Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille was troubled enough by Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaking information from a grand jury investigating the former Philadelphia NAACP leader Whyatt Mondesire that he authorized a special grand jury investigation into the matter.
Yet, it appears that Castille has leaked secret information about this new grand jury examining Kane:
“Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille told reporters that some of the documents in question constituted grand jury material, which would be confidential…. Questioned by reporters at the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York, Castille countered that at least one of the documents that appeared in the Daily News story should have been confidential. ‘It was a detective's statement,’ said Castille, speaking to two reporters at the Metropolitan Club.” (Philadelphia Inquirer 12/14/14)
So, because of grand jury secrecy rules, there is a detective’s statement that Kane should not have provided the Daily News. If she is precluded from revealing it because it is secret, then how can Castille discuss it?
Furthermore, would not Castille’s revelation that the detective statement is at the center of the new grand jury investigation be a further violation of grand jury secrecy rules?
The law is incredibly clear that Castille is violating the law because discussing anything in a grand jury is verboten:
“All evidence, including exhibits and all testimony presented to the grand jury, is subject to grand jury secrecy, and no person may disclose any matter occurring before the grand jury, except…Defendant in a Criminal Case…[and] A grand jury witness may disclose his or her testimony”. (PA Code Rule 556.10)
We suppose that Castille could say that he is not violating the secrecy rules because he wasn’t sworn in as part of the Mondesire grand jury proceedings. Fair enough, but that in turn raises further questions.
First, how much different would this excuse be than Kane’s for leaking information from the Mondesire grand jury:
“Reading prepared remarks, [Kane] acknowledged that her office had released information, but said it did so ‘in a way that did not violate statutory or case law regarding grand jury secrecy.’….’Nothing she said suggested in any way that she committed a crime - because she didn't commit a crime. She didn't cross any ethical line," said Gerald Shargel, a New York City criminal defense lawyer.” (Philadelphia Inquirer 11/19/14)
It sounds like Shargel’s interpretation of the law is based on his reading of Title 42 which seems to give Kane wiggle room from Rule 556.10 given that she was not part of the Mondesire grand jury, and consequently, not sworn into secrecy:
“a juror, attorney, interpreter, stenographer, operator of a recording device, or any typist who transcribes recorded testimony may disclose matters occurring before the grand jury only when so directed by the court. All such persons shall be sworn to secrecy, and shall be in contempt of court if they reveal any information which they are sworn to keep secret.” (Title 42 Subchapter D Section 4549)
If this interpretation also applies to Castille openly discussing that the detective’s statement was at the center of the grand jury investigating Kane, then who leaked to him the information that the detective’s statement was at the center of its investigation?
Who has the authority over the Chief Justice to authorize a grand jury to investigate the leaks from a grand jury that is investigating leaks from a grand jury?