PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The state’s auditor general is calling for better training for district judges in Pennsylvania.
Eugene DePasquale said thousands of people have criminal records they didn’t know existed.READ MORE: Superior Court Upholds Prison Sentence For Monroeville Mall Shooter Tarod Thornhill
This started after a man was applying for a job and found out he had a criminal record, which he didn’t know about.
He found out a magistrate judge in Erie wrongly misfiled hundreds of civil cases as criminal cases.
Auditor DePasquale said courts were avoiding filing fees that would’ve been paid to the state.READ MORE: Mayor Bill Peduto Commits Pittsburgh To Carbon Neutrality By 2050
Almost 3,000 of those misfiled cases in Erie were sealed just last week.
Now DePasquale is calling on the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to review all district courts in every county.
He is also calling for better training for district justices to make sure this problem doesn’t happen again.
“It appears many defendants simply pled guilty to the complaint without realizing the long repercussions in doing so,” DePasquale said. “Thousands of defendants wound up with criminal records they didn’t deserve. Or in some cases, they didn’t know they had.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Health Department Reports 4,192 New Cases, 52 Additional Deaths
DePasquale said he wants to see clearer language on charging documents, so defendants understand what will happen when pleading guilty on criminal complaints.