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Crime and Courts

Wrongfully Searched Couple Supports Bill For Easier Access To Police Investigation Reports

A Johnson County couple is supporting a bill that would make it easier to get police investigation reports.

Police conducted a search for marijuana at the home of Robert and Adlynn Harte in Leawood, Kansas, two years ago.

They found nothing.

However, the search lead the Hartes on a crusade for documents to shed light on what led to the search, which produced no charges or evidence.

The Hartes spent $25,000 working to get the records.

They support a bill that would require prosecutors to convince a judge that the records should remain private.

Hartes appeared before lawmakers Wednesday asking them to make public police documents called probable-cause affidavits, which are used to justify arrests or searches.

Wichita media lawyer Lyndon Vix says the Legislature closed those records in 1979, after a Topeka newspaper included information about an arrest warrant issued in a murder case before it was carried out.

Now, a court order is required in Kansas to make records public.