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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 16, 2019 03:47 PM
From: Representative Brian Sims and Rep. Summer Lee
To: All House members
Subject: Special Prosecutor in Police Deadly Force Cases
Public confidence in our nation’s criminal justice system has been damaged in the wake of several incidents across the country in which police officers were under investigation by district attorneys for the alleged use of deadly force. Though a close working relationship between district attorneys and police officers can help facilitate criminal justice, it can also create the appearance of a conflict of interest when a district attorney is called upon to investigate the actions of a police officer.

In order to restore citizens’ confidence in our criminal justice system, we must require the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor when an on-duty police officer is involved in an incident that may constitute criminal homicide as a result of the officer’s conduct. Placing such investigations in the hands of a special prosecutor is not intended to question the impartiality of district attorneys, but is instead intended to introduce an outside perspective into the case. In fact, my legislation gives special prosecutors the power to consult with district attorneys in the county where the alleged offense occurred.

Our constituents should be able to trust their government so please join me in helping to bolster our citizens’ confidence in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system.

Introduced as HB1382