from the Judgment of Sentence March 3, 2016 in the Court of
Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at No.:
BEFORE: DUBOW, J., RANSOM, J., and PLATT, J. [*]
Patrick R. Reese, appeals from the judgment of sentence
imposed following his bench conviction of one count of
indirect criminal contempt. We affirm.
the relevant facts and procedural history of this case from
our independent review of the certified record. By way of
background, Appellant was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent
in the Executive Protective Detail for former Pennsylvania
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane. Appellant's
responsibilities included the transportation and security of
case arises from Appellant's violation of a protective
order issued in 2014, in connection with the 35th
Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. The Grand Jury examined
the improper release of secret information from a prior 2009
grand jury, which included an inquiry into the finances of a
former president of the Philadelphia branch of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP),
the late J. Whyatt Mondesire. Information from the 2009
investigation was leaked to the Philadelphia Daily News, and
was published in an article on June 6, 2014.
the course of the Grand Jury proceedings, the Office of the
Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (OAG)
became a subject. The Honorable William R. Carpenter, in his
capacity as the supervising judge of the Grand Jury,
appointed Thomas E. Carluccio, Esquire, as Special Prosecutor
to investigate and prosecute any illegal disclosures. On
August 27, 2014, Judge Carpenter entered a protective order
(Protective Order) in that matter, which stated as follows:
1. The Office of the Attorney General, except upon specific
authorization by this Court or the Special Prosecutor, shall
refrain from any involvement in, or access to, the
investigative efforts of the Special Prosecutor.
2. Employees of the Office of the Attorney General shall
refrain from engaging in, or soliciting, any act of
obstruction, intimidation or retaliation against any witness
summoned by the Grand Jury in the Special Prosecutor's
3. All transcripts of Grand Jury testimony shall be given
only from the stenographer or their employer directly to the
Supervising Judge and the Special Prosecutor, no copy shall
be given to the Attorney General's Office.
4. Employees of the Office of the Attorney General shall not
have access to transcripts of proceedings before the Grand
Jury or Supervising Judge, exhibits, or other information
pertaining to the Special Prosecutor's investigation. All
information related to the work of the Special Prosecutor
shall be kept in the custody of the Special Prosecutor and
5. Any person, including employees of the Office of the
Attorney General, who engage in any act of obstruction,
intimidation or retaliation against a witness summoned by the
Grand Jury in the Special Prosecutor's investigation may
be prosecuted as set forth in 18 Pa.C.S.[A.] § 4955
(relating to violation of orders) and any other applicable
provisions of the Crimes Code of Pennsylvania.
6. The Special Prosecutor shall serve a copy of this Order
upon the Office of the Attorney General.
7. The contents of this Order are sealed, and shall not be
disclosed (either verbally or in writing) by the Office of
the Attorney General to any individual outside of the Office
of the Attorney General under penalty of contempt of court.
(Protective Order, 8/27/14, Exhibit C-1) (original emphases
omitted; emphasis added).
response to a motion for reconsideration filed by the OAG,
Judge Carpenter entered an order on September 17, 2014,
modifying slightly the Protective Order. The amended order
. . . [T]he following persons only shall be subject to
Paragraphs 2 and 5 of said [Protective] Order:
1. Any person who has been sworn to Grand Jury secrecy.
2. Any person who has or had access to any Grand Jury
3. Any person associated with the J. Whyatt Mondesire
proceedings and investigation.
Additionally, Paragraph 7 of said Order is modified to allow
communication regarding the Order with counsel for a person
subject to the Order, for purposes of appeal, and for any
other, similar purpose required by law.
(Order, 9/17/14, Exhibit C-2). The Grand Jury resulted in a
presentment in December of 2014, recommending the filing of
criminal charges against Ms. Kane, including perjury.
August 6, 2015, the Commonwealth filed a criminal complaint
charging Appellant with indirect criminal contempt for
violation of the Protective Order. The Commonwealth alleged
that, from September through December 2014, Appellant
conducted searches of the OAG's email archive system,
eVault, (eVault System), directed at gaining access to
information he was prohibited from knowing under the
Protective Order. Among the many searches that Appellant
performed were searches of emails relating to Judge Carpenter
and Special Prosecutor Carluccio.
October 15, 2015, Appellant filed an Omnibus Pre-trial
Motion, requesting that Judge Carpenter recuse himself from
this case, and that the court dismiss the criminal complaint
filed against him. The court denied the motion, following
oral argument, on October 27, 2015.
case proceeded to a bench trial on December 7, 2015, and the
trial court found Appellant guilty of the above-stated
offense. On March 3, 2016, the court sentenced Appellant to a
term of not less than three nor more than six months'
incarceration. This timely appeal followed.
raises the following issues for our review:
I. Whether the [trial] court erred in denying