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Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association (PDAA) is a lobbying organization comprised of a majority of the district attorneys across the commonwealth. The PDAA frequently uses its enormous influence to shut down legislative reforms and other efforts to reform our criminal legal system.

How the PDAA shuts down reforms in the criminal legal system

2010

The PDAA opposes legislation that would have implemented a pretrial assessment of a person's mental state and ability to stand trial in capital cases.

2011

The PDAA trashes Senator Greenleaf’s advisory committee on wrongful convictions before it even starts by holding a press conference criticizing the members of the committee. Frank Fina, working hand in hand with PDAA while he was at the office of the Attorney General, said at the first meeting, “There are no innocent people in prison in Pennsylvania.”

In their minority report to that study produced by Senator Greenleaf's committee, the PDAA says it is “preposterous” to compensate people who have been incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit, people like Han Tak Lee who spent 20+ years in prison for a fire that killed his daughter.

The PDAA unfairly and publicly criticizes and obstructs the death penalty study commission before it even has a chance to start their work. Their obstruction will contribute to a years-delay of the commission's report.

The PDAA urges the Pennsylvania state senate to pass a sweeping expansion of the state's Wiretap Act, giving law enforcement immense power to conduct surveillance on Pennsylvanians.

2015

The PDAA opposes reforms to Pennsylvania's civil asset forfeiture rules, calling the reforms a "Drug Dealer's Bill of Rights."

The PDAA calls Governor Tom Wolf's death penalty moratorium "illegal."

2016

The PDAA issues calls to change how investigations into police shootings are managed. The PDAA's calls for "independent investigations" are, in fact, simply an argument for investigative powers to be handed over to district attorneys.

2017

Representatives from the PDAA testify before the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and urges mandatory minimum sentencing for fentanyl dealers.

The PDAA calls for the reinstatement of mandatory minimum sentencing for those who commit "violent crimes," despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declaring mandatory minimum sentences unconstitutional following a similar ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Representatives from the PDAA raise a number of questions and objections to the closing of two Pennsylvania prisons.

2018

The PDAA opposes Senator Greenleaf's Safe Harbor Bill, which grants prosecutorial immunity to all victims of child sex trafficking. The bill passes anyway.

The PDAA minimizes and undercuts the findings of a state commission reviewing the death penalty, claiming that the death penalty in Pennsylvania does not disproportionately impact people of color and that the report used faulty budget data to show the cost to taxpayers of the death penalty.

2019

The PDAA files an amicus brief with the state Supreme Court in support of reinstating the death penalty in Pennsylvania and makes case to public that the death penalty is constitutional.

The PDAA issues a public statement claiming that "recreational marijuana is not safe or harmless" and that studies finding that marijuana is a "dangerous drug" should be taken seriously.