John Burkoff on the Ethics of Corruption Investigations

Professor John Burkoff was quoted by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review in connection with an allegation that Allegheny County prosecutors are improperly sharing information regarding an investigation of state Sen. Jane Orie with the state Ethics Commission.

Some experts don’t see a problem with collaboration between the commission and Zappala’s office.

“It’s not something where you would normally think of a privacy or confidentiality concern. This is not an attorney-client type relationship,” said John Burkoff, a University of Pittsburgh law professor.

For instance, Burkoff said it’s common for members of an attorney disciplinary board to exchange information with a district attorney conducting a criminal investigation.

“Oftentimes the DA’s office will contact other agencies to use their resources in any kind of investigation, and then there’s back and forth,” said Tom Farrell, a criminal defense attorney and former assistant district attorney who is not involved in the Orie case.

“In a general sense, I don’t see a problem with it. It happens a lot,” he said.

Link to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review >

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