AG Beemer: James Barker named Pennsylvania’s Chief Deputy Attorney General

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HARRISBURG, PA — Attorney General Bruce R. Beemer today announced the return of James P. Barker to the Office of Attorney General.

Barker has been named the Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Appeals and Legal Services Section within the office’s Criminal Law Division. He held the same position for more than three years during an earlier five-year stint with the OAG.

“We are extremely pleased to restore a valued employee to a position in which he has ably served in the past,” Attorney General Beemer said. “Jim is a man of principle and a gifted attorney who provided guidance to many of his colleagues. We are confident he will continue to be an asset as he returns to the OAG.”

Barker is scheduled to return to the OAG on Nov. 2. His return follows a settlement that was entered to resolve a lawsuit Barker filed last year in federal court. Barker thanked his attorneys, James J. Kutz and Jason G. Benion of Post & Schell, PC for their representation in the case.

“I look forward to returning to the office and putting my knowledge and experience to work for the people of the Commonwealth again,” Barker said. “I am happy that the matter has been resolved, and I appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Beemer and the members of the OAG who worked to reach this agreement.”

As part of the settlement, Barker’s annual gross salary will be $113,617. He will also receive a payment of $18,000, minus required withholdings and deductions, for compensation for lost wages, and a payment of $52,000 for non-wage losses. An additional payment of $90,000 will be made to Post and Schell, PC.

Barker since May 2015 has worked in the Office of Disciplinary Counsel of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In this role, he has investigated and prosecuted complaints of misconduct by attorneys practicing in the Commonwealth.

Barker in 2009 started work for the Office of Attorney General. He first worked as a Deputy Attorney General in the Appeals and Legal Services Section. In 2011, he was promoted to Chief Deputy Attorney General of the ALSS, supervising the section’s role of representing the Commonwealth in appeals and other post-sentence matters, supervising grand juries, litigating capital cases and providing advice and support to trial prosecutors in the OAG.

Prior to joining the Office of Attorney General, Barker served for more than eight years as a Deputy District Attorney in Dauphin County, where he prosecuted cases and handled appeals and federal habeas corpus matters.

During his career, Barker has handled high-profile matters, including defending the constitutionality of a newly enacted DUI statute and litigating the appeal of the conviction of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. In a case involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Barker successfully argued to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that the Commonwealth Attorneys Act permits the Attorney General to access the written records of all agencies in the Executive Branch of state government.

A native of Ridley Township, Delaware County, Barker is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where he majored in psychology and participated in varsity soccer. He earned his law degree from the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg.

Following his graduation from law school, Barker worked as a law clerk for the Court of Common Pleas of Elk and Cameron counties and then for Honorable James F. McClure Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Barker has lectured on various criminal law topics to college students, other lawyers and judges of the Court of Common Pleas.

Source: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office