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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 11, 2021 12:09 PM
From: Representative Tina Pickett and Rep. Clint Owlett
To: All House members
Subject: Active Law License Requirement to Serve as District Attorney
In the near future, we intend to introduce legislation that will expressly require elected district attorneys throughout the Commonwealth to have an active Pennsylvania law license in order to hold office.  This legislation will directly address issues related to the office of the district attorney when the district attorney is disbarred or suspended.  

The elected district attorney is a leading law enforcement officer in each county.  If a district attorney's law license is suspended, we believe his service in office should also then be suspended.  Providing for such a suspension from serving as district attorney will bolster public confidence in the office of district attorney, while preserving the individual's prerogative to defend himself or herself from any charges that are brought.  If the charges are dismissed or if the district attorney is acquitted, with law license restored, then the district attorney would be restored to office.  If there is a conviction and disbarment, then we believe the district attorney should automatically be disqualified from continuing in office.  

With holding the office of district attorney comes significant responsibilities that are necessary to ensure the safety of the public. However, shockingly under Pennsylvania law, an elected district attorney is not required to possess an active Pennsylvania law license. Our legislation will require that a district attorney must have an active law license to qualify to hold office.  In addition, our legislation will provide that if a current district attorney's law license is suspended, they will be temporarily suspended, without pay, from the office they hold.  The legal succession framework will ensure that a qualified individual assumes the office of the district attorney in the interim.

Please join us in co-sponsoring in this important legislation.

Introduced as HB964