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Reversing Kane: Questions of competence

The Philadelphia district attorney’s filing of corruption charges against a retired Philadelphia Traffic Court president judge deepens doubts about the competence of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who deemed the case “non-prosecutable.”

DA Seth Williams charged Thomasine Tynes, 71, with bribery, conflict of interest and conspiracy. She allegedly accepted a $2,000 Tiffany & Co. bracelet from a former lobbyist turned confidential informant, who ostensibly sought a lucrative contract to collect unpaid parking fines. Mr. Williams said that wired informant’s video and audio recordings are “demonstrable, tangible evidence of the quid pro quo” he alleges occurred.

Yet Mrs. Kane cited absence of clear “quid pro quo” evidence among reasons not to pursue the case, which originated from a wider sting operation run by the state Attorney General’s Office during Gov. Tom Corbett’s tenure there. She also mentioned concerns about possible entrapment and racial profiling. Ms. Tynes and four other sting targets, all Democrat state legislators from Philadelphia, are black. But so is Williams, who found no evidence of profiling or entrapment and is continuing a grand jury investigation of those lawmakers.

Tynes’ case will be resolved in court. Kane’s competence as attorney general — called into question by her unwillingness to file charges against Tynes — is being decided in the court of public opinion.


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