Court to Hear Kane’s Challenge to Grand Jury

Attorney General is trying to avoid charges she leaked secret information.

Kathleen Kane

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week will hear Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s challenge to a grand jury that has recommended she face charges on leaking secret information from an earlier grand jury.

Kane says Montgomery County Judge William Carpenter overstepped his authority when he appointed a special prosecutor to investigate if her office leaked the information about a 2009 investigation of the then-head of the Philadelphia NAACP to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Times-Tribune reports:

The issue before the Supreme Court centers on a dispute over whether Judge Carpenter properly used a legal proceeding to appoint attorney Thomas Carluccio as a special prosecutor to investigate the leak. In a pre-emptive strike, Ms. Kane’s attorneys filed a special court action that asked the Supreme Court to rule Mr. Carluccio’s appointment was improper and to vacate the grand jury presentment.

The attorneys argued, in part, that Judge Carpenter had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor because the law that allowed for such appointments expired in 2003. Under the current state law, that power is vested solely with the attorney general’s office, they said in court papers.

In a reply brief filed Feb. 18, Judge Carpenter strongly denounced the legal argument, saying its akin to arguing the “fox … should be permitted to guard the hen house.”

The hearing will be Wednesday.