Marion County attorney withdraws search warrant against Kansas newspaper; returns items

August 16, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography


Ad featuring black and white portrait of Congressman John Lewis with text "In solidarity with the Marion County Record" and his quote "If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have the moral obligation to do something about it"

Via KHSB Kansas City

August 16, 2023

By: Jessica McMaster

County attorney sites 'insufficient evidence' for search, seizure

MARION, Kan. — A search warrant that cleared the way for the raid of a Kansas newspaper last Friday has been withdrawn, KSHB 41 I-Team reporter Jessica McMaster learned late Wednesday morning.

Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey withdrew the warrant that served as the basis for the raid of the Marion County Record by the Marion Police Department last Friday.

As part of withdrawing the warrant, Bernie Rhodes, the attorney representing the newspaper, says all items that were seized as part of the raid have been released back to the attorney representing the newspaper.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation shared Wednesday afternoon that its investigation will move forward independently "and without review or examination of any of the evidence seized on Friday, Aug. 11."

Rhodes tells the KSHB 41 I-Team that a forensics expert is on standby to examine the items that were seized. Once those items are in the possession of the expert, the expert plans to make a "forensic copy" and then check to see if anything was accessed or altered.

Ensey issued a press release Wednesday, stating the affidavits established probable cause that an employee at the Marion County Record may be guilty of unlawful acts concerning computers, but that there was not sufficient evidence between the "alleged crime and the places searched and the items seized."

The county attorney said he is asking the courts to publicly release the affidavits.

The KBI will submit findings of its investigation to the Marion County Attorney's Office.

Tags: First Amendment freedom of the press Kansas police riad press freedom