Frank Martocci (right) / Beaver Countian file photo by John Paul

Beaver County’s Common Pleas Judges have voted to appoint former District Attorney candidate Frank Martocci into the position of Conflicts Counsel to represent indigent defendants who can not be represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

District Court Administrator Bill Hare notified the Board of Commissioners of the decision by the county’s judges in a memo dated December 15th.

“The Court solicited local attorneys with criminal defense experience to apply for this open conflicts counsel position. Five local attorneys submitted resumes to the Court. Our six Criminal Court Judges, who have witnessed the courtroom work of each of these attorneys, reviewed their resumes and independently rated each candidate,” wrote Hare. “Attorney Frank Martocci came out on top.”

Martocci ran unsuccessfully for District Attorney in the 2015 county elections.

Conflicts counsel were once employees of the court but the attorneys began serving as independent contractors of the county last year to comply with a mandate by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. While the Board of Commissioners must ratify the attorneys’ contracts, the county’s judges have determined they still maintain authority to make the hiring decisions.

Commissioner Dan Camp told the Beaver Countian he was unaware that the county’s judges were making a decision on the hiring of conflicts counsel, saying he was going to research whether the Board had the power to overrule them. The Beaver Countian subsequently learned Camp’s statement was not true — he had in fact already discussed the matter with court officials and stated no objection to the hire. Camp has a history of being untruthful to fellow elected officials and the press, often making it difficult for the Beaver Countian to accurately convey to the public the Commissioner’s actual intentions.

While a majority of the county’s judges have now demonstrated their confidence in Frank Martocci, Common Pleas Judge James Ross had just last year raised concerns about Martocci’s ethics in an Opinion dismissing criminal charges against another local attorney.

Judge Ross’ January 2016 opinion came after former Public Defender’s Office Paralegal Dionna Steele testified under oath that then-Assistant District Attorney Frank Martocci had been using her as an intermediary with a criminal defendant as part of an alleged attempt to set up the woman’s defense attorney.

“It is important to note that Martocci is an employee of the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office, and this Court finds it hard to understand how he believed he could direct an employee of another office, which is constantly on the opposing side to the District Attorney’s Office,” wrote Judge Ross in his ruling. “This creates an extremely difficult and unethical problem in that a paralegal in the Public Defender’s Office, acting in her official capacity, was, according to Steele’s testimony, acting at the direction of the District Attorney’s Office, which was the office prosecuting the cases.”

Frank Martocci told the press at the time he had nothing to do with the alleged plot, although he was never called to testify under oath in court about the matter.

District Attorney David Lozier fired Frank Martocci as an employee of the District Attorney’s Office when he took office in January of last year.

Democratic politicos tell the Beaver Countian that Martocci has recently been expressing interest in running for Ambridge Magisterial District Judge to fill a seat vacated by Andrew Hladio, who resigned last month after several women in his office alleged he made repeated unwanted advances towards them.

Memo By Court Administrator Bill Hare To County Commissioners:

With the election of Mitchell Shahen to our Court, there is a vacancy for one conflict counsel position to provide legal services for indigent criminal defendants where the Beaver County Public Defender’s Office has a conflict of interest.

Historically, conflict attorneys were appointed by court order to specific cases at an hourly rate. As a cost savings measure, a number of years ago the Court hired a number of experiened criminal defense attorneys as court employees at a fixed salary paid from the Court’s budget.

Last year the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) notified all Pennsylvania Courts that conflicts attorneys could no longer remain court employees. Thus, we implemented Court Appointed Independent Contractor Retention Agreements for each of our conflicts attorneys.

Pursuant to Paragraph 1 of those agreements which were adopted by the County by resolution on December 28, 2016, the County agreed that the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County reserved the right to make the appointments to each conflicts attorney position.

The Court solicited local attorneys with criminal defense experience to apply for this open conflicts counsel position. Five local attorneys submitted resumes to the Court. Our six Criminal Court Judged, who have witnessed the courtroom work of each of these attorneys, reviewed their resumes and independently rated each candidate.

Attorney Frank Martocci came out on top. I have spoken to Mr. Martocci and he has agreed to accept the Independent Contractor Agreement for Conflicts Counsel.

I will ask the Law Department to prepare the standard contract applicable to all other conflicts counsel so that Mr. Martocci can be ready to handle his duties effective January 2, 2018.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.


  1. Not surprised in Beaver County. Also, is Camp so stupid that he believes he’ll not get caught in his lies? What is with this guy?

    • Not surprised either. If he did get caught, what would happen? I would assume “NOTHING”!
      VOTE HIM OUT next election!!

  2. So, Frank “The Snake” lives again after having his head cut off, Danielo Campisi fudges facts to employ a friend, Bill Hare gives him a mother’s note from home after an absence, six Criminal Court Judges pool their collective wisdom, Judge Ross separates fact from fiction to no avail, and history is about to be rewritten. I think I’ll write the book, before anyone copyrights the content.

    • Yep, John Q., it’s getting too easy, isn’t it? Pretty soon, the whole modern day Cosa Nostra will be household names.

  3. After that stunt Martocci pulled to undermine and set up Benyo’s run for office, he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near any courthouse. He’s one of many deceptive schemers there.

  4. Why don’t they just hire everybody with no title? Keep them on the payroll no matter what they are doing. Then, they don’t have to go through the façade of justifying their new position and have everyone question why and how they are doing this new job. hahaha

  5. WHO were the six criminal judges and five local attorneys that collectively led to putting the Snake on top? That could be the real problem. I would NOT include Judge James Ross in that group, though. He’s the only one with morals, a conscience and brains. And, if I were one of those attorneys, I would be really upset. How embarrassing.

    • The whole stinking system is rigged. Has been for 100 years. The citizens of this county has been kept in the dark like mushrooms and nobody ever asked questions. At least now we have a investigative reporter and his publication that’s not intimidated by them and not afraid to stick a probe up their ass to find out what the hell is going on.
      Just tell the truth Dan Camp. Just tell the truth.

  6. Even if it would come to a vote by the Commissioners, you know how the vote is going to go. 2 to 1, as always. The only way this doesn’t happen is if the Supreme Court steps in. And they won’t.

  7. He should not be representing maggots let alone human beings. Enslave the poor and the indigent even more. After all when they need some dirty work done with deniability the section 8 housing slaves are the people to go to in Beaver County.

  8. One really never leaves the county payroll. Many of the retirees were rehired, now we have this questionable individual back on the payroll. As long as one has a “name” in Beaver County any and all doors are always opened.

  9. John Paul – I’d like to hear a bit more about the way these contracts are structured. Most defense attorneys in Beaver County charge a flat rate based on what the defendent is being charged with..this allows them to not have to deal with retainers nor keep an accurate time log against the clients’ account. How much is the county paying these attorneys per hour and is this a uniform amount for all of the independent contractors? If the average cost for private counsel to represent a defendent for a DUI is $5000, how does the current contract compare when paying these independent contractors on a straight hourly basis?

    How are expenses dealt with? Typically attorneys who are retained on an “hourly basis” are also paid seperately for their expenses (things like filing fees, copying, postage, court reporter fees for depositions, etc.). Are Frank’s expenses being paid in addition to his hourly remuneration and if so is this on an actual cost basis or on a scheduled rate basis? How are the hours reported? Is it the honor system where Frank submits a list of hours on the back of a napkin or is there a time tracking system used by the court which details precise times that are spent working on a client account (to prevent billing the county for time spent over three martini lunches somewhere or spending the day at a casino with a certain courthouse employee)?

    Finally, how does the hourly rate today compare to the hourly rate that was paid when the court would appoint a defense attorney via a court order to represent a defendent? Hiring these attorneys was supposed to be a cost saving measure; did it actually save money or are we now paying even more than before for the services of a conflicts counsel?

  10. “The Beaver Countian subsequently learned Camp’s statement was not true…” John Paul should spare himself some keystrokes and save this phrase off somewhere for easy copying and pasting for the next two years.

  11. That’s bull shit! My bil does this in another state, and they are hired by the county. The state says judges can’t hire, so they can’t hire. They can “recommend,” but their recommendations are just advice. They know this. Unfortunately, the commissioners have no will to stand up to the judges. All they have to do is deny the recommendation until an acceptable candidate is proposed.

    • One thing to remember, Pennsylvania is not a State, it’s a Commonwealth. Laws are different. In this case this is a local issue which falls on the county not the Commonwealth. The same reason we have so many school districts, po-dunk police departments and each po-dunk town has their own say in how it runs.

  12. This fucking Camp really tries to play all angles wtf. How many times he going to get caught by this publication.

    Confirmed elected on a dwindling legacy of other Camps, and he’s burying the legacy at hybrid speed.

  13. “Camp has a history of being untruthful to fellow elected officials and the press, often making it difficult for the Beaver Countian to accurately convey to the public the Commissioner’s actual intentions.”

    You sneaky little motherfucker, Camp! The only problem with this strategy is your too fucking stupid to pull it off! I hope everyone on here spreads these words of wisdom about your “leadership style” and you NEVER hold public office again in your life!

  14. I do not understand how someone who was fired from the DA’s office can serve in this role. Camp, an alleged Republican, is now going to be the vote to approve this 60K plus contract for a Democrat attorney to get yet another high paying courthouse position. This will bankroll his next shot at DA and/or the open magistrate slot in Ambridge. Bet Lozier will not be happy with Camp about this latest blunder. No one should be given FM’s track record.

    • I agree. But, I also think that Stonewall absolutely deserves to now be in a position where his dept will be on opposite sides of legal arguments on a regular basis and this has to make Stonewall very uncomfortable….and there won’t be a damn thing he can do about it. Couldn’t happen to a more ineffective person.

      Now, is anybody placing bets on how long it takes to try and set Stonewall up? After all, tigers don’t change their stripes and some are so dependent on a government paycheck that they’ll stoop to levels that make the common person say WTF.



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