Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year in 2021 and 2022. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Kansas reporter sues Marion police chief, alleging retaliation in newsroom raid

By: - September 3, 2023

TOPEKA — Police Chief Gideon Cody arrived at the Marion County Record and handed a copy of a search warrant to Deb Gruver, the veteran reporter who had questioned him about alleged misconduct at his previous job. As Gruver read the search warrant, she told Cody she needed to call her publisher and editor, Eric […]

Sheriff’s office agrees to destroy evidence obtained from raid on Kansas newspaper

By: - August 25, 2023

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office agreed Thursday to destroy digital files it copied from computers seized during the raid on the Marion County Record. Bernie Rhodes, an attorney for the newspaper, raised concerns about whether law enforcement had altered a list of evidence from the raid and illegally held onto a previously […]

‘Completely unjustified’: Affidavits point to abuse of power in raid on Kansas newspaper

By: - August 24, 2023

TOPEKA — Affidavits signed by a police chief and magistrate to warrant the raid on the Marion County Record were supposed to provide evidence that a reporter committed a crime. Instead, they serve as evidence that the local officials abused their power. Police Chief Gideon Cody received approval from Magistrate Judge Laura Viar to conduct […]

Kansas Bureau of Investigation looking into possible data breach in Kansas newspaper case

By: and - August 18, 2023

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach says state authorities reviewing alleged crimes associated with the raid of a Marion newspaper are interested in whether someone breached the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System. Police raided the Marion County Record last week after the newspaper received information from a confidential source about the criminal history […]

Marion County Record publishes in defiance of police raid — and gets seized property back

By: - August 17, 2023

MARION, Kansas — Marion County Record staff worked through the night to publish the paper’s weekly edition as scheduled Wednesday, days after police raided the newsroom and confiscated computers, cellphones and other items. A single word screamed across the top of the paper in 200-point bold type — “SEIZED” — followed by a defiant statement: […]

Police defend raid on Kansas newspaper amid backlash over ‘brazen violation of press freedom’

By: - August 14, 2023

TOPEKA — Marion police on Saturday defended their unprecedented raid on a newspaper office and the publisher’s home by pointing to a loophole in federal law that protects journalists from searches and seizures. Law enforcement raided the Marion County Record on Friday, seizing computers and reporters’ personal cellphones as part of an investigation into alleged […]

She killed her rapist after months of abuse. Advocates say Kansas governor should set her free.

By: - February 5, 2023

TOPEKA — Sarah Gonzales-McLinn regrets killing Hal Sasko. She also regrets moving into his Lawrence home, where he repeatedly raped her until she channeled a lifetime of trauma into psychotic rupture. On a January night in 2014, she drugged her captor, zip-tied his limbs and slit his throat. “That is the moment that my pain […]

Kansas voters defeat abortion amendment in unexpected landslide

By: and - August 3, 2022

OVERLAND PARK — Kansas voters in a landslide Tuesday defeated a constitutional amendment that would have stripped residents of abortion rights, defying polling and political observers who expected a close result. The ballot measure was failing by a 60-40 margin late Tuesday after voters responded to an intense and costly campaign marked by dubious claims […]

Kansas, Montana senators unveil plan to provide VA care for burn pit exposure

By: - February 1, 2022

TOPEKA, Kansas — U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran and Jon Tester say swift action is needed to ensure post-9/11 combat veterans who were exposed to burn pits can receive medical care. Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Tester, a Montana Democrat, in a news conference Tuesday outlined a billion-dollar plan to offer access to VA medical care […]