Prosecutors granted extension of time to file brief in convicted former state Rep. DeWeese's appeal

By Jon Campisi | Jan 18, 2013

The Pennsylvania Superior Court granted an application by state prosecutors seeking

additional time by which to file their brief in the appeal of convicted former State Rep. Bill DeWeese.

In a one-paragraph order filed Jan. 16, the appellate court gave the commonwealth until Feb. 19 by which to file its brief in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Howard William DeWeese.

On Jan. 11, prosecutors from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed a motion asking for a 30-day extension of time in which to file their brief in DeWeese’s appeal.

DeWeese, a former state lawmaker representing a legislative district in southwestern Pennsylvania, was sentenced to prison on public corruption charges.

Attorneys for DeWeese appealed their client’s conviction and sentence this past December.

The commonwealth’s brief in the appeal was originally due by Jan. 21, but in a court filing prosecutors asked for additional time because of logistical issues.

The commonwealth’s attorney working on the case was on a three-week vacation and had other matters that took up her attention.

“Because of this absence and other litigation-related obligations in the time period following her return, including the completion of depositions and other factual discovery by February 2, 2013 in a federal class action suit challenging the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s lethal injection procedures in which she is lead counsel for the Commonwealth parties, counsel requires additional time in which to prepare and submit appellee’s brief in this matter,” read the Jan. 11 filing, which was signed by Amy Zapp, the chief deputy attorney general in the Criminal Law Division of the Attorney General’s Office’s Special Litigation Section.

DeWeese, who is in his early 60s, previously represented the 50th State House District in Greene County.

He was convicted in early 2012 on five felony counts relating to using state resources for political purposes, the Pennsylvania Record previously reported.

Despite the conviction, DeWeese actually succeeded in winning re-nomination to his district during the April 2012 primary election.

Democratic Party officials fought the re-nomination, asking the Commonwealth Court to replace DeWeese on the ballot because he would be unable to serve out a new term due to a felony conviction.

Felons are forbidden from holding public office in Pennsylvania.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard J. McGinley ultimately agreed with the party, ruling that DeWeese could not appear on the ballot during November’s general election.

DeWeese is currently serving out his two-and-one-half-to-five-year prison sentence at a state correctional facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

DeWeese received his prison sentence from Dauphin County Common Pleas Court Judge Todd A. Hoover on April 24, 2012, the very same day of the primary election.

DeWeese once served as the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

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