Suspect’s Release Prompts New Sex Crimes Rules In Allegheny Co., PA

Paperwork Error Raises Possible Changes



The release of a Wilkinsburg rape suspect following a paperwork error has prompted a change in how police and prosecutors in Allegheny County deal with sex crimes.

 District Attorney Stephen Zappala is requiring departments to get approval from prosecutors before charges are filed. Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel approved the new rules last week.

 Zappala said the new rules ensure that prosecutors know when a felony sex crime arrest is coming.

 The change was prompted by the dismissal of rape charges against David Bradford. He was freed last year after a paperwork glitch kept prosecutors from acting on his case in a timely manner. The records from his preliminary hearing in Wilkinsburg District Court on Oct. 9, 2008 never made it to the county’s Department of Court Records. This error caused Bradford to spend more than a year in jail while no work was being done on his case.

 Zappala said the new system means prosecutors will know about a case before it reaches the courts.


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