Like other far-left prosecutors on each coast, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree has a well-documented record of being soft on crime. His record is replete with dismissed cases, mishandled court records, generous plea deals that even surprise defense attorneys, and botched trials in violent crimes.
One criminal justice official calls Dupree “an activist holding political office, just making a conscious decision to not prosecute crime.”
But now, some are saying out loud what Dupree’s actions appear to confirm: He doesn’t much care for law enforcement at all.
Indeed, as Dupree was testifying this week to the Kansas House Judiciary Committee in favor of automatic expungements for the unconvicted, his assistant was in court strenuously opposing an expungement – notably, for a law enforcement officer whose case had been summarily thrown out by a judge.
So Dupree wants all case records expunged after failed or nonexistent prosecutions – except, apparently, when a law enforcement officer is involved.
While Dupree, a self-described Pentecostal preacher, was quoting scripture to legislators to advocate for expungement and the opportunity for those not convicted to move forward, his office was resolute in trying to deny that chance for Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Maj. Andrew Carver. Carver was bizarrely charged by Dupree for supposedly not doing enough – from his home, and while off-duty in the overnight hours – to help find another officer suspected of DUI in late 2019.
The facts indicated Carver did cooperate with authorities and did not obstruct the DUI investigation in any way. In fact, at a trial last October, a judge dismissed the misdemeanor official misconduct charge without the defense even having to present its side.
“I don’t know from a criminal standpoint why Carver was charged,” Wyandotte County’s then-Sheriff Don Ash said at the time.
Yet the expungement-enamored Dupree still went to bat against Carver’s expungement. Several close observers think they know the reason for the glaring disparity: Dupree simply isn’t a fan of law enforcement.
“Andrew Carver is being screwed with for one reason, and one reason alone,” argues bondsman Brian Underwood. “Because he is a law enforcement officer. Carver was prosecuted for what (Dupree) thinks he should have done. When we’re prosecuting law enforcement officers for what could have happened or what they should have done – when, at the same time, we’re not prosecuting career criminals with the same level of vigor – that’s a red flag to me.”
Carver’s attorney, James Spies, agrees, saying he told the judge at the expungement hearing Wednesday, “Judge, I’ll be blunt, and I don’t have to beat around the bush. Mark Dupree does not like police officers. He will take any opportunity to prosecute police officers. He doesn’t like police officers, and that’s why he’s doing this.”
Spies even offered to play the judge excerpts from Dupree’s pro-expungement testimony to the House committee. The judge said he didn’t need to hear it, before quickly granting Carver’s expungement.
Given the DA’s passion for cost-free expungements, Underwood figures the decent thing for Dupree to do would be to pay Carver’s expungement attorney’s fees out of his own pocket.
Underwood, who as a bondsman watches jail records religiously, also says he has yet to see Dupree prosecute defendants who abscond or parents who fail to pay child support, or to file warrants for key witnesses who don’t show up for court: “That happens all the time in Wyandotte County, and there’s nobody out looking for them.”
The Heartlander asked Spies if being a prosecutor isn’t a poor job to have when you don’t like police. “Oh, I know,” he said. “But people from Wyandotte County selected him as district attorney.” Dupree was elected in 2016, and re-elected in 2020.
“Well, Wyandotte County, we did this to ourselves,” adds Underwood. “We elected the guy, and then we re-elected him. And when we re-elected him, we knew a lot about his record. We did this. This guy’s not cutting it.”