The videos of the night Timothy Piazza sustained his fatal injuries continue to cause legal issues.
The Centre County District Attorney’s Office has submitted a list of four reasons an appeals court should overturn a ruling by President Judge Thomas King Kistler in the fraternity case.
The Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity has been seeking the return of the surveillance videos from the February party at the Burrowes Street house since March. The video was shown to an investigating grand jury that returned recommendations for 147 charges including involuntary manslaughter, hazing and furnishing alcohol against the fraternity, as well as charges against 18 members.
The fraternity subsequently filed a motion asking for DA Stacy Parks Miller to be held in contempt of court for violating orders to return the video, and suggested the video that they had been given was incomplete and “modified” after it was in the prosecution’s possession.
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Kistler ruled in May that both Alpha Upsilon and the prosecution should retain forensic video experts to confer with the court’s expert to decide on a way to preserve and duplicate the footage.
Parks Miller filed an appeal the same day Alpha Upsilon submitted its experts for approval.
This week, Assistant DA Michael Osterberg submitted the list of complaints in the appeal. The prosecution says Kistler erred by “compelling the commonwealth to turn over to the court and a criminal defendant evidence in a criminal case prior to formal arraignment,” as well as violating separation of powers.
According to Osterberg’s statement, the court should not have compelled the DA’s office to retain an expert, and became a party to the case by retaining its own expert. He also said the order created a discovery obligation for the prosecution.