HARRISBURG—Filling a vacancy in the office of district attorney in counties with fewer than 210,00 residents has become less controversial thanks to a law sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).
The issue arose when Susquehanna County District Attorney Robert Klein passed away in 2017. The County Code specifies that the first assistant district attorney is the successor. But another section requires a year of residency by an elected or appointed chief prosecutor, which could not be met in this instance. The discrepancy raised numerous legal questions because it was unclear which condition took precedence. Sen. Baker quickly wrote and moved legislation to resolve the conflict by making it clear that both requirements must be met in order to assume the position.
“This small change ensures an orderly transition for future district attorney vacancies in rural counties,” Baker said. “It is a good reminder that solid legislation tends to be rooted in the community and greatly influenced by local residents,” Baker said.
Contact: Jen Wilson