In person, Dauphin County Court staff are downright helpful

My phone feud with Dauphin County Court has ended.

Thursday, I bit the bullet and made the drive to Harrisburg in search of two judicial orders and a number of letters filed on behalf of former York state Rep. Stephen Stetler.

Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover said at Stetler’s sentencing he had reviewed those letters from Stetler supporters before fashioning a sentence.

To me, that meant the letters were public documents. The judge disagreed.

I sent him a letter and some case law arguing my side.

About a week later, the judge’s secretary called me.

She said the judge thanked me for the letter, that he agreed the case law was “right on point” and asked when I wanted copies of the letters.

Here I need to insert that I’ve been spoiled by the York County Clerk of Courts Office. If a York County judge signs an order in a criminal case, it typically is docketed within 24 hours or less.

When I picked up the letters from Judge Hoover’s office, I inquired about the two orders his staff said he had signed on Wednesday Oct. 10 pertaining to Stetler’s prison reporting date and his request to remain free on bail pending appeal.

The judge’s nice secretary searched her desk, the judge’s desk and the legal assistant’s desk. Unable to find them, she said they must be in the clerk of courts office.

On the phone, the staff in the clerk of courts office would only say the orders had not been docketed and I should try back later.

When I showed up in person, they dug through piles of documents to find the orders, made me copies and, surprisingly did not even charge me the usual 50 cents a page.

So, I came out of Dauphin County court a happy man. It was a sunny day. The ride was nice.

About Rick Lee

Rick Lee is a veteran courthouse reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Contact him at or call 495-1782.
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