October 1, 2007

Harrisburg, PA-Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) president and Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr. today called for the Pennsylvania State Legislature to reinstate a portion of the Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act that was inadvertently removed in 1998.

House Bill 1817, proposed by state Representative Ronald Marsico would reinstate a Pennsylvania law that previously allowed prosecutors to admit evidence obtained from lawful interceptions conducted in another state or by the federal government.  The bill was considered and passed through the House Judiciary Committee today.

“Pennsylvania’s prosecutors have developed and supported an entire package of changes to the Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act to address the blur of technology in fighting crime, but first we must address the inadvertent removal of this section of the Act,” said Castor.

Prior to 1998, Pennsylvania law permitted the disclosure and use of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication provided that the wiretap was lawfully conducted in another state or by the federal government.  Such a law was in place for over a decade in Pennsylvania and is currently law in the majority of other states.

“Criminals do not operate exclusively within a single state’s borders or a single jurisdiction and this bill recognizes that reality,” Castor continued.  “Given the sophistication of today’s criminals, state and local law enforcement often join forces with the federal government and other agencies in order to apprehend the bad guys, but it is difficult to prosecute criminals locally when the various agencies can’t share evidence.”

The Pennsylvania District Attorney Association is supporting an entire package of legislation, including H.B. 1817, to amend Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act reflecting the numerous technological advances that have occurred since the Act was last addressed in 1998.