Garrity Rule

Garrity Rule

Please read the Garrity Non-Waiver Statement and follow the instructions provided therein. This is for your protection any time you are ordered to give a statement by the DOC, DPW or anyone acting on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For the Department of Corrections: Every time you fill out an Employee Report of Incident (DC 121), complete the Garrity Rule for DOC Written Reports and attach it to the DC 121. At the end of your report, include the notation “see attached”. Make a copy of both documents for your records and the union.

For the Department of Public Welfare: Every time you fill out an Incident Report (SI 815), complete the Garrity Rule for DPW Written Reports and attach it to the SI 815. At the end of your report, include the notation “see attached”. Make a copy of both documents for your records and the union.

If you have any questions, please contact your local union officials, Business Agent or PSCOA Headquarters.

Garrity Non-Waiver Statement | Garrity DOC Forms | Garrity DPW Forms


What is Garrity?
As suggested by its title, the Garrity case originated in the State of New Jersey. The appellants in that case were police officers in New Jersey boroughs. The Attorney General of the state investigated alleged irregularities in the handling of cases in the Municipal Courts brought in those boroughs.

  • Several police officers were questioned concerning the alleged fixing of traffic tickets and before being questioned each officer was told that anything he said might be used against him, that he had the privilege to refuse to answer if the disclosure would tend to incriminate him but that if he refused to answer he would be subject to removal from office. No immunity was granted and several officers answered questions.
  • Over their objections, some of the answers given were used in subsequent prosecutions for conspiracy to obstruct the administration of the traffic laws. The officers were convicted over their protest that their statements were coerced by reason of the fact that if they refused to answer they could lose their positions with the police department.

The “RULE”
The “Rule” is simple – any incriminating statements obtained from a public employee under threat of discipline or discharge cannot be used against him/her in subsequent criminal proceedings if the employee properly invokes his/her constitutional rights.

  • Garrity applies only to criminal proceedings. Thus, it does NOT prohibit the DOC from using those same incriminating statements against the employee in employment disciplinary proceedings.
  • The statements can also be used in civil matters, including a “civil rights” lawsuit against the DOC or the member.
  • If an employee is untruthful when giving a compelled statement, Garrity does not provide any additional protection to the employee for the consequences of lying in a departmental investigation.
  • Garrity does not prohibit the DOC from taking severe administrative action, including termination, against individuals who it believes lied during an administrative investigation.

Important Points to Remember

  • The Garrity Rule is not automatically triggered simply because questioning is taking place.
  • The member must announce that they want protections under Garrity.
  • If a written statement is being taken from a member, the member should insist that the Garrity Declaration attached to this handout actually be typed into the statement.