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Final Murphy Ad Targets Kane 3,000 Case Claim (Watch Video)

Watching the Flyers-Penguins game last week, I asked a non-political friend what stood out after two Democratic Attorney General ads aired back to back.

“Kathleen Kane prosecuted 3,000 cases,” she recounted.

It’s been a major theme for Kane, who served as an Assistant District Attorney in Lackawanna County. It’s an effective, simple message in a campaign for an office that few voters would list as their top concern.

Her opponent, former Congressman Patrick Murphy of Bucks County, is pushing hard against it. His campaign unveiled a new television ad (above) about 6 hours after the Harrisburg Patriot-News published a story which, among other issues, looked into Kane’s claim.

The ad, which began airing in full on Thursday, features an effective visual of the 3,000 number ticking down to 24.

We highly recommend you read the full story in order to get the full picture. Here are the most relevant sections for the purposes of this article:

Kane claims she has prosecuted more than 3,000 cases. But to be clear, that doesn’t mean she tried that many.

In fact, she said that in her 12 years in the DA’s office, she tried about two dozen cases, including some that gained statewide attention.

Kane admits that [3,000 cases] claim wasn’t based on actual count but rather a mathematical calculation. She figures she was assigned about 25 cases a month for 12 years, not counting other cases she handled in her areas of specialization, including elder abuse and white-collar crimes.

Kane reiterated her campaign’s argument that Murphy has prosecuted zero cases in Pa. (He was an attorney in the U.S. army and prosecuted cases abroad, though far fewer than Kane).

“If it comes down to a question of how many cases we’ve tried, even if I tried two, I’ve tried more than my opponent,” Kane told the Patriot.

Pretrial motions and hearings are important elements of the criminal justice process and indeed, the job description of the Attorney General is arguably closer to the the definition of prosecuting than trying.

For the most part, Kane’s campaign has been careful to use the terms accurately. When this reporter mixed the terms early in the campaign, a spokesman called immediately to correct my error. It’s a strong overstatement to call Kane’s claims “lies,” as Murphy does.

The average person likely doesn’t know the difference, something that Kane has certainly benefited from in this campaign. That’s why Murphy’s ad making the distinction has the potential to have an impact.

However, it appears Kane blurred the line between prosecuting and trying cases at least once.

The Murphy campaign followed up today with a web video on the same theme, which cites Daily News columnist John Baer’s observation that, “when she spoke at a rally with Clinton last week in Willow Grove, she said she’s ‘given thousands of closing arguments,’ which sure sounds like a reference to trials.”

Kane’s camp dismissed the ad as desperation.

“This is exactly the kind of campaign you’d expect from a candidate who’s lost a 16 point lead the in the polls,” said Kane spokesman Josh Morrow.

The real question is, will Murphy’s last minute barrage make the difference? Or will too few undecided voters hear the message to matter?

21 Responses

  1. I have a friend of mine whom needs this specific question answered please. But before I begin let me give you some general background which lead up to needing this question answered okay!

    I’m an attorney and
    I’ve been licensed to practice law in Colorado for 1 year now,
    but I’m thinking of moving to Minnesota. I’d like to know if it’s possible to be
    admitted to the Minnesota Bar
    without having to take the bar exam over again?

  2. What I’m concerned about is that Murphy has spent time poking sticks at Kane and hasn’t given any reasons why he’d be a good AG. I’ll admit that stretching the truth is a necessary quality for any lawyer to have, and in particular prosecutors need to throw as many charges as possible at a target in the hope that at least a few will stick, but Murphy should at least tell us something about his experience rather than just hope we’ll infer that he’s aggressive and that that’s sufficient to get our vote.

  3. As a Republican I am delighted to see the back and forth. We are going to crush no matter who you put up. Murphy is an absolute empty suit, a walking cliche’. Kane will be a tougher opponent for our candidate. Thanks to Voter ID GOP will win PA in Nov. No more dead men voting. Union members will no longer be permitted to vote in multiple voting locations controlled by Dem judges of elections. The sleeping giant has awoken…

  4. Kane’s claims are deceptive, and I don’t want any part of it. Besides, she gave money to Governor Corbett’s campaign several years ago. ick.

    I think Murphy would be able to stand up to PA’s Puritanical policies far better than Kane.

    Murphy’s “tough as nails,” as Ed Rendell says.

  5. This is ridiculous. While Patrick Murphy was in Iraq serving our country, Kathleen Kane was sitting on her butt, pushing paper on “3,000 cases, oops, never mind, 24” cases. I don’t mean to discount the work she does in the DA’s office, but she is trying to use the fact that Patrick Murphy was serving his country against him. He tried cases in military courts. That’s plenty of experience in my book. This stuff about the Pennsylvania bar is nonsense. Again, how could he have time to take an extra exam when he was busy serving our country. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania says its ok to be admitted to the bar here if you were admitted to practice for five years in certain other states. That’s good enough for me.

  6. The fact of the matter is Kathleen Kane is a proven liar. If she prosecuted 3,000 cases, why was her defense of that claim:

    “If it comes down to a question of how many cases we’ve tried, even if I tried two, I’ve tried more than my opponent,” Kane told the Patriot.”

    Say what? Two? Two is a lot less than 3,000. If she did prosecute 3,000, why only admit to prosecuting two? Maybe that’s all she can prove. Attorneys are supposed to be wordsmiths, Kane is coming across as a back-peddling, double talking liar.

    What of her admitting on video to having donated money to Tom Corbett? Anyone associated with Tom Corbett is not to be trusted. Corbett backstabbed Joe Paterno behind the scenes and was part of the effort to fire Paterno but didn’t have the guts or power to do it, he needed help, from those like Kane.

    Look at how Corbett has bent over backwards for the companies doing fracking and destroying our valuable water resources and property and who are legally protected from landowner’s lawsuits for the damage they do by legislation Corbett championed and signed into law. Think having PA’s Attorney General in Corbett’s pocket will help Fracker’s walk away from lawsuits filed against them for the damage they do? Kane will do Corbett’s bidding AGAINST the will of the PA Taxpayers wronged by corporations, as he has demonstrated by turning a deaf ear to Pennsylvania citizens who’ve been victimized and sustained damages from Fracking companies. We can’t trust double talking Tom Corbett minion Kathleen Kane.

  7. We switched to a new server recently, and I have received emails from people who said past comments were missing. I’m trying to sort that out with tech support presently. If that was the case with your comments, my apologies. Please know that it was accidental, and had nothing to do with the specific subject matter of any individual comment.

  8. You did take down my two earlier posts about this primary. All this talk about Murphy not taking the PA bar is total non-sense. I have taken the PA bar and New Jersey bar and because I have been practicing for over 5 years I am eligible to waive in to numerous states. No attorney who is eligible to waive in takes the bar anyway. The bar exam is not related to what kind of a lawyer one is. Jerry Brown was AG of CA twice. He has no trial experience but was a great AG. I could name others across the country. Who ever you are supporting STOP SLINGING MUD which is what is going on in this website.

  9. We haven’t taken down any posts on this story. We have a pretty liberal commenting policy, and to my recollection we’ve removed about 3 posts in the past year out of over 1,000.

  10. Good to see how unbiased this website is. Maybe Politics PA should focus on writing better stories and not making stupid writing mistakes rather taking posts down that are combating incorrect information.

  11. Kane is Able to make the argument in the general election that law enforcement is not a Republican or Democratic issue but a nonpartisan issue of equal justice under law for all.

    Patrick Murphy is well known to be highly partisan and is, likely, I think, to use the AG’s office as a witch hunt whereas I think Kathleen Kane has a prosecutor’s mentality of following the evidence.

    One party rule is not a good thing in Philadelphia and it is not a good thing in the Attorney General’s Office.

  12. Jim-
    I know what you mean. When I first heard that the Murphy was running for AG, I was like “WTF???”. He’s never been a D.A., how could he possibly be qualified to run for AG?

    Then I learned (mostly from his supporters) that the “plan” (and their hope) is for him to use the AG job as a stepping stone to Gov or Senate.

    Well, happy as I am to have someone to neutralize Sestak for these roles, Murphy jumped the gun to statewide too early, and we have MUCH better candidates waiting in the wings for such larger roles.

    Examples: For Gov (in 2014), we have Jack Wagner, Rob McCord on the short list. Knox and Williams will probably make a play, and Sestak’s fans think he can reanimate his political corpse.
    For 2018, Josh Shapiro might be ready after he’s done cleaning up Montco, unless one of the aforementioned Dems defeats Corbett in 2014, then Josh has to wait until 2022.

    For Senate against Toomey in 2016, I’d put Josh on my wish list, because I know what a great legislator he is. If Murphy had decided to run for and recapture the 8th this year and kept it in 2014, then he might have been a plausible candidate to go up against Toomey. Sestak might try again, especially if Clinton runs in 2016, but a six year gap of being off the radar doesn’t make it too likely. If he loses for Gov in 2014, then he’s done permanently.

  13. The fact is Murphy prosecuted 0 cases in PA. Most cases end up plea bargained and yes they count as proesecutions. Murphy is a very weak candidate and a sure loss for the Dems if he is the nominee and I am tired of seeing Dems lose this race. I am perplexed on why he ran for Attorney General. Is it because he can’t win his Congressional seat back?

  14. I voted for Mr. Murphy in 2006 and 2008 but I will not be voting for him this time around. At the end of the day, we have essentially no women in harrisburg representing us. I am voting for Kane because she is the most qualified candidate and she can beat Freed in the fall.

    To Paraphrase Sen. Gillibrand- if women were 51 percent of congress we wouldn’t be talking about contraception and talking about the economy. Prosecutor Kane knows how to best lead the office of Attorney General and protect our rights.

    I see that there has been a lot talk about Patrick Murphy taking the bar in another state. Let’s be honest here, the PA bar is a test that is designed by PA Lawyers and Judges for Pa Lawyers. The Minnesota Bar was given on the same day as the PA bar and yet he still chose to take the Minnesota Bar. Why? because the test came back earlier? Really? Am I the only one that is scratching my head over that? Really? I know that a lot of lawyers in PA have waived in, but they are not running for the office of Attorney General of PA. I think if you want to be the Attorney General, you should at least take the test that is designed by PA Lawyers and Judges.

    And not trying a case in the state? NEVER PROSECUTING A CASE. I shake my head at these politicians who really just leap frog to the next office. I get that the Attorney General is not in the court room every day. But don’t we want an Attorney General who is the smartest member of the staff, and not someone who needs a few refresher courses on PA Law?

  15. As an attorney in South East Pennsylvania, I can say first hand that the legal community is behind Kathleen Kane in this election. We, of all people know the difference between a true Prosecutor, and whatever Patrick Murphy claims to be. I find the FORMER Congressman’s attacks repulsive, distorting, but surprisingly not out of line with the way he likes to run his campaigns. There is a reason he is FORMER Congressman Murphy. The people of his district became tired of his lies and half-truths, and now the people of Pennsylvania are going to get the same chance to vote against him. HE HAS NEVER TAKEN THE PENNSYLVANIA BAR OR SET FOOT IN A PENNSYLVANIA COURTROOM…if he becomes our Attorney General, there will be first year law graduates in his office with more experience than him…this is ridiculous to me, Kathleen Kane has my vote 100%…

  16. Kane took the PA bar exam. Murphy did not. Kane has tried cases in PA courts. Murphy has not. You can argue semantics about how many cases Kane adjudicated versus prosecuted. Either way, the number is ALWAYS greater than Murphy’s, which is ZERO. You are right David Diano, Murphy gets the dirty award. At the beginning of this campaign, I actually had respect for Murphy, but he has become so desperate and pitiful with his mudslinging that he is actually embarrassing himself.

  17. She purposely coined the phrase “I prosecuted 3,000 cases” in order to mislead Pennsylvanians and exaggerate her qualifications. She counted cases in which she wasn’t the lead prosecutor. It’s like someone taking credit for winning a championship when they road the bench most of the season. She was trying to pull a quick one on PA voters and Murphy called her on it. This ad will be effective. She’s acting more like a politician everyday.

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