Former Tullytown Borough councilman George Fox has lost his job as a clerk with the Bucks County Prothonotary department after an investigation by the district attorney found he issued two unauthorised subpoenas.
While Fox will not be facing any criminal charges, District Attorney David Heckler wrote in a letter to Prothonotary Patricia L. Bachtle that labeled the clerk’s actions as “misconduct” and an “abuse” of the subpoena system.
Fox overstepped his legitimate authority when he purchased a subpoena, stamped it with the county seal and delivered it to Farm and Home Oil on Levittown Parkway in Tullytown as part of an effort to compel them to show him security camera footage from their property, Hecker said.
“The purpose for which Mr. Fox wished to obtain these video surveillance images was to support the issuance of a private criminal complaint in connection with the removal of a plastic sign which he had installed within in the PennDOT right of way in the vicinity of the Farm and Home premises,” Hecker wrote.
Fox is involved with a website that talks about borough government and had signed posted along Levittown Parkway. Until recently, the signs remained along the roadway.
According to Hecker, Fox also admitted making a second invalid subpoena for his girlfriend. The subpoena was made in order to get a police report from Falls Township police. The district attorney was not clear how that police reported played into any court actions.
“He should have known better. He was wrong because he exceeded his authority, but I could not find an egregious violation in his conduct,” Heckler said. He added that he was surprised to find no section of the crimes code which Fox had violated.
Lawyers and other “officers of the court” can purchase blank civil subpoenas from the Prothonotary Office. Hecker said valid cases are marked with a caption on the subpoena. The caption matches up with a court action.
The district attorney summed up his letter by writing that Fox betrayed trust of county officials.