• member of PA Senate in 2006



  • Investigation continues in boy's death with lawmaker's gun, July 25, 2006, by Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, GREENSBURG -- It could take weeks to determine how and why a Westmoreland County teen was killed with a pistol that belonged to his neighbor, state Sen. Bob Regola of Hempfield.

The Regola warrants: Secrets of the stateEdit

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just as the search warrants executed for the home of state Sen. Bob Regola, R-39, were about to be unsealed, the government snatched away the public's clear right to access.

Why? A judge found no reason whatsoever to keep the warrants sealed. Is the public's right to know so arbitrary? Or is there a separate legal standard when a state senator is involved?

The case involves the July 22 death of Louis Farrell, 14. He was killed with a gun owned by Mr. Regola, who lives next door in Westmoreland County's Hempfield Township. Details are few; authorities have not said whether the young man's death was an accident, a suicide or a homicide.

Warrants issued for an August search of Regola's home should have become public when they were served; that's the way it's usually done. But that didn't happen. Last month the Trib filed motions to unseal the warrants.

In a commonsense analysis, Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway found there would be no jeopardy to anyone if the warrants were unsealed. Moreover, "it is not enough for the commonwealth merely to generally assert that an investigation is ongoing and may be compromised ... ."

Nevertheless the judge ordered the warrants to remain sealed so Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck could appeal to Superior Court. And failing that, to the state Supreme Court.

It's a process that could indefinitely keep under wraps what by law is supposed to be public information. And as one court already has ruled, there's no reason for such state secrecy.

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