Standing and the Pennsylvania State Police

standing standing

We have three questions about the Pennsylvania State Police (hereinafter “PSP”) and their ability to have standing in court in Pennsylvania and their ability to interpret orders from judges. I am going to attempt to bring together the questions with my own hypothetical that I hope incorporates all three questions.


I was accused of running a brothel out of my property. For purposes of this question I was charged with various felonies and misdemeanors. I appeared at the first preliminary hearing listing with my lawyer. We put on the preliminary hearing. The Magistrate Judge discharged my case due to a lack of evidence and told the local cops to stop wasting his time and stop putting law abiding citizens through the ringer with no evidence. The judge threw out the cops and all of the charges.

I had never been processed or arrested in this case because in my township they wait until after the preliminary to process and finger print you. After the case was thrown out, I left and went home–no processing, no prints. Two days later I got a call from the PSP asking me to come down for finger printing. I ignored them. They kept calling.

I had my lawyer file an expungement motion in the Court of Common Pleas in my county. The motion was granted. The District Attorney did not object to the expungement. The State Police still keep bothering me and refuse to destroy the record of the arrest by the judge. Is there anything I can do?

If the expungement has been granted, part of the official Expungement Order is for the PSP to destroy the finger prints. If the PSP refuse to leave you alone, you can go back in front of the Common Pleas Court judge and ask that he hold the PSP in contempt for not following his order.

I tried to do everything that you said and the judge ordered that they leave me alone. The PSP had their lawyer file a motion in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania to appeal the original expungement order. Can they do that?

No. The applicable case law in PA is crystal clear. The PSP have absolutely no standing to object to expungement orders and the PSP has no right to interpret the Order. Only the DA can object. In your case, the PSP’s conduct is outrageous. The Superior Court will order the PSP to follow the Common Pleas Judge’s Order.

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