Skip to main content

Can the police officer who issued the summons (summary offense) act as the prosecutor in a PA district court?

Phoenixville, PA |
Filed under: Civil rights

I was accused by a neighbor of a crime I did not commit. The investigation officer assumed I was guilty and issued citations. His report strongly showed bias towards me as guilty. I plead not guilty and went to court. The officer who issued the summons was in a suit and tie and was referred to by the judge as the prosecutor. The officer has been on the police force for 5 years as part-time and 2 years full time. He has no law degree. How can he cross-examine me. it doesn't seem legal.
Further more, I requested discovery information prior to goung to the hearing from the District Court and Township. The Prosecution entered evidence that was not made available to me prior to the trial.
Also the prosecution witness purjured himself twice. The Judge ignored it.

This was a summary offense. Non traffic related. Hassassment and Disorderly conduct. Thanks

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Yes. Generally, as traffic citation is prosecuted by the officer before the Magisterial District Judge. In Pennsylvania, you have the right to appeal a summary conviction to the Court of Common Pleas. You must appeal within 30 days of conviction. If you file an appeal, the District Attorney will prosecute the case before the Common Pleas Court.

    You do not need an attorney at either phase. However, an attorney may be able to negotiate a reduced charge which could reduce your points and fine.

  2. In a summary citation proceeding, a police officer can present the case on behalf of the Commonwealth at the District Justice level. Your remedy in this situation is to file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. You will receive a new trial before a Judge and the COmmonwealth will be represented by the DA's Office. You may want to consider hiring an attorney or at least speaking to one.

Civil rights topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics