There is a new twist in the Centre County Courthouse drama.
President Judge Thomas King Kistler ordered District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller to review two private criminal complaints. One of them is against her.
The order was written Aug. 4 in response to a petition from Hobson McKown.
If that name sounds familiar, it might be because this isn’t the first time McKown has been in the news. He ran for district judge in the primary election. That kind of thing makes the news, but what really made headlines was that he was doing it while incarcerated in Centre County Correctional Facility.
McKown is out of jail now, after being convicted of criminal trespass at the courthouse. He is appealing that conviction to the Superior Court.
But in September 2016, he filed a private criminal complaint against former sheriff Denny Nau. In April, he filed one against Parks Miller.
There was no comment on exactly what the complaints were but Kistler ordered Parks Miller “to take action” on the two complaints within 20 days. Those 20 days were up on Friday.
Parks Miller says the actions ordered have been taken.
“We denied the Denny Nau complaint on policy grounds and referred the complaint against me to the (Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General),” she said. “I do not know details beyond that.”
This is the second time a complaint against Parks Miller has been kicked up to the OAG. The courthouse issues started in January 2015 when allegations were raised that she had forged the signature of a judge as part of an investigation. That accusation was referred to then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who presented the case to an investigating grand jury, which declined to recommend charges and decided the signature was genuine.
In January, two watchdog organizations asked current AG Josh Shapiro to investigate the relationship between Kane and Parks Miller. Kane picked Parks Miller’s attorney, former Montgomery County DA Bruce Castor, as her solicitor general and later first deputy AG. Castor became AG for a short time when Kane was forced to resign after being convicted on felony perjury, conspiracy and obstruction charges.
The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has scheduled a November hearing for a complaint against Parks Miller regarding ex parte communications with two judges in several cases. One of those judges, Jonathan Grine, accepted a “letter of counsel” from the Judicial Conduct Board on Aug. 29, avoiding further action by “willingness to accept public responsibility.”
Parks Miller lost her re-election bid in the primary election to Democratic challenger Bernie Cantorna. Cantorna was also declared the winner on the Republican ticket, making him the only name on the ballot in November.