Last night, a former Penn State student who had read my prior article on Pizzagate, which included a bit on Jerry Sandusky and a former Centre County DA, sent me an article about current Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller. The article detailed her involvement in creating a fake Facebook profile to spy on people involved with cases she was trying:
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller told employees in 2011 that she’d created a fake Facebook page to “snoop” on “defendants or witnesses,” according to an email attached to a court filing last week.
Billy Penn reported in March last year that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board investigated Parks Miller after rumors circulated about the maneuver among the legal community. It’s unclear if that investigation continues, and disciplinary board investigations are confidential.
The whole story was quite intriguing, and I decided to do a little bit of investigation into Parks Miller and the allegations against her. Lo and behold, the fake Facebook profile accusation was hardly the first allegation Parks Miller has had against her during her tenure as DA.
In 2015, Parks Miller was accused of forging the signature of a judge on a (fake) bail order… as part of an investigation into death threats against one of her assistants.
Michelle Shutt, former paralegal to Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Middle District of Pennsylvania, accusing her former boss of retaliation, false public statements, abuse of process, defamation, injurious falsehood and false light/invasion of privacy.
It all started with the January 2015 allegations that Parks Miller forged the signature of Judge Pamela Ruest on a fake bail order as part of an investigation into death threats against an assistant district attorney. Shutt signed an affidavit attesting to that incident and later testified in front of an investigating grand jury.
Some further research turned up a website aptly named corruptparksmiller.com, which detailed a number of investigations against Parks Miller. The website provides ample evidence demonstrating that Parks Miller has broken the law at least a few times during her tenure as DA. Some of the allegations include:
- Using her office to enrich private law firm of her friend (Bruce Castor) to the tune of $126,000
- Oppressing those who have tried to expose said illegal payments
- Witness intimidation
- Communicating illegally with three judges via text message
- Ignoring court orders to release documents
- The above mentioned forgery
- The above mentioned Facebook profile (constitutes entrapment)
Taking a closer look at the Facebook allegation, the news itself is not new, but a court filing confirmed it yesterday, in the article that was presented to me. The proof is in the pudding:
In case you were wondering, while it is legal (albeit very messed up) for a regular Joe to do this, it is a very different story if you are an attorney, much less a prosecutor:
Legal experts have said it is unethical for attorneys to create fake social media profiles and use them to gather information about clients or cases. Barbara Rosenberg, co-chair of the Professional Guidance Committee with the Philadelphia Bar Association, told Billy Penn last year that district attorneys should be held to these standards, too.
“To me, it’s even more serious,” she said. “A prosecutor has a duty to be an administer of justice and therefore should not take actions that are outside the rules.”
In 2014, the Pennsylvania Bar Association released an opinion on social media ethics, writing that using social media to contact witnesses “under false pretenses constitutes deception.”
So who exactly were the “defendants” that the DA’s office tried to illegally entrap? It is difficult to say, but based on the “profile” of Britney Bella, they seem more geared towards casual college students charged with underage drinking/DUI/drug possession; not exactly what you would call “hardened criminals” who need extensive surveillance:
It appears as though the primary aim of “Britney Bella” was to lure marijuana users to share their details with her as part of a catfishing scam, but the “scam” was actually illegal entrapment of anyone from a hardened ex-con who might have been violating the terms of his parole to a student merely engaging in typical college behavior (which is now legal in many states).
It isn’t as though this is the first time an elected Pennsylvania legal official has been caught skirting the law. As I detailed in August of last year, a Scranton area judge was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison for taking financial kickbacks involved in illegally imprisoning kids in the “kids for cash” scheme. Everyone involved in the legal system, from police to judges to attorneys should be on notice that criminal conduct within the system faces serious penalties.
Yet somehow, Parks Miller is not facing any criminal charges. Even worse, she is running for re-election in May of this year. I’m not naive enough to think that the allegations aren’t being put forward by her challenger, but they have provided substantial evidence to support their claims. and her conduct is clearly awful enough to warrant termination without the need for an election. How exactly does this woman still have a job?
If you are a Pennsylvania resident, take heed. The “Kids For Cash” case is still in litigation despite some monster payouts being awarded to the plantiffs. Check and see if the system has entrapped you illegally for anything, even a speeding ticket. There are probably a lot of defendants lining up to see if Parks Miller illegally entrapped them, and I for one hope that the majority of them are current or former Penn State students like the one who brought the entire scandal to my attention.