HARRISBURG – Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer/Buter) has introduced legislation that would make it a first-degree misdemeanor for any public official of a municipality to vote for, direct or induce any law enforcement officer to not enforce a state law or to establish penalties for traffic or criminal violations other than as provided by state law.
“Public officials in numerous cities across Pennsylvania have directed law enforcement officers to not enforce state laws regarding traffic offenses or marijuana possession or have established alternate penalties for such violations,” said Bonner. “Public officials do not have the authority under the law to direct law enforcement officers not to enforce state law, nor to establish alternate penalties for violations of state law. Such actions interfere with existing state laws and constitute obstruction of justice. This legislation more clearly defines the lack of authority such officials have in their wrongful attempts to influence police investigations and arrests, and establish alternate penalties.”
The legislation recognizes and exempts the inherent discretion that prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officers have to not charge an individual with a crime or to dismiss charges during the criminal process.
“This is a very important issue that protects the criminal justice system from improper influence by those individuals lacking authority to intervene in our criminal justice system,” Bonner concluded. “It is imperative that we stop this process before greater efforts are made by local officials to override state law.”
Representative Tim Bonner
8th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michelle Swab