Citizen Taxpayer Guide to Navigating PA's Right to Know Law (RTKL)

Citizen Taxpayer Guide to Navigating PA's Right to Know Law (RTKL)

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

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"FAKE" GRAND JURY REPORT PUBLISHED BY OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL RE: THE STACY PARKS MILLER FORGERY INVESTIGATION

Background.

Example of a lawful grand jury report (39th statewide investigating grand jury):

This is what a lawful official grand jury report (with the associated order from the Supervising Judge) looks like.

No public record grand jury report exists at any County Courthouse re: Stacy Parks Miller:

I sent this public records request to the Allegheny County Courthouse (home to the grand jury proceedings) and I received this answer indicating that no records exist (re: the grand jury that investigated DA Parks Miller). The Cambria County Courthouse (home to the Supervising Judge) said it doesn't have it. And the AG's office said the Centre County Courthouse doesn't have it.

Tampering with public records or information is a criminal offense (18 Pa.C.S.A. §4911). Specifically "[a] person person commits an offense if he ..."intentionally and unlawfully destroys, conceals, removes or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing." 18 Pa.C.S.A. §4911(a)(3). This report  on OAG's website is a crimimal  misportrayal of an official grand jury report:


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Supervising Judge Krumenacker talked to the media:

On July 15, 2017, following an interview with grand jury supervising Judge Krumenacker, the Tribune-Democrat newspaper reported that the grand jury that investigated allegations that Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller had forged a Judge's signature on a fake court order "was a rare situation in which the grand jury rejected issuing a report or presentment after determining that criminal charges were not justified."

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The law specifies how a report gets to be an official grand jury report:

42 Pa. C.S. § 4552.  Investigating grand jury reports.

(a)  General rule.--Any investigating grand jury, by an affirmative majority vote of the full investigating grand jury, may, at any time during its term submit to the supervising judge an investigating grand jury report.

(b)  Examination by court.--The judge to whom such report is submitted shall examine it and the record of the investigating grand jury and, except as otherwise provided in this section, shall issue an order accepting and filing such report as a public record with the court of common pleas established for or embracing the county or counties which are the subject of such report only if the report is based upon facts received in the course of an investigation authorized by this subchapter and is supported by the preponderance of the evidence.

(c)  Sealed report.--Upon the submission of a report pursuant to subsection (a), if the supervising judge finds that the filing of such report as a public record may prejudice fair consideration of a pending criminal matter, he shall order such report sealed and such report shall not be subject to subpoena or public inspection during the pendency of such criminal matter except upon order of court.

(d)  Appeal from refusal to file.--Failure of the supervising judge to accept and file as a public record a report submitted under this section may be appealed by the attorney for the Commonwealth to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed by general rules.

(e)  Authorization of response by nonindicted subject.--If the supervising judge finds that the report is critical of an individual not indicted for a criminal offense the supervising judge may in his sole discretion allow the named individual to submit a response to the allegations contained in the report. The supervising judge may then in his discretion allow the response to be attached to the report as part of the report before the report is made part of the public record pursuant to subsection (b).

In layman's speak, it's 1-2-3:

  1. The grand jurors themselves must first cast an affirmative majority vote before any report can be considered an official grand jury report. That said, the grand jurors are under no obligation to do so. They could simply not approve any report being filed. See § 4552(a).
  2. The Supervising Judge is not permitted by law to approve (or disapprove) of any report other than the one that the grand jurors voted on. The Judge has no lawful authority to create, generate, or approve, any report that was not first affirmatively approved by the grand jurors themselves. The Judge can only approve (or disapprove) of the report that the grand jurors' affirmatively voted on. See § 4552(b).
  3. If the Supervising Judge decides to approve the report that the grand jurors affirmatively voted on, the law requires that the Judge issue an Order for that report to be filed as a public record with the court of common pleas. See § 4552(b).

Only a report that first obtains an affirmative majority vote of the grand jurors and second is approved by the Supervising Judge, is an official grand jury report. And an official grand jury report is required by law to be filed with the Court of Common Pleas. The Supervising Judge has no discretion. The law states that that the Judge "shall issue" an Order requiring that the approved report be filed at the applicable Courthouse. Without this two-step process (grand jurors' vote plus Judge approval) culminating in the mandatory creation of a public judicial record at a Courthouse, there is no lawful grand jury report!

RIGHT TO KNOW LAW APPEAL

Getting the Office of Attorney General to admit that no public record grand jury report (re: the Parks Miller matter) exists at any Courthouse.