In Centre County, a legal dispute, that is nearly a decade old, over a legal document and a judge’s signature is still alive in the court system.
The case began with a document, dated July of 2013, that turned out to be a fake bail order involving a Centre County jail inmate, and an alleged murder for hire plot.
The signature on the document is from Centre County judge Pamela Ruest.
The bail order document was prepared by paralegal Michelle Shutt, in the office of then Centre County district attorney Stacy Parks-Miller.
Parks-Miller says Ruest signed the document but Shutt signed an affidavit stating she saw the former DA forge the judge’s signature.
That prompted a grand jury investigation which cleared Parks-Miller of any wrongdoing, saying no forgery was involved in the judge’s signature.
After that, Parks-Miller and Shutt traded lawsuits, which en
ded up in federal court, with various dismissal rulings.
But one portion of the dispute between them was sent back to Centre County court, and Shutt is still attempting to get Judge Ruest to answer questions about the bail order signature.
Last fall, in a hearing on the issue, there was a reference that Judge Ruest may have testified in a grand jury hearing about the signature, but what was said there wasn’t known.
Judge Ruest has fought testifying, claiming judicial immunity and protection, but the judge in last fall’s hearing ruled against Judge Ruest and ordered her to answer questions about the signature, stating that all that was being asked of her were factual questions.
Judge Ruest is appealing that order to the state superior court and, just last month, followed the appeal with a statement of errors, claiming the court decision against her is wrong on three issues.