1200x230_harrisburg

Press Release

  • Grand jury finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in investigation of Centre County district attorney

    7/31/2015

    HARRISBURG — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced that Stacy Parks Miller, the Centre County district attorney, will not face criminal charges following an investigation by a statewide investigating grand jury.

    The grand jury in a report released today determined there was no evidence to support charging Miller with forgery, tampering with records or identification or theft of services.

    Miller in part was accused of forging a judge's signature on a "fake bail order." The grand jury heard testimony from more than 20 witnesses, including a professional handwriting expert who determined the signature on the bail order was in fact the genuine signature of Centre County Judge Pamela A. Ruest. The expert's findings also were independently confirmed by a second handwriting expert who reviewed the signatures, the grand jury reported.

    "The grand jury's findings led to a definitive conclusion," Attorney General Kane said. "Simply put, the evidence does not support criminal charges."

    The grand jury investigation stemmed from a complaint made by Philip Masorti, an attorney, who received information from Michelle Shutt, a former paralegal in the Centre County district attorney's office.

    The purpose of the "fake bail order" was to facilitate a plan in which Miller sought to charge the culprit in an alleged murder-for-hire plot, the grand jury reported. The grand jury found Miller's ultimate intent in creating the "fake bail order" was to protect an assistant district attorney who was targeted in the alleged plot.

    It also was alleged that Miller used her staff in the district attorney's office to perform political work and used county office supplies to aid her political campaign.

    The grand jury investigated those allegations and concluded that some of Miller's campaign work, such as notarizing campaign-related documents and making copies of those documents, was performed by Centre County staff. However, the expense to the county was at most slightly more than $200, the grand jury found. It concluded this to be "de minimis," meaning too small of an amount to warrant criminal charges.

    The Office of Attorney General assumed jurisdiction in this case as the result of a conflict referral from Stacy Parks Miller pursuant to the Commonwealth Attorneys Act. The grand jury wrote in its report that it reviewed relevant criminal statutes and legislation as part of its investigation.

    The grand jury report also concluded this case illustrates confusion between the Commonwealth Attorneys Act and other state statutes. The report calls for legislative clarification to prevent a duplication of resources in future cases.

    # # #