Dupree said he will return to the UG Commission for a special meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, to get the commission’s final approval for the $1.7 million software request.

Dual investigations will be going on in different departments.

KCK Police Chief Karl Oakman, in a news conference Monday, stressed that Roger Golubski does not represent the culture of the police department here, and that corruption will not be tolerated on the KCKPD. Officers who willfully violate policies will be held accountable by police and investigators for their actions.

Oakman, who came to the department from Kansas City, Missouri, was not employed here previously and does not have ties to the KCKPD before he was hired.

This recent change in leadership has led to the district attorney’s office being more able to work with police on investigations involving Golubski cases, according to Dupree.

Oakman said he had worked to institute several reforms since arriving here, becoming compliant with national initiatives to reduce excess violence, and bringing in outside training from the FBI to conduct color of law training.

Oakman said Golubski’s alleged actions occurred 20 to 25 years ago, but he wore the uniform and caused pain to the community and was a shame to the badge. His tenure and role were real and ethical failures, he said.

Golubski was involved in investigating 155 cases in his time as a detective in KCK, Oakman said. The KCKPD will establish a team of detectives and commanders to review all of his investigative cases, where they will look at policies and procedures following investigation, if techniques were used ethically and legally, and if they find any evidence to identify a suspect. If the review team discovers an issue with the three areas, the FBI and district attorney will be notified and the case will be assigned to a cold case unit for further investigation, he said.

Oakman said the KCKPD will conduct an internal review of Golubksi’s tenure to 2010 and use these findings to make sure that similar violations will never occur again in the department.

The process will not be quick, but it will be thorough, according to officials.

Dupree requested $1.7 million from the UG Commission last Thursday to have DA office files scanned in prior to 2007 that were stored away in boxes. Those files are not searchable electronically now.

Dupree said his office had begun since 2017 a long investigating process and that there had been found multiple concerns with Golubski’s work. Golubski was the detective who investigated the Lamonte McIntyre case. McIntyre was convicted. Decades later he was cleared by the Midwest Innocence Project, after he served for alleged crimes he did not commit, according to authorities.

The DA’s office reached out to the Department of Justice, FBI, KBI and the U.S. attorney for the state of Kansas, Dupree said. Because the FBI could not take those cases, the DA gave them to the director of KBI to review. At the time, the DA did not ask the KCKPD to review them because the police chief then was Golubski’s former partner, he said.

The DA’s office also worked with the U.S. attorney on this investigation of Golubski, he said. After investigation the FBI and U.S. attorney were able to indict Golubski, he said. It was not until 2021 when Oakman was chief that KCKPD was able to be brought into the investigation, he said. Once Oakman was chief, the investigation began to make progress as information was free-flowing, according to Dupree.

Dupree said once cases are reviewed through its conviction and integrity unit, he will ask for funding for an additional attorney to assist and an additional advocate to begin meeting with victims. If they find further evidence, the DA’s office will reach out to the police chief to collaborate, he said. The police will do its own investigation while the DA’s office will also do an investigation.

Dupree said Golubski’s work at the Edwardsville Police Department also will be reviewed. He did not expect to have very many cases from that work.

Dupree said he had been asking the UG to give him funding for this work, and in 2018 asked for files to be digitized. Funds at that time were denied, according to Dupree.

He said everyone at this point is willing to do whatever it takes to bring about justice.

Mayor Tyrone Garner said he would continue to stand with all those victims who have been adversely impacted by the allegations of criminal misconduct. He would continue to support an thorough investigation into any allegations that regard any misconduct from any UG employee, he said. He welcomed investigations, and believes action should be taken from the results.

“We’re here because we care about people and their lives, and we’re doing everything we can about making a difference,” Garner said.

Work had already been started in all these efforts, Garner said. They are taking a unified approach to a challenging case.

Garner said he also has taken steps to promote community safety and justice. He has appointed the Rev. Rick Behrens to chair a local law enforcement advisory board to work with the community, and he has supported the reduction of fines and fees in municipal court systems.

“We’re here because we do care about Wyandotte County,” Garner said.

The community will need to come together to support local, state and federal law enforcement, he said.

Any individuals who may have evidence are asked to come forward and give evidence to federal and state authorities, according to law enforcement officials. They also can come to the KCK police department, the district attorney’s office, the FBI, or other authorities.

According to Dupree, it usually takes years to do a thorough investigation into old cases, so people should not expect immediate results.

See more information on the $1.7 million request at https://wyandottedaily.com/da-gets-commitment-for-1-7-million-for-digitizing-past-files-in-relation-to-review-of-golubski-cases/.

Anti-corruption rally held in KCK

An anti-corruption rally by Team Roc and the Midwest Innocence Project rolled through downtown Kansas City, Kansas, today.

The rally demanded justice in Kansas City, Kansas, specifically mentioning the cases of former detective Roger Golubski, and asked for an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into the Kansas City, Kansas, police force.

Local activist Marcus Winn, director of voter engagement with MORE2, who supports an increased investigation, made this statement about today’s rally:

“Today’s rally with both local and national partners is a continuation of the years-long campaign for transparency, accountability, and long delayed justice that MORE2 has undertaken here in Wyandotte County,” Winn stated.

“While we celebrate positive steps in the reform of the Wyandotte County criminal legal system, more must be done: a full pattern or practice investigation of the entire Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, a full review of every case touched by Roger Golubski, and freedom for those who remain falsely incarcerated because of corruption in our county. MORE2 remains committed to this vision of justice for all in Wyandotte County.”

To see some video clips from the rally, visit the Team Roc Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/teamroc.

To view a story about this rally, visit
https://www.kcur.org/news/2022-11-17/as-federal-charges-add-pressure-on-kck-police-lamonte-mcintyre-rallies-for-justice

Trio of Kansas Supreme Court justices up for retention defend independent judiciary

Each affirms judiciary supports functioning democracy by adhering to rule of law

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Overland Park — Kansas Supreme Court Justice Melissa Taylor Standridge said the legislative and executive branches of government were distinct from the judicial branch because judges and justices were required to cast aside personal politics when making decisions.

“We are very different,” she told an audience Thursday night. “The first two branches of government cater to the people. Who do we cater to? The rule of law. Our own personal beliefs don’t matter. You can say that’s why we wear black robes because we leave everything behind. We have to make unpopular decisions sometimes.”

Standridge was joined at Johnson County Community College by Chief Justice Marla Luckert and Justice Evelyn Wilson, all of whom will be on the Nov. 8 ballot to determine whether they retain their jobs.

Six of the state’s seven state Supreme Court members face retention votes in a politically charged atmosphere given the statewide vote in August rejecting an abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution drafted in response to a 2019 decision by the state’s highest court. The decision said the constitution guaranteed people bodily autonomy and, therefore, a right to abortion.

Some Kansas political activists have advocated defeat of justices in anticipation replacements would be opposed to abortion rights.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, there’s been more of a tendency for some factions to want to look at whether decisions came out the way they wanted them to look,” Luckert said.

Wilson, Luckert and Standridge devoted half of the “nonpartisan, educational” discussion to details of their educational, professional and legal backgrounds. Each justice touched on the value of an independent judiciary dedicated to fairness and impartiality in district court and appellate cases.

The forum also carved into three methods relied upon in Kansas to select justices or judges. It includes direct election and merit selection of district court judges, depending on jurisdiction. Spots on the Kansas Court of Appeals for nearly a decade have involved nominations by the governor followed by Kansas Senate confirmation. Supreme Court openings are filled through a merit-based evaluation of applicants by a nine-member commission with the final selection made by the governor.

The Supreme Court selection process in Kansas is distinct from the federal model in which the U.S. president nominates a person to the U.S. Supreme Court subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Some Kansas politicians want to amend the Kansas Constitution to give the Kansas Senate veto power over a governor’s picks for the Supreme Court.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly appointed Wilson and Standridge in 2020 to the state Supreme Court, while Republican Gov. Bill Graves appointed Luckert in 2002. Wilson and Luckert both served as district court judges in Shawnee County ahead of their appointments to the high court. Standridge served on the Kansas Court of Appeals for 13 years, writing more than 1,000 opinions, prior to shifting to the state Supreme Court.

Luckert said the merit-selection system to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court was the most democratic in terms of allowing anyone with basic qualifications to apply.

She also said Kansans benefit from stability in the judiciary. A revolving door of judges and justices would inject turmoil into many facets of life, she said.

“People make life-and-death decisions based on the things we decide,” Luckert said. “Continuity of decision making and precedent is important to all kinds of aspects of the way our economy functions and the way our society functions.”

No state Supreme Court justice has been shown the door by voters in more than 60 years.

Much of the fervor in 2022 has centered on the state court’s decision three years ago that affirmed the Kansas Constitution guaranteed women bodily autonomy and access to abortion services. Kansas legislators and lobbyists who objected to the decision crafted the constitutional amendment to effectively nullify the court’s perspective on abortion rights, which took on greater significance after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade that provided a national right to abortion for 50 years.

Kansans swarmed the polls in August to take part in the vote on the abortion amendment. It was rejected by a margin exceeding 170,000 votes.

In the past, capital punishment and school funding inspired organizations to seek ouster of Supreme Court justices.

Former Justice Carol Beier, who is part of Keep Kansas Courts Impartial, said voters in November should retain all six sitting justices whether appointed by a Republican or Democratic governor. Former Gov. Sam Brownback, speaking in August to the Wichita-based Culture Shield Network, said the vote was an opportunity to move the system toward appointment of more justices opposed to abortion.

Kansas Reflector stories, www.kansasreflector.com, stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

See more at https://kansasreflector.com/2022/10/14/trio-of-kansas-supreme-court-justices-up-for-retention-defend-independent-judiciary/