If you haven’t seen it, the Trib today ran a profile of the Erie County DA who will be handling this case, if it becomes a case, Frank Sedita III. I’m almost certainly in above my head when discussing the nuances here, and this post probably best serves as a launch point for the various lawyers who are friends of the site to explain it out better in the comments.
Obviously, to everyone certain things jump out. His “choosiness,” for lack of a better term, is one. But I’m guessing like most other big city District Attorney offices, Erie County’s would have limited time and resources and prosecuting every case that comes into it is an impossibility, especially if Buffalo’s court system is anywhere near as backed up as Chicago’s. I don’t know what the proper balance is here, and I hope someone or a few can hash it out in response to this.
Obviously, in a vacuum, it would be great if every alleged crime saw its day in court, but as said time and resources almost certainly prevent that.
That’s counterbalanced by his office’s passion in pursuing sex crime cases, so I don’t know if they cancel out or not but they do seem to be in a sort of push-and-pull dynamic, as tricky as these kinds of cases can be to prove and convict.
Some other notes from it is the consensus that he would go to the grand jury on this if he feels the need, as that somewhat removes the decision from his hands. We’ve seen how grand juries can go off the rails a bit if a prosecutor wants it to, and we also know that prosecutors can indict “a ham sandwich” in a grand jury if he/she wants to. Sedita doesn’t sound like the type to use a grand jury to get himself out of a court case, but of course I don’t have any idea at all.
Still, the one thing I think we can discuss is that this could take a while longer yet and a grand jury might even extend it. With training camp now a month away, it feels like it’s a possibility that the two might bump into each other. I have no idea what the Hawks would do in that situation. They nor the league can suspend him if he remains only under investigation. I suppose the Hawks could give him a leave of absence, or “give” him one where they basically tell him to stay home. It certainly isn’t the media circus they have ever shown the urge to engage in if this isn’t resolved by the time everyone decamps to South Bend. But even if Kane’s not there, it’s not like they’ll completely duck a media circus either. When Kane had his taxi driver run-in, that was all resolved by the time camp began, and other than that I can’t really think of anything close the Hawks’ brass have had to deal with. I suppose this is why you hire a John McDonough.
There’s also the nugget that Sedita is pointing toward an election soon to the state supreme court. I would like to think whether he tries an athlete merely from the area would have no effect on the election of a public official, but I’d like to think a lot of things like that.
Anyway, have at it, barristers!