Stephen Zappala

Prosecutors Issue Guidelines On Probes Of Police Shootings

Nov 29, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

The group that represents Pennsylvania prosecutors issued guidelines Tuesday for investigating shootings by police officers, recommending that departments do not investigate their own and that the shooters' names should not be released unless they are charged.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the deaths of three people in a car who were struck on Thanksgiving by a fleeing suspect could have been avoided if the police departments involved went about it differently.

Sam Howzit / Flickr

 A Pittsburgh suburb wracked by a shooting at its major indoor shopping mall and other violent incidents now has new surveillance cameras in place.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. and the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce announced the move Wednesday.

Chamber of Commerce President Sean Logan said the new cameras are aimed at catching criminals and deterring others. 

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Standing on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Wood Street, Joe Kennedy held a paper sign Thursday. It read, “I am a human being.”

“Systems change when change is demanded, and I’m here to demand change,” said Kennedy, 48. “It is unacceptable that in a society that calls itself the land of the free and the home of the brave, black men are being gun downed at taxpayer expense by law enforcement.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Two lawyers from Pennsylvania's Montgomery County will face off in November to replace Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Democratic contender Stephen A. Zappala, who won 74 percent of his home county but only 37 percent of the state overall, said he goes back to work Wednesday as Allegheny County District Attorney.

"We’re not going to win this race," Zappala said, conceding. "We’ve got too much ground to make up. I’ve called the commissioner, and I’ve congratulated him on what happened tonight."

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County prosecutors executed search warrants Wednesday as part of an investigation into a state-created authority appointed to oversee Pittsburgh's failing finances a dozen years ago.

PA Attorney General Candidates Weigh In On Fracking

Apr 18, 2016
Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

 

Democratic candidate for attorney general Josh Shapiro is taking a hard line on gas drillers in a TV ad that began airing more than a week ago.

senatorcosta.com

Pennsylvania state Senators Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, both Allegheny County Democrats, are calling for Pittsburgh’s Intergovernmental Cooperative Authority board to immediately dismiss Executive Director Henry Sciortino, in the wake of a criminal investigation.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday that Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has opened a criminal investigation into the financial oversight board. 

Attorney General Candidates Run On Reform

Apr 1, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state has an entire agency dedicated, at least in part, to the men and women who have served in the military.

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs boasts 22,000 military and civilian personnel. It manages veterans homes and administers a variety of veteran benefits and outreach initiatives.

But for Joe Peters, Republican candidate for state attorney general, “it’s simply not enough.”

DBKING / Flickr

Pennsylvania's Democratic Party committee members went through a divisive process of buttonholing, cajoling and promising on Saturday but ultimately could not deliver endorsements in contested primary races for U.S. senator and state attorney general.  

Port Authority of Allegheny County

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning broke a legal norm on Tuesday.

Manning accepted a lenient plea deal offering probation to three of the five white men accused of beating a black man and throwing him onto a Wood Street subway track in Downtown Pittsburgh after a Kenny Chesney concert last May.

But as he accepted those terms, Manning said he was unhappy with the deals reached between the defendants’ attorneys and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.

90.5 WESA

All three Pennsylvania row offices will be up for election in 2016.

Usually candidates vying for attorney general, auditor general and treasurer have a hard time getting attention; most voters are focused on the presidential race. 

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

Long-time Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. announced his official bid for state attorney general at a luncheon for the Pittsburgh Building Trades Council on Wednesday. 

The event was held at the Sheraton at Station Square.

With his wife, Mary, and one of four sons, Steve, by his side, Zappala vowed to stand up to injustice and emphasized his desire to be a voice for Pennsylvania families.

Johnny Lucus / Flickr

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, defined as 30 grams, or about an ounce.

Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

Since about 2013, the use of personal drones has been on the rise; they’ve become more widely available and affordable. But, with that rise comes concerns about safety and privacy, but Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said they could be of tremendous help to law enforcement.

Zappala’s office has purchased one drone for the chiefs of police in the North Hills and has a commitment to buy at least two more for other forces.

“What we’re going to use the drones for initially is to look for lost children, autistic children that elope, people with Alzheimer’s, people with dementia and they’ve been used for search and rescue along the rivers,” said Zappala.

Kiewic / Flickr

The postmaster threatened retribution, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said. 

"'You’re going to lose your job,' to one person. He said he was going to kill them, other people he’d tell, 'I'm gonna get you,'" he said.

Daniel P. Davis, regional postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service, was charged Tuesday with four counts each of intimidation of witnesses, official oppression, obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function and criminal coercion.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

In the wake of several incidents of violence in Monroeville, including a shooting and 100-plus person fight, municipal leaders and local law enforcement have announced they are working together to stop the violence.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said part of the problem is drugs. When law enforcement cracked down on drug sales in Homewood, he said operations began to move out of the city into areas such as Monroeville.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says a Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed a man in Wilkinsburg in April was justified in opening fire.

Officials say Adrian Williams, 29, who was killed in the shooting, had led police on an early-morning high-speed chase that started in Homewood and ended in Wilkinsburg, when he crashed the car he was driving and then ran through yards with a handgun.

Zappala said at least 12 other officers were at the scene and had been involved in the chase. Officer Christopher Kertis shot Williams six times.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

When veterans face criminal charges in Allegheny County, many of them are not represented by experienced lawyers.  Instead, they are often defended by law students.

“It’s critical to help these individuals on so many different levels,” said Allison Gordon, Duquesne University law student and clinic manager. “We have them socially engaged, we have their medical engagement through VA resources and then for us to be able to help them with their legal issues, it helps bring them back into the community and be active members.”

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

District attorneys from across the state gathered at a Pittsburgh rehabilitation center Thursday, pushing for Senate passage of a bill they said would combat the growing heroin epidemic. That epidemic, they said, is tied directly to an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Wednesday’s stabbings at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville has left many asking what steps can be taken to prevent these acts of violence.

The Center for Victims thinks an important part of the equation to stop violence is men. 

That’s why the center kicked off its “Men Ending violeNce” (MEN) challenge, which encourages men to pledge to become proactive and speak out if they see violence.

Molly Allwein, Community Relations Coordinator, said men have a voice that women don’t.

The federal government spends around $125 billion on mental health annually, but the ways in which that money is spent are ineffective and antiquated, according to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny).

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said in a news conference Tuesday that the Monroeville police officer who struck and killed a pedestrian in early October will likely not be charged with a crime.

According to the DA’s office, Michael Barnes, 49, was struck by a police car driven by Sgt. Edward Lewkowicz at around 7:23 p.m. on Oct. 3. Zappala said Barnes was crossing Monroeville Boulevard, a four-lane road under the jurisdiction of Allegheny County.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Duquesne Place, a subsidized housing complex in Duquesne, has had some rough years.

In January 2012 a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed, and a 14-year-old was injured. The previous year, a 17-year-old boy was shot there. Overall, there was a high level of crime.

Over the past year the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has been working with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) and the Duquesne City School District to boost education opportunities and build a stronger community at the complex.

Allegheny County District Attorney's Office

As children all over the region head back to school, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced his office will not pursue criminal charges in last year's ductwork collapse at Shaler Area Elementary School. Last spring, more than one ton of HVAC ductwork came crashing down on cafeteria tables injuring 13 people. Seven kids and two adults were taken to the hospital with injuries. Zappala said the situation must be set apart from other incidents, such as the Center City building collapse in Philadelphia.

The Allegheny County District Attorney called for an increase in the use of video cameras in law enforcement Monday.

Stephen Zappala said cameras add an extra level of objectivity to the police force.

Zappala said video cameras in police vehicles reduced legal complaints against police officers across the county by 90 percent.

“Every time that somebody sues a municipality on a one-on-one stop,” he said, “it costs us money as taxpayers. We refer to it legally as contingent liabilities … When you introduce objective evidence, that changes substantially.”

If police in the Whitaker Borough want a search warrant, they’ll need the approval of the Allegheny County district attorney’s office.

This decision comes in response to the 2012 arrest of Whitaker Borough police officer William Davis, who was charged in April with two counts of false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression, and one count of perjury for using a warrant to get access to a private residence.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala said the department will be under a microscope.

A day before a scheduled preliminary hearing, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced he's dropping charges against a Pittsburgh teacher who was arrested outside a meeting about police/community relations.

Dennis Henderson, a 38-year-old teacher at the Manchester Academy Charter School, was arrested June 26 in Homewood after leaving a Community Empowerment Association meeting.  

Melvin Convicted

Feb 21, 2013

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been convicted of six of seven campaign corruption charges while her sister Janine Orie has been convicted of the six counts she faced.

Janine Orie was an administrative assistant to Melvin.