Pennsylvania public officials rely on their reputations in order to do their jobs. Without public confidence, people have very little hope of being re-elected or being able to get their job done. Therefore, public officials often need to vigorously defend themselves against public corruption charges. Even allegations of public corruption can seriously damage a person’s political future.
Recently, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General — Kathleen Kane — has decided not to pursue corruption charges against a traffic court judge and four state lawmakers. According to allegations, these five individuals were accused of taking bribes from a government informant more than 100 times.
However, Kane has said that she will not pursue criminal charges in this case because the investigation was so poorly managed. According to Kane, the case has so many problems with the investigation that she could not prove the charges in court. She says that there is evidence that the investigation was both politically and racially motivated. Furthermore, there are issues with the witness — that wore the wire in the case — as this witness was previously charged in a major fraud case. Finally, she claims that investigators did not stick to traditional law enforcement methods to gather evidence. Therefore, while there is some evidence that a crime was committed, charges will not be pursued.
This case shows the importance of questioning criminal investigations against all individuals, including public officials. Nonetheless, in every case, people need to be treated as innocent until proven guilty and other constitutional rights must be upheld. If these rights are not upheld, a criminal defense can help to eliminate the charges and the penalties, since evidence that was illegally gathered cannot be used in court.
Source: CBS Philly, “Pa. Attorney General Says She Had No Choice But To Drop Corruption Cases,” Tony Romeo, Mar. 17, 2014