Kath­leen Kane seeks house ar­rest for per­jury con­vic­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

Just days be­fore she learns her fate for or­ches­trat­ing the il­le­gal dis­clo­sure of se­cret grand jury in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia and en­gag­ing in acts de­signed to cover up her con­duct, for­mer Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen G. Kane has re­quested a house ar­rest suit­abil­ity study.

“De­fen­dant re­spect­fully sub­mits that, as a non-vi­o­lent of­fender with no prior record and a low risk of re­cidi­vism and who is the pri­mary care­giver for two mi­nor chil­dren, she is an ap­pro­pri­ate can­di­date for house ar­rest,” de­fense lawyer Marc Robert Stein­berg wrote in pa­pers filed in Mont­gomery County Court on Thurs­day.

The fil­ing of­fers the first hint of what Kane and her lawyers will ar­gue at her Oct. 24 sen­tenc­ing hear­ing be­fore Judge Wendy Dem­chick-Al­loy.

Kane, 50, a first-term Demo­crat and the first woman ever to be elected to the state post, faces a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 14 to 28 years in state prison on felony charges of per­jury and mis­de­meanor charges of ob­struct­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of law, of­fi­cial op­pres­sion, false swear­ing and con­spir­acy. State sen­tenc­ing guide­lines could al­low for less jail time for Kane, who has no crim­i­nal record.

Stein­berg, re­fer­ring to state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines, said the felony per­jury charge calls for a sen­tence rang­ing from pro­ba­tion to nine months.

“Thus the guide­lines con­tem­plate a sen­tence of pro­ba­tion for this of­fense,” said Stein­berg, main­tain­ing house ar­rest rep­re­sents a sen­tence that is “more re­stric­tive than pro­ba­tion.” “Ac­cord­ingly, de­fen­dant re­spect­fully sub­mits that a house ar­rest suit­abil­ity as­sess­ment is ap­pro­pri­ate in this case.”

If Kane, a for­mer Lack­awanna County prose­cu­tor who was elected at­tor­ney gen­eral in 2012 and was con­sid­ered a ris­ing star among Democrats, is ul­ti­mately given a house ar­rest sen­tence, her case could be trans­ferred to Lack­awanna County, Stein­berg sug­gested. Stein­berg claimed Lack­awanna County Com­mu­nity Cor­rec­tions of­fi­cials are will­ing to su­per­vise Kane on house ar­rest.

Stein­berg, a lo­cal lawyer who was hired to rep­re­sent Kane only for the sen­tenc­ing phase of her case, ar­gued state law al­lows for house ar­rest as an al­ter­na­tive, ap­pro­pri­ate form of pu­n­ish­ment for non­vi­o­lent of­fend­ers. He said the sen­tenc­ing op­tion is avail­able “to make the of­fender more ac­count­able to the com­mu­nity and to help re­duce the county jail over­crowd­ing prob­lem while main­tain­ing pub­lic safety.”

District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele likely will have a chance to weigh-in on the is­sue be­fore the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. The judge had ear­marked Oct. 17 as the fi­nal day for lawyers to file any pre­sen­tence mem­o­ran­dums.

Kane was con­victed of the charges by a jury af­ter a trial in Au­gust. Kane re­signed her post two days later and has re­mained free on own re­cog­ni­zance bail while await­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Kane’s trial lawyer Ger­ald L. Shargel hinted at an ap­peal, say­ing Kane’s de­fense team would “fight to the end.”

Kane did not tes­tify at trial.

At trial, Steele and co­pros­e­cu­tor Michelle Henry al­leged Kane or­ches­trated the il­le­gal re­lease of se­cret ma­te­ri­als per­tain­ing to the 2009 statewide grand jury No. 29 to a reporter in or­der to ex­act “re­venge” on a for­mer state prose­cu­tor with whom she was feud­ing.

Kane also was con­victed of ly­ing to the 35th statewide grand jury in Novem­ber 2014 to cover up her leaks by ly­ing un­der oath when she claimed she never agreed to main­tain her se­crecy re­gard­ing the 2009 grand jury in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Prose­cu­tors said they dis­cov­ered ev­i­dence that Kane signed a so-called “se­crecy oath” on her sec­ond day in of­fice on Jan. 17, 2013, promising her se­crecy for statewide in­ves­ti­gat­ing grand ju­ries one through 32. The oath com­pelled Kane to main­tain the se­crecy of all mat­ters oc­cur­ring be­fore past and present statewide grand ju­ries, prose­cu­tors al­leged.

Kane claimed she did noth­ing wrong and has im­plied the charges were part of an ef­fort to force her out of of­fice be­cause she dis­cov­ered porno­graphic emails be­ing ex­changed be­tween state em­ploy­ees on state email ad­dresses.

How­ever, a judge ruled Kane could not raise the porno­graphic email de­fense at trial. De­fense lawyers hinted that might be the ba­sis for an even­tual ap­peal.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

For­mer Pa. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen Kane at her pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing at the Mont­gomery County Court­house in Nor­ris­town Nov. 10, 2015.

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