Conflict Counsel

York County Office of Conflict Counsel

28 East Market Street
Basement
York, PA 17401
Phone: 717-771-9220
Fax: (717) 771-9223
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

The York County Office of Conflict Counsel is responsible for representing qualified adults and juveniles, charged with criminal offenses or facing a loss of liberty due to contempt proceedings, who cannot be represented by the York County Public Defender’s Office because of a conflict of Interest. Conflict Office attorneys provide dedicated, effective representation, and zealous advocacy in order to preserve due process and the rights guaranteed to all members of our community.

The Conflict Office is staffed by six licensed attorneys, or Conflict Counsel, who provide skilled representation to their clients through all stages of proceedings; from preliminary hearings through appeals. Conflict Counsel may also represent clients in certain summary trials, some contempt proceedings, violation proceedings and diversionary programs such as ARD or Wellness Court.

The Conflict Office does NOT accept direct applications for services. Cases are received through referrals from the Public Defender’s Office or by Order from Common Pleas Court. If you are charged with a crime you must first apply for representation through the York County Public Defender’s Office. The Public Defender’s Office will determine if you qualify for services. If you qualify for representation, the Public Defender’s Office will then review the case and determine if they have a conflict of interest. If the Public Defender’s Office determines they have a conflict of interest and cannot accept a case, they will refer the case to the Conflict Office.

After a case is referred to the Conflict Office an intake interview will be conducted. The interview will take place at one of two times: 1) prior to your next court date in the Conflict Office or at the York County Prison, or 2) at your next court proceeding. The timing of the interview is dependent on when you applied for Public Defender services and the date the case was referred to the Conflict Office in relation to your next court date. Conflict Counsel will be assigned to the case and you will be notified of your assigned attorney.

 

County of York Holiday Schedule

2020

New Year's Day Wednesday, Jan. 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Jan. 20
President's Day Monday, Feb. 17
Good Friday Friday, April 10
Memorial Day Monday, May 25
Independence Day Friday, July 3
Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7
Columbus Day Monday, Oct. 12
Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3
Veteran's Day Wednesday, Nov. 11
Thanksgiving Day Thursday, Nov. 26
Day after Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 27
Christmas Day Friday, Dec. 25

 

When a holiday falls on a Saturday, it will be observed on the preceding Friday, and when a holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on the following Monday. *

*Unless defined otherwise by bargaining unit agreement or operations of a department.

Public Defender

YORK COUNTY OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER

General Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bruce P. Blocher
Chief Public Defender

Clasina B. Houtman
First Assistant

45 North George Street, York, PA 17401
Phone : 717-771-9217 
Fax: 717-771-4759

Welcome to the York County Public Defender's Office. Our office is dedicated to providing competent and effective legal representation to indigent adults and minors in the County of York who are charged with criminal offenses and contempt proceedings in which they could face loss of liberty.

At present, the office is staffed by the Chief Public Defender, the First Assistant, two Chief Deputy Public Defenders and 19 Assistant Public Defenders.

Chief Public Defender Bruce P. Blocher has worked in the office since 1991, and has been Chief since 1996, when he was appointed by the York County Commissioners.   He has spent his time in the office tirelessly working to provide representation to indigent defendants.   Chief Public Defender Bruce Blocher received his undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University and his law degree from Oklahoma City University.

For information about who qualifies for representation by the Public Defender's Office and how and when you can apply, please see the links below.

 
York County Public Defender's Juvenile Unit
Bruce P. Blocher, Chief Raymond J. Ortwein- Senior Assistant
Clasina B. Houtman - First Assistant Traci L. McPate
Erin S. Thompson - Deputy Chief Kristin D. Bellan 
Ronald W. Jackson - Deputy Chief  
Alice Glasser, Senior Assistant  
Kathryn Bellfy  
Jennilee M. K. Dolan Appellate Unit
Lavinia Ghergulescu Anthony J. Tambourino
Catherine G. Himes Brian McNeil
Corey Korinda  
Dave MacVeigh  
Tara Matcuk  
Joshua Neiderhiser Treatment Court
Valerie Potell Angela L. Fox-Holtzapple
Matthew Sembach  
Hollianne Snyder  
Connor C. Tarr  
Eric White  

 

 

 

Law Library

The York County Law Library was established by an act of the General Assembly in 1867 for the use of the judges, lawyers, and citizens of York County and was to be operated and maintained by a special law library Committee composed of the President Judge of York County and several other members of the Bar.   In August of 2014, the Law Library Committee voted to disband the committee and completely reorganize the library, which was done by an Administrative Order.  The library closed for renovations, and reopened in September 2014 under the direction of the Administrative Office of York County Courts, which now provides the funding for the law library in its budget. 

At one time, the law library had in excess of 30,000 volumes located in the Library proper and in each judge’s chambers.  Due to diminishing use and interest, as well as increasingly high costs, the volumes in the library were significantly reduced and the library downsized physically.  Currently, several print publications are still housed in the library, in addition to public patron access to online legal research through WestlawNext and LexisAdvance.   The Library now has increased resources for legal research.    

The Library is located on the fourth floor of the Judicial Center in conjunction with the York County Court Self-Help Center.

The Library is open to the public from 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. daily, unless otherwise posted; circulation is limited to attorneys. 

Protection from Abuse Office

Welcome to the York County Protection From Abuse (PFA) Office.

Please find general information about the PFA Office as well as information about protection orders below. Protection Orders include a Protection From Abuse (PFA), Protection From Intimidation (PFI) and Sexual Violence Protection (SVP). See below for information about the office and also about protection orders.

Where is the PFA Office Located?

The PFA Office is located at the York County Judicial Center at 45 North George Street, York, PA 17401. It is the first stop for anyone hoping to file for a protection order in York County.

  • The PFA Office is located on the first floor to the left of the front entrance.
  • The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on days the Judicial Center is open.
  • The phone number is (717) 771-9662.

No food or drink may be brought into the Judicial Center. Also, you will not be able to bring your cell phone into the building.

What Types of Protection Orders Exist in PA and What Protection is Available?

Pennsylvania has three types of protection orders:

  • Protection From Abuse (PFA)
    • Victim must be family or have a household relationship with the defendant or have, or have had, an intimate or sexual relationship with the defendant.
    • Domestic violence includes physical violence or threats of physical violence.
    • Relief available includes ‘no contact,’ relinquishment of firearms, financial support, remove the defendant (in some instances) from the home and any other appropriate relief sought by the petitioner and granted by the judge.
  • Protection From Intimidation (PFI)
    • Victim must be a minor and the defendant must be an adult.
    • No family, dating or household relationship with the defendant.
    • No intimate or sexual relationship with the defendant.
    • Intimidation includes harassment and stalking offenses.
    • Relief available includes ‘no contact’ and any other appropriate relief sought by the petitioner and granted by the judge
  • Sexual Violence Protection (SVP)
    • No family or household relationship with the defendant.
    • No intimate or sexual relationship with the defendant.
    • Sexual violence includes sexual offenses including sexual abuse, exploitation and endangering the welfare of children.
    • Relief available includes ‘no contact’ and any other appropriate relief sought by the petitioner and granted by the judge.

Disclaimer: The information above is pulled from the Protection From Abuse Act and the Protection From Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act. It is not intended as a replacement for legal advice. Only an attorney can tell you if you are qualified to file a petition for a protection order.

What services are available at the PFA Office?

Advocates provide options counseling, safety planning and assistance for those people seeking a PFA, PFI or SVP. Assistance includes, but isn’t limited to, scribing to complete the required paperwork, providing support through the filing process and providing support at hearings. While assistance is provided, advocates do not provide legal advice. Services are available on a first come, first serve basis. If advocates deem a visitor to not qualify for their services, the visitor is sent to the Court Self Help Center to complete paperwork independently.

Domestic Violence Services in York County

The PFA Office is staffed by advocates from YWCA York Victim Services and YWCA Hanover Safe Home. Advocates are available each day the Judicial Center is open until 4 p.m.. For assistance before 8 a.m. or after 4 p.m. or for assistance on days the Judicial Center is not open, contact one of the agencies listed below at the provided hot-line number.

ACCESS - YORK: 1-800-262-8444
SAFE HOME - Hanover: (717) 632-0007

Do I need an attorney?

It is not required to have an attorney to file a PFA, PFI or SVP or if one has been filed against you. It is up to you to decide whether or not you need an attorney. If you decide you want an attorney and cannot afford one, you may be able to get a reduced price.

Attorney Connections 
137 East Market Street
York, PA 17401
(717) 854-8755
Mid Penn Legal Services
29 North Queen Street
York, PA 17403
(717) 848-3605

 Note: These agencies set their own standards regarding who they will represent. You are not guaranteed an attorney.

What is the Process to File for a PFA, PFI or SVP?

Filing for a Protection Order begins by either working with an advocate or working independently in the Self Help Center to complete an application packet. The packet includes information for the petition and also important information needed to serve the petition and any subsequent orders. Once the petition has been filed, a hearing is scheduled to address the allegations you made in the petition. Both you and the defendant will be expected to be at the hearing. You have the option of speaking with the Judge to request a temporary order until the date and time of the final hearing. This hearing is called an ex parte hearing meaning it is between you and the Judge and doesn’t include the other party.

How is the Defendant Notified of the Order and Hearing?

The defendant must be served with a copy of the petition, notice of hearing and any temporary order that was issued. The York County Sheriff’s Department makes every attempt to serve the documents within twenty-four (24) hours assuming the address provided is correct. The additional addresses and service information provided on the application packet is very important to serve the papers quickly and safely.

Am I Protected by my Protection Order Outside York County?

Protection Orders are enforceable in all fifty (50) states, the District of Columbia, Tribal Lands and all US Territories including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Protection Orders are registered immediately with the Pennsylvania State Police Protection From Abuse Registry. The information is then submitted to the federal crime registry. If you relocate, work or otherwise spend time outside York County you should:

  • File a certified copy of the order with the Civil Court clerk or Prothonotary of the county where you are staying either temporarily or permanently.
  • Hand deliver a certified copy to the police department that covers the area where you are located either temporarily or permanently.

If you work and live in different jurisdictions, consider delivering certified copies to all police departments.

What if the Order is Violated?

If the defendant violates an order, you should contact the police immediately to report the violation. A hearing may be scheduled so the Judge can determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence. A defendant who is found guilty of violating a protection order can be placed in jail for up to six (6) months and/or fined $1,000.00 for each violation. A defendant who travels to another state and intentionally violates the order may be subject to federal criminal proceedings. At a hearing to determine whether the defendant has violated the protection order, the victim may request the protection order be extended. A new protection order will be prepared and served on all parties if an extension is granted.

What if I Want to Change the Protection Order?

Protection Orders are entered for a term of six months to three years. Sometimes changes are necessary. To modify a protection order, you must file modification paperwork. The PFA Office may be able to provide support. If not, the paperwork is available in the Self Help Center.  Hearings are typically scheduled within thirty days but may be expedited based on the allegations in the petition. This is especially true when the modification requested is to make the protection order more restrictive.

Note: Even if you grant the defendant permission to contact you, the defendant is still subject to prosecution for violating the order until a no contact protection order is modified by a Judge.


How do I file for a PFA, PFI or SVP when the Judicial Center is closed?

When the Judicial Center is not open for business, you may apply for an emergency PFA, PFI or SVP. An emergency PFA, PFI and SVP is good until the end of the next business day which is 4:30 p.m. in York County. To begin the process, dial 911 and indicate that you need to file for an emergency PFA, PFI or SVP. In most cases you will be directed to go to the York County Judicial Center. The 911 operator will contact the Sheriff’s Office at the York County Judicial Center so they will know you are on your way.

  • A deputy mans the front door from 7 AM to 7 PM and will direct you to the Sheriff’s Office.
  • The doors are locked from 7 PM to 7 AM. Press the buzzer next to the front door to speak with Sheriff’s Office staff who will meet you at the front door and escort you to the office.

You will be required to fill out a short petition and will then have a hearing with the MDJ. The MDJ will most likely appear by video and will ask you questions about the petition you completed. You will be told immediately if you are granted and emergency protection order.


Note: While an emergency protection order is good until the end of the next business day, the PFA Office does not make appointments so it is in your best interest to arrive at the Judicial Center as soon as possible to have a hearing with a Common Pleas Judge before the emergency order expires.
No food, drinks, or cell phones are permitted in the Judicial Center.

 

 

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