Springfield attorney Rita Kay Sanders has received a stayed indefinite suspension and two years' probation following an Oct. 5 Missouri Supreme Court order over allegations that included misconduct while helping a bond agent friend in 2012.
Allegations in the disciplinary case against Sanders arose from two unrelated matters, according to the 38-page chief disciplinary counsel brief filed with the court leading to her stayed suspension. One matter was her participation in the arrest and search of a woman who was found in a locked motel room during a bail bond agent's effort to recover a fugitive while the other matter involved alleged commingling in her client trust account.
The Missouri high court also ordered Sanders to pay $1,500 in costs.
Sanders, a former police officer, was admitted to the bar in Missouri on Sept. 27, 2000, according to her profile at The Missouri Bar's website. Sanders' previous discipline before the state bar was an admonition 2012 for failing to act diligently and communicate adequately with her client, according to the brief
Sander's Forsythe satellite office was in the same building as the bail bond office of a friend, whom Sanders occasionally assisted when the bond agent’s customers, criminal defendants, absconded, according to the brief. Sanders went with the bond agent May 25, 2012, attempting to capture an absconder who had failed to appear for a felony charge, the brief said. The pair entered the absconder's alleged location, a Reeds Spring motel room, with the city’s police chief, all three of them armed, according to the brief.
The three found the woman, not the absconder, alone in the room and in bed, according to the brief. The bond agent and Sanders interrogated the woman and Sanders searched the woman's purse, according to the brief.
The bond agent later was fined by the state's Department of Insurance, which regulates bail bonding agents, for allowing Sanders to participate in the attempted capture of a fugitive, according to the brief.
Sanders was charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, and fugitive recovery but she and the state attorney general reached an agreement that allowed her to plead guilty to a peace disturbance charge, according to the brief.