Centre DA issues warning in fraternity death case
BELLEFONTE – Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller yesterday strongly cautioned persons with knowledge of the workings of the Centre County Investigating Grand Jury that her office will not tolerate the revealing publicly of information that is subject to the secrecy requirements of the Grand Jury Act.
The District Attorney was reacting to news articles appearing recently in The Philadelphia Inquirer citing unnamed sources purporting to have knowledge of the investigation currently ongoing into the death of Pennsylvania State University student Tim Piazza on February 4, 2017. The following day, on local Centre County television, one of the same defense attorneys appeared on television in an interview, describing evidence in police possession. DA Parks Miller is personally heading up that investigation in her capacity as the county’s chief law enforcement official.
“I am disappointed that criminal defense lawyers seek to shape the public dialogue of an investigation to influence prospective jurors in the event arrests are made,” the District Attorney said. “However, there are very specific ethical rules and secrecy statutes which such lawyers must be mindful of,” DA Parks Miller continued, “I caution anyone involved in any of our investigations that our office will investigate and prosecute persons who violate grand jury secrecy provisions.”
“Grand Jury matters are secret for a reason,” Parks Miller added, “not the least of which is to protect innocent persons from being unfairly tarred and feathered on the court of public opinion, simply because they chose to cooperate in an investigatory matter. In the event that such matters occur in a grand jury proceeding, we will be asking the supervising judge to address them as they arise.”