Kane, ‘fallen from grace,’ seeks pro­ba­tion for per­jury

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

NORRISTOWN >> Say­ing Penn­syl­va­nia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Kath­leen Kane al­ready has “fallen from grace,” suf­fered the loss of her ca­reer and car­ries the “stigma of a con­victed felon,” her lawyer has asked a judge not to add to the pun­ish­ment by in­car­cer­at­ing her for per­jury and abuse of power con­vic­tions.

“Ms. Kane has, with­out ques­tion, fallen from grace. Ms. Kane has been a val­ued and con­tribut­ing mem­ber of this Bar and now will al­ways carry the stigma of a con­victed felon,” de­fense lawyer Marc R. Stein­berg wrote in court pa­pers Tues­day, ar­gu­ing “tra­di­tional in­car­cer­a­tion” is not nec­es­sary to pro­tect so­ci­ety, to achieve re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive goals, nor de­ter any fu­ture crim­i­nal con­duct by Kane.

In a 107-page sen­tenc­ing me­moran­dum filed in Mont­gomery County Court, Stein­berg ar­gued a pro­ba­tion­ary sen­tence, or in the al­ter­na­tive, house ar­rest, would be ap­pro­pri­ate pun­ish­ments for Kane, 50, a first-term Demo­crat and the first wo­man ever to be elected to the state post, who was con­victed by a jury in Au­gust of felony charges of per­jury and mis­de­meanor charges of ob­struct­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of law, of­fi­cial op­pres­sion, false swear­ing and con­spir­acy.

“Due to the fact that Ms. Kane pre­vi­ously served as at­tor­ney gen­eral, a sen­tence of in­car­cer­a­tion rep­re­sents a po­ten­tial risk to her safety as she could be in­car­cer­ated with in­di­vid­u­als she pros­e­cuted,” Stein­berg wrote. “In the event the court feels that a pro­ba­tion­ary sen­tence is not ap­pro­pri­ate in this case, a county sen­tence served on house ar­rest would be more re­stric­tive than pro­ba­tion while also tak­ing this po­ten­tial risk into con­sid­er­a­tion.”

The me­moran­dum was sub­mit­ted to Judge Wendy Dem­chick-Al­loy in prepara-

tion for Kane’s Oct. 24 sen­tenc­ing hear­ing.

District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele, in his me­moran­dum filed Mon­day, in­di­cated he will seek state prison time against Kane, and that pro­ba­tion or house ar­rest would be “in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Ear­lier this week, Dem­chick-Al­loy ap­proved Kane’s re­quest for a house ar­rest suit­abil­ity study in prepa­ra­tion for sen­tenc­ing.

Kane faces a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 12 to 24 years in prison on the charges. But state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines could al­low for less jail time for Kane, who has no crim­i­nal record.

In his sweep­ing me­moran­dum, Stein­berg of­fered a bi­o­graph­i­cal snap­shot of Kane’s rise in po­lit­i­cal cir­cles,

her achieve­ments, her char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­i­ties and her fam­ily life while rais­ing two sons. Stein­berg also out­lined Kane’s fall — her con­vic­tion, her res­ig­na­tion as at­tor­ney gen­eral, the sus­pen­sion of her law li­cense and her po­ten­tial dis­bar­ment.

“She has lost the abil­ity to con­tinue a ca­reer that she loved, one to which she has as­pired since the age of 6, and one in which she was able to ac­com­plish a sig­nif­i­cant amount of good. She has been hum­bled and em­bar­rassed, and now just wants to make amends and to fo­cus her at­ten­tion on rais­ing her chil­dren,” Stein­berg said.

In­cluded in the court doc­u­ments were nu­mer­ous let­ters of sup­port from Kane’s rel­a­tives, friends, for­mer col­leagues and clergy, many of whom wrote that Kane’s sep­a­ra­tion from her sons “would have a pro­foundly

neg­a­tive im­pact on their lives.” The let­ter writ­ers, who sought le­niency for Kane, de­scribed her as a com­pas­sion­ate, car­ing and hard­work­ing wo­man who is com­mit­ted to her fam­ily and com­mu­nity and who ac­com­plished much good de­spite the con­duct re­flected in her con­vic­tion.

Kane’s re­fusal to de­fend Penn­syl­va­nia’s gay mar­riage ban, her cre­ation of a mo­bile street crimes unit and her ex­pan­sion of the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s child preda­tor sec­tion were ac­com­plish­ments cited by Stein­berg.

“She rose from poverty to a pin­na­cle, and she has al­ready fallen,” Stein­berg wrote. “This over­view of Kath­leen Kane’s life shows a life ded­i­cated to mer­ci­ful acts. She now asks for mercy in re­turn.”

Stein­berg, a lo­cal lawyer who was hired to rep­re­sent Kane only for the sen­tenc­ing phase of her

case, ar­gued Kane’s sen­tence should not be ag­gra­vated just be­cause she was at­tor­ney gen­eral at the time of the of­fenses. Stein­berg added Kane should not be sen­tenced more harshly for ex­er­cis­ing her con­sti­tu­tional right to a jury by trial.

“The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the of­fenses for which Ms. Kane was con­victed af­ter 50 years of pro­duc­tive life surely re­flect that she can be re­ha­bil­i­tated with­out the need for im­pris­on­ment and that she is un­likely to re­of­fend,” Stein­berg wrote. “She feels deep re­gret that she has vi­o­lated the trust of the cit­i­zens of Penn­syl­va­nia when serv­ing as their at­tor­ney gen­eral and re­spects the de­ci­sion reached by the jury.”

Kane was con­victed by a jury in Au­gust of charges she or­ches­trated the il­le­gal dis­clo­sure of secret grand jury in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia and en­gaged in acts de­signed

to cover up her con­duct. 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.

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