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Attorney General Reportedly Returns Property Seized by Police to District Attorney

by on February 05, 2015 3:22 PM

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General has reportedly returned property that police took from the Centre County District Attorney’s office.

According to a letter from Bruce Castor – a lawyer for District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller – to the Centre County Court administrator, the county-owned laptop, tablet and cellphone taken by Bellefonte police were returned to Parks Miller by the OAG on Thursday.

Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver said he could not comment when asked to confirm these details.

The OAG declined to confirm this information, and has previously denied repeated requests to confirm whether that office is conducting an investigation that involves Parks Miller. 

In response to the Jan. 24 search by Bellefonte police, Parks Miller filed a petition with the Centre County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 26 asking for the seized items to be returned. The petition argued that Bellefonte police overstepped their authority because only the OAG has the jurisdiction to investigate allegations involving district attorneys.

“The Office of Attorney General has taken custody of all the property from the Bellefonte Police Department that is the subject of the above petition and agents immediately returned that property to DA Parks Miller,” Castor's Feb. 5 letter reads. “As such, kindly make this action as withdrawn by Petitioner.” 

Bellefonte police searched Parks Miller’s office after allegations that she forged a judge’s signature on a fake court order were made public by two State College attorneys at a Centre County Commissioners meeting last month.

The allegations stem from an affidavit signed by Parks Miller’s former paralegal and dated Dec. 30, 2014, in which she alleges she witnessed Parks Miller forge Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest’s signature.

Ruest has previously declined comment on this topic.

John Abom, an attorney for the three county commissioners, declined to comment when contacted for this story.

Parks Miller emphatically denies the allegations that she forged the judge’s signature and instead claims that Michelle Shutt, her former paralegal, has knowingly made false reports. Parks Miller says she took the allegations to the OAG before they were made public in January, which the OAG has neither confirmed nor denied.

Castor’s letter to the Centre County Court administrator comes only one day after many of the people embroiled in this case reportedly met in a Cambria County courthouse for a closed-door meeting with Judge Norman Krumenacker. According to media reports, that meeting included Parks Miller and her attorney, the three Centre County commissioners and their attorney, the Bellefonte chief of police and a detective, Parks Miller's former paralegal and her attorney and State College attorney Phillip Masorti.

According to Pennsylvania Courts spokesperson Jim Koval, Krumenacker is both a common pleas judge in Cambria County and the presiding judge of a grand jury based in Pittsburgh.

When asked for details about Wednesday’s meeting between the Judge and the Centre County officials, Koval could not provide any details. 

“Your queries concern matters under the jurisdiction of the grand jury, and… are confidential,” Koval says in an email.

 

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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