Dismissal of DUI case against ex-attorney general sought

The Associated Press

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — The attorney for Pennsylvania’s former top law enforcement officer is arguing that a drunken-driving case against her should be dismissed because prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence.

The (Scranton) Times-Tribune reports that defense attorney Jason Mattioli also seeks to bar prosecutors from presenting results of a field sobriety test of former attorney general Kathleen Kane. He further wants to bar video purportedly showing her drinking before her arrest and testimony about her refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test.

Fifty-six-year-old Kane, the first woman and first Democrat to be elected attorney general in the state, is awaiting trial in Lackawanna County Court on charges of driving under the influence and careless driving in connection with a minor accident March 12 in Scranton. Kane has denied that she was intoxicated, maintaining that the crash occurred because she made a wide turn to avoid a snowbank and slid on the ice.

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Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, second from right, is led to court as she arrives for a hearing on an alleged probation violation, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Monday, May 23, 2022. Pennsylvania's former top law enforcement officer, who served jail time for leaking secret investigative files and lying about it, faces the prospect of more time behind bars after she was arrested for drunken driving in March. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The motions come three months after a magisterial district judge found sufficient evidence to send the case to county court — a ruling Mattioli is appealing — and mirror many of the arguments he raised at the hearing in July.

The arresting officer said he smelled alcohol coming from the car, which the defense said came from another person in the vehicle, but did not detect alcohol coming from her. The defense also cites statements from seven other law enforcement officers, six of whom said they did not smell alcohol or witness signs of intoxication on Kane's part.

Mattioli said the field sobriety test was an unwarranted “fishing expedition" and established protocols weren't followed. He also said his client's refusal to submit to a blood test should also be barred because she was not advised of the legal consequences of such a refusal.

Kane, who served jail time for leaking secret investigative files and lying about it, acknowledged in May that she violated her probation when she was arrested on the DUI charge. She was sentenced to two months to a year, but was given credit for time served and was scheduled to be directly paroled to a residential alcohol treatment center.

Once a rising star in Pennsylvania politics, Kane resigned as attorney general after being convicted in 2016 of perjury, obstruction and other counts for leaking grand jury material to embarrass a rival prosecutor. She served eight months of a 10-to-23-month sentence before being released in 2019.