In the Matter of April C. Shepard, Respondent.
ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN DISCIPLINE
N. Thompson, appointed disciplinary counsel for the State
Board of Examiners of Court Reporters, argued the cause and
was on the brief for the petitioner.
G. Chappas, of James G. Chappas, Chartered, of Topeka, argued
the cause and was on the brief for the respondent.
an original proceeding in discipline filed by the State Board
of Examiners of Court Reporters (Board) against the
respondent, April C. Shepard, a court reporter at the
Wyandotte County District Court who previously served in that
capacity at the Shawnee County District Court.
13, 2018, the appointed counsel for the Board filed a formal
complaint against the respondent alleging she failed to
maintain impartiality toward a defendant in a criminal trial
she reported, a violation of Rules Adopted by the State Board
of Examiners of Court Reporters, Board Rules No. 9.F.9. (2019
Kan. S.Ct. R. 419). On July 19, 2018, the respondent timely
filed an answer to the formal complaint. In her answer, the
respondent admitted to "the allegations contained in all
paragraphs of the Formal Complaint."
January 2, 2019, the Board filed an order approving a
proposed cease and desist order submitted by the
respondent's attorney and the Board's appointed
counsel. In its order the Board scheduled a hearing to
determine whether the cease and desist order should be
private or public.
April 11, 2019, a hearing was held on the formal complaint
before a panel of the Board. Respondent appeared in person
and by her counsel. The hearing panel heard argument on
whether the agreed upon cease and desist order would be
private or whether the Board would recommend discipline to
the Kansas Supreme Court.
conclusion of the hearing, the panel took the matter under
advisement. On May 20, 2019, the panel issued its findings
and unanimous recommendation. [Note: The panel refers to Rule
366, which was repealed in 1982; however, the correct cite
should be to the Rules Adopted by the State Board of
Examiners of Court Reporters, Board Rules Nos. 1-9.]
Recommendation Concerning Discipline
Respondent previously worked at the Shawnee County District
In 2012, while working in Shawnee County, Respondent was a
court reporter for the highly publicized murder trial of Dana
Chandler was convicted of killing her ex-husband and his
girlfriend. The conviction was appealed, alleging
prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence, and
An article in the Topeka Capital Journal on October
29, 2017, discussed the murder, conviction, and appeal, and
included alleged Facebook quotes from Respondent.
Specifically, the article attributed to Respondent the
following comments about the Chandler trial:
'Were you there listening to it? I was,' said April
Shepard, a court reporter who worked the Chandler trial.
'I will not say that I agree with everything Jacqie
Spradling said or did, but it didn't change anything.
Dana Chandler is not innocent. She may get a new trial, but
the outcome will be the same. No one else would've done
this but Dana Chandler.'
Copies of screen shots from Facebook that are attributed to
Respondent include the following (some dates may not be
'a. Oh, stop. Dana Chandler is not innocent. She may get
a new trial but the outcome will be the same. (April 7, 2016)
'b. No one else would've done this but Dana Chandler.
(April 18, 2016)
Well, I can tell you that it won't be that judge because
JUDGE PARRISH is a fair judge and I know her well. Just
because he says this doesn't make it so. Were you there
listening to it, I was. I will not say that I agreed with
everything Jackie Spradling said or did, but it didn't
change anything. (April 19, 2016)
'c. I don't believe Jackie [S]pradling lied. (August
'd. Look, I was there, I was the court reporter for that
trial and, yes, Jackie pushed a little too far at times, but
there was nothing more damning than those telephone jail
calls between Dana Chandler and her sister Shirley and
that's what changed it for everyone if they thought she
didn't do it before. The fact of the matter is she's
the only one that could have done it and would have done it.
She had a major axe to grind with Karen Harkness and Mike
Sisco for she stalked them repeatedly. (January 2017)
'e. It's not that wrong if you think about how many
cases there are. They're more right than they are ...