BP#8 “Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Is Sentenced to Prison”

Article Summary 

Image from the New York Times

Kathleen Kane, a 50 year old woman and Attorney General of Pennsylvania was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison after being charged with “perjury and abuse of her office.” According to the article, Kane leaked grand jury records in order to discredit one of her critics, and later lied about it while under oath. Kane was charged with two felony perjury charges despite her pleading with the judge to pardon her for her children’s sake.  

The irony of the story is unreal. Kane’s primary campaign message, the one that arguably got her into office with no previous political experience, was that she was going to crack down on the corruption in the business. Even though she did successfully dismantle some corruption, she couldn’t stay away from it herself. This is the classic case of someone making an exception for themselves when it comes to moral actions.

Ethical Analysis

One ethical tie-in I found was from a while back in the reading: professional duty. The judge who oversaw Kane’s case was extremely true to her duty as an unbiased overseer. Despite the fact that Kane wept, and brought her 15 year-old son to the stand to testify for her, Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy remained within her professional duty and stated, “Any lesser sentence than total confinement will absolutely depreciate the seriousness of the crime.”

Kantian ethics also apply to this article, specifically, the idea of “Consistency and Fairness.”One question asked when trying to decide whether an act is moral or not is What if everyone did that? In the case of felony perjury, it can be pretty easily determined that if everyone were to do it, the entire human society would be full of corruption and disaster. No one would be able to trust anyone, and oaths would mean nothing in the courtroom. For this reason, it can be said that Kane acted immorally.


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