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Resolution to Protect the Safety of Police Officers Advances, Says Toohil
4/10/2013

HARRISBURG – A state House resolution that would help to protect the safety of police officers during criminal investigations Tuesday was unanimously approved by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) and other members of the House Judiciary Committee. House Resolution 150 now heads to the House floor for consideration.

The resolution urges the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to adopt, at its earliest convenience, the proposed Rules of Criminal Procedure 513 and 513.1, which would authorize a temporary delay in disseminating arrest warrant information and permitting the sealing of such information under certain circumstances.

“I believe this change in the law would deliver a fair balance between providing the public with arrest information and law enforcement with the necessary confidentiality to ensure that ongoing investigations are not compromised,” said Toohil. “In Hazleton, arrest warrant information appears in the newspaper immediately, putting law enforcement at risk. I strongly support this resolution and its intent of ensuring the safety of our police officers.”

To view Toohil’s meeting comments, visit:  http://youtu.be/BTjzG3xNdWA

To download Toohil’s broadcast quality comments, visit: http://media2.pahousegop.com/download.aspx?file=/newspickup/040913/TOOHIL_040913.mp4

During the committee meeting, the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. William Kortz (D-Allegheny), pointed out that the pending arrest of Jerry Sandusky in 2011 on child sex abuse charges was publicized before he was in custody. Kortz said that is just one example of the need for the Supreme Court to amend the current law regarding arrest warrants.

House Resolution 150 calls for an amendment to Rule 513 that would allow an attorney for the Commonwealth to request a delay of public access to an arrest warrant for 10 days or until the warrant is executed, whichever comes first. A judge would be allowed to extend the period for not more than 30 days. Upon good cause, a judge may grant an unlimited number of 30-day extensions.

The resolution also proposes the adoption of new Rule 513.1 that would allow an attorney for the Commonwealth to apply for the sealing of arrest warrant information, including the criminal complaint, arrest warrant, any affidavits of probable cause, and other documents related to the case. The information may be sealed by a judge for a period not to exceed 60 days. Upon good cause, a judge may grant an unlimited number of 30-day extensions.

The same resolution was introduced during the 2011-12 session, but it failed to make it to the House floor for a vote.

For more information on Toohil and her legislative priorities, visit RepToohil.com or Facebook.com/RepToohil.

State Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:
Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136
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