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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 12, 2019 03:45 PM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Asst. District Attorney Succession Requirements (4th-8th Class Counties)
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation amending the County Code to clarify succession for a First Assistant District Attorney (ADA) upon a vacancy of the office of District Attorney (DA) in certain counties.

Recently, it has come to my attention that Section 1404(b) of the County Code, amended in 2001, could better align with the residency requirements in Section 1401(a). The proposed amendment clarifies the requirements for the succession of the DA by the first ADA in counties of the fourth through the eighth class.

Specifically, among other qualifications, Section 1401(a) provides that to be eligible for the District Attorney position, the candidate “shall have resided in the county for which he is elected or appointed for one year next preceding his election or appointment.” Section 1404(b) provides that the first ADA shall become DA in the event of a vacancy. It is not explicit, but implied, in Section 1404(b) that the Section 1401(a) requirements apply to the successor in the event of a vacancy.

This proposed clarification is consistent with recent court interpretations of Sections 1401(a) and 1404(b). As a result, Section 1404(b) will include a reference to all Section 1401(a) requirements. This small, technical change will prevent future unnecessary litigation and ensure an orderly transition in such vacancies.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB902