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Parks Miller Initiates New Lawsuit Against County Commissioner, Bellefonte Police and Others

by on August 01, 2017 12:21 PM

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller intends to file a new lawsuit against several defendants, including a Centre County commissioner, Bellefonte Police and others.

Parks Miller's attorney, Bruce Castor, filed in Centre County Court on Friday to have writ of summons issued for Bellefonte Borough, Bellefonte Police Department, Bellefonte Police Chief Shawn Weaver, Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe, forensic examination firm PATCtech and the firm's case manager and forensic examiner Brian Sprinkle.

A separate request was filed under a different docket number for a writ of summons for Centre County.

The documents do not indicate why she intends to sue the defendants, only describing the nature of the case as an intentional tort. She is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

All of the players, however, have been involved to some degree in Parks Miller's ongoing legal battles with county officials and others.

After Parks Miller was accused by a former paralegal and several defense attorneys of forging Judge Pamela Ruest's signature on a fake bail order as part of a prison sting operation, the case was turned over to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. A grand jury chose not to recommend charges in the case after handwriting experts concluded the signature was Ruest's.

She and her office also were accused of having an improper relationship with a county judge after a Right to Know request revealed text messages between prosecutors and the judge in the days leading up to a trial. Parks Miller sued the county arguing that it overstepped its bounds in releasing text message records.

After the accusations of forgery had been turned over to the Attorney General's office, Bellefonte Police executed a search warrant on Parks Miller's office for digital storage devices. Parks Miller has alleged county commissioners and administrators at the time had pressured police to continue their investigation after it had already been turned over to state investigators

PATCtech's Sprinkle was the forensic examiner for the electronic devices.

Parks Miller filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2015 against the county; Michelle Shutt, the paralegal who brought forward the forgery accusation; Ruest; former county administrator Tim Boyde; former county solicitor Louis Glantz; four defense attorneys, including Bernard Cantorna, who defeated Parks Miller in May's primary election and will be the next DA; former commissioner Chris Exarchos and current commissioners Steve Dershem and Pipe.

Pipe was removed from the lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed entirely. Judge Matthew Brann threw out most of the claims in May 2016. In August he dismissed remaining claims of illegal search and seizure and said Bellefonte Police had probable cause for obtaining the search warrant.

Parks Miller is appealing the dismissal of that suit. She also is being sued by Shutt, the former paralegal, for defamation.

At Tuesday's Board of Commissioners meeting, Pipe declined comment on the new action. 

Castor could not be reached for comment.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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