Yesterday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathy Kane was found guilty of two counts of perjury and multiple misdemeanors. Today, the question is, what will be Kathy Kane’s sentence?
Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines
The Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines layout a matrix to be applied to every defendant. However, the guidelines are not mandatory and give the judge vast discretion when sentencing. For the basic review, we look at two factors: the offense gravity score and the prior record score. Usually, we look only to the most serious charge when determining the offense gravity score. In this case, the most serious charge is 18 § 4902 Perjury F3, of which she has two counts, with an offense gravity score of 5. Second, we look at the prior record, which General Kane is 0. Therefore, applying the matrix to a 5/0, the guidelines are RS-9 +-3.
RS stands for restorative sanctions, which means probation in plain speak. The 9 stands for the minimum sentence. As a reminder, in PA the minimum must be half the maximum or less; and, if the maximum is under 24 months, the sentence is served in the county, over 24 months in the state. The +-3 allows the judge to adjust the guidelines up or down if mitigation or aggravation is presented by either side. Generally speaking, if a sentencing is within the aggravated range, and the aggravating factors are properly placed on the record, sentencing is very difficult to appeal for many reasons.
In addition, the guidelines do not reflect concurrent versus consecutive time. A judge can give consecutive time so long as the offenses do not merge. In this case, Kane was convicted of two counts of perjury which do not merge, so the judge could easily give her consecutive time.
Kathy Kane’s Sentence Prediction
Any sentence from probation to 1-2 years in jail is fair game for Kathy Kane’s sentence. If Kane is given anywhere from probation to 1-2 years in jail, no appellate court will touch it. Further, within that range is house arrest, but in Montgomery County, house arrest is a rare occasion. However, abuse of power by an elected official is a clear aggravating factor. The abuse of the public trust infuriates most judges.
Also, acceptance of responsibility is the number one factor for most judges. In the instant matter, Kane has never accepted an ounce of responsibility for her actions; perhaps she will change her tune for sentencing.
Again, any sentence from probation to 1-2 years is in the realm of possibility. In my opinion, a realistic range is a year of house arrest to 6-12 months in the county jail. Though, I would not be surprised by anything up to 2-4 years up state due to abuse of public trust and the lack of acceptance of responsibly.