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Prosecutor's Fake Facebook Page Prompts Ethics Hearing

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 24, 2017 12:59 PM

According to Facebook accounts, Britney Bella is either a young Asian, Hispanic, or Black woman --- or she is a White prosecutor using a fake account.

The prosecutor's real name is Stacy Parks Miller, district attorney for Centre County, Pennsylvania. She created the fictitious identity to gather information surreptitiously about defendants, according to an ethics complaint against her.

"Britney Bella" will be found "legally ethical and necessary for law enforcement," she says. More than 100 ex parte texts and email with judges on cases, not so much.

Pending Discipline

The state Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court has set a hearing for Nov. 29, 2017, to consider whether the prosecutor committed professional misconduct when she texted judges about pending cases and by using the fake Facebook account to obtain information about defendants.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel says Parks Miller contacted judges without informing defense lawyers. She also misled disciplinary counsel's investigations, the office alleges.

"The true operations in Centre County are very disturbing and always have been as long as I have been privy to behind the scenes," said Parks Miller, who reportedly admitted that certain contacts were "improper."

Disciplinary Counsel Anthony Czuchnicki said her conduct undermined the integrity of the criminal justice system.

High Profile Problems

Parks Miller is not the only lawyer to have ex parte communications with judges, but her public position and recent notoriety have put her in the spotlight. She is prosecuting Penn State fraternity brothers for crimes related to the death of Timothy Piazza earlier this year.

The defendants hazed Piazza, 19, during a pledge night. He stumbled drunkenly to his eventual death, and none of his frat brothers sought medical help for him until the next morning.

In questions last month, Parks Miller drilled down on texts that one defendant sent his girlfirend while Piazza lay dying in a hospital. "I don't want to go to jail for this," he wrote.

Ironically, Parks Miller's texts to judges may be her undoing.

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