District Attorney Office Responsibilities

The District Attorney is the chief law enforcement official for Somerset County .  The primary responsibility of the District Attorney is to see that justice is accomplished within the framework of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the laws of the Commonwealth.

The District Attorney is committed to ensuring public safety and promoting public respect for government through the prompt, effective and efficient prosecution of cases in a manner that advocates for the interest of the public and all victims, respects the law enforcement agencies, responsibly steward public resources and hold offenders accountable while at the same time protecting the constitutional and legal rights of the accused.

The District Attorney prosecutes adult and juvenile violators of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth; provides and manages diversion services for eligible offenders; appears before the appellate courts of this Commonwealth, the federal courts and the United States Supreme Court in regard to criminal appeals arising from post-conviction and criminal proceedings; provides services to victims and witnesses to ensure their fair treatment within the criminal justice system.   The office presents training programs for prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and educational programs fro the youth and adult population of the community at large.  The District Attorney not only works with area-wide law enforcement and governmental agencies, but also provides advice and counsel by participation in state-wide initiatives and training programs, legislative, educational and community-based crime prevention initiatives.  The office also provides regular legal advice and support to local and state police, including reviewing and approving applications for search warrants and arrest warrants in homicide and sexual assault casts.  The District Attorney collaborates with appropriate agencies to ensure delivery of services to the community to meet established criminal justice goals and objectives.

The District Attorney supervises the activities of the Somerset County Drug Task Force.  Under Pennsylvania law, municipal police officers have law enforcement authority only in their home municipality.  In order allow municipal police officers to have county-wide, jurisdiction, they can join the county task force and, acting as a county detective, have county-wide jurisdiction to enforce drug laws.  The task force acts to assist municipal police departments in investigating drug law violations where illegal activities occur in more than one municipality.  The dug task force supplements and supports the activities  of the local police departments.  In addition, the drug task force conducts training on arrest, search and seizure and other criminal procedures and substantive law.

 Office Responsibilities

     The District Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer for the county in which he or she is elected.  The responsibilities of the office include ensuring public safety

    by enforcing the laws and defending the interests of the citizens of Somerset County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania according to the law;

    by pursuing fair and just punishment of those who violate the law;

    by safeguarding the interests of those victimized by crime

    by providing local leadership in preventing and controlling crime

    by ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all citizens, and

    by seeking to obtain justice in each case brought before the court within the framework of the constitutions and laws of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania .

 Core Values

     In carrying out our responsibilities, we are guided by the following core values:

    Equal Justice Under the Law.  Upholding the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a solemn responsibility entrusted to us by the voters of Somerset County .  We enforce these laws fairly and uniformly to ensure that all individuals receive equal protection and justice under the law.

    Honesty and Integrity.  We adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior.

    Commitment to Excellence.  We seek to provide the highest level of service to the citizens of Somerset County .  We are effective and responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.

    Respect for the Worth and  Dignity of Each Human Being.  We treat each other and those we deal with and serve with fairness, dignity and compassion.  We value differences in people and ideas.

 Core Functions

     The core functions of the office include:

    to review, investigate, detect and prosecute all criminal cases filed in Somerset County in order to protect the rights and ensure the safety of the citizens of Somerset County .  Responsibilities include:

A.      prosecution of all felony and misdemeanor charges.

B.      Prosecution of appeals of summary convictions.

C.      Prosecution of indirect criminal contempt cases arising out of violation of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders.

D.      Prosecution of contested juvenile cases.

E.       Appearances at other juvenile  court proceedings.

F.       Participation in juvenile drug court proceedings.

    to handle all appeals resulting from prosecution of criminal charges in Somerset County courts.  Appeals can include direct appeals by defendants or appeals by the District Attorney were a lower court ruling has had a substantial effect on our ability to prosecute a case, appeals under the Post Conviction Relief Act and federal habeas corpus proceedings.

    to investigate all potential violations of state law within Somerset County which do not fall within the  primary jurisdiction of another police agency or which is required in direct support of a pending court case.

    to ensure that all victims of  crime and witnesses are informed about the criminal justice system and afforded the opportunity for meaningful notice of and participation in the criminal justice process.

     to provide legal advise and guidance on a 24 hour basis to law enforcement agencies investigating cases which may require advice and assistance in  obtaining search warrants  or warrants of arrest, evidence obtained by use of wiretaps or other electronic surveillance or advice on legal issues related to pending investigations.

    to handle extradition and interstate rendition of prisoner proceedings arising out of the two state correctional institutions located within the county.

      to administer and manage all cases and resources assigned to the  District Attorney’s Office.

    to supervise county detectives in their responsibilities, which include;

A.      review of private criminal complaints;

B.      investigation of child abuse cases in instances where local law enforcement have made a referral;

C.      maintain a list of cases with active bench warrants and coordinate arrests and extradition of fugitives;

D.      serve as custodian of evidence in pending criminal matters;

E.       assist in the successful criminal prosecution in cases handled by the office.

County Annex Office Building
300 North Center Avenue
Somerset, PA 15501
Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union St.
Somerset, PA 15501