Franklin County Attorney Brandon Jones will review the evidence and decide whether to pursue a charge of driving under the influence in Shawnee County District Court against Kansas Sen. Vic Miller, a Topeka Democrat.
Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said he assigned Jones to fill the role of special prosecutor. A special prosecutor investigates the evidence and potentially prosecutes a case of suspected wrongdoing in which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority.
Kagay said he asked Jones to take the case because the prosecutors in his office who would potentially handle Miller's case appeared before the Kansas lawmaker during his time as an administrative judge in the Topeka Municipal Court. Miler served in that capacity from 2011-2015.
"Additionally, my office routinely requests legislative changes," Kagay said. "Having had direct dealings with him, and appearing in front of his committees during that process, I determined it would be best to have a special prosecutor review the case to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety."
Kagay, Shawnee County's district attorney since January 2017, said Jones has been the primary resource his office has gone to when a special prosecutor is needed.
"He agreed to review cases for us when he was the county attorney for neighboring Osage County and that relationship has continued," Kagay said.
Jones confirmed the appointment Monday in an email to The Ottawa Herald and several other news outlets. He also said he had been reviewing the evidence and other materials pertinent to the case.
"I received the reports, evidence and videos in October and have been reviewing all of the provided information," he said. "I am close to making a charging decision and will announce the same publicly once it is permissible and ethical for me to do so."
Jones said that, either way, he will announce whether he decides to charge Miller or declines to file charges and the reasons behind the decision.
Jones has been the Franklin County attorney since 2018 and Anderson County attorney since 2013. He previously served from 2007-2018 as Osage County attorney, from 2003-2007 as assistant Douglas County attorney and from 2000-2003 as assistant at Franklin County. He earned his law degree in 2000 from the University of Kansas.
Topeka police said they arrested Miller, 68, in connection with driving under the influence last May after finding him inside his crashed vehicle in the ditch beside Interstate 70 near S.E. Carnahan Avenue. Miller wasn’t injured but appeared intoxicated, police said.
Miller was originally facing DUI and inattentive driving charges in Topeka Municipal Court. However, Karan Thadani, the city's chief of prosecution, had those charges dismissed and referred the case to Kagay's office because of potential conflicts in municipal court because of Miller’s previous employment there.
Miller also is a former state representative, Topeka city councilman and Shawnee County commissioner.