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Washington County Right To Know Officer: Cindy Griffin, Chief Clerk County of Washington 702 Courthouse Square 100 West Beau Street Washington, PA 15301 Fax: 724-228-6965 or click here: http://www.co.washington.pa.us/Open_Records Office Hours are Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Death Certificates are filed with the Department of Health's Division of Vital Statistics. Please contact the funeral director who assisted with your arrangements.
Alternately you can contact Vital Statistics: http://www.health.pa.gov/MyRecords/Certificates/Pages/11596.aspx or by telephone: 724-656-3100 or toll-free 844-228-3516
Pennsylvania law requires the Coroner investigate deaths of persons dying from criminal violence; by accident, by suicide, suddenly when unattended by a physician for a reasonable period of time, or in any suspicious or unusual manner.
Another reason the Coroner may be involved is that the identity of the deceased or next-of-kin is unknown, or the individual is unclaimed by family.
An autopsy is a systematic examination of the body of a deceased person by a qualified physician for the purpose of determining the cause of death. A record is made on the findings of the autopsy, including microscopic and toxicology laboratory tests. These laboratory tests are conducted before the release of the body to the next-of-kin and for burial.
There's no charge to the next-of-kin for an autopsy when a case is determined to fall under the Coroner's jurisdiction, nor for any other test that may be conducted by the Coroner (unless specific testing, such as genetic test not deemed to be consequential to cause of death, is requested by the family).
Not all deaths, and not all persons brought to the Coroner's office will be autopsied.
An exam is typically not performed where abuse, neglect or foul play is not suspected and evidence of a natural death is present.
In other cases where the possibility of legal proceedings may arise as a result of a homicide, accident, suicide, etc., an autopsy may be performed. In these cases, both positive and negative information ordinarily is found, which substantiates the ruling and the cause of death as signed by the Coroner.
The Coroner does not need permission for an autopsy. The Office of the Coroner will attempt to comply with the wishes of the next-of-kin, provided this does not conflict with the duties of the Coroner as charged by Pennsylvania law.
Whole body donations are fairly common and done for a variety of purposes. Some people may do them for scientific purposes. Others choose them because they are a less costly alternative to a common funeral with a burial, thus leaving less of a burden for their loved ones.
Usually, the person donating their body must give their own consent and therefore must be alive, of sound mind, and able to sign a donation agreement. In some cases, a next of kin can arrange a donation for a loved one. That decision is up to the donation bureau or agency. Please contact them with questions.
In all cases, these donations are not handled by the coroner. Research "whole body donation" for more information. For your convenience, two agencies are listed alphabetically below:
Anatomy Gifts Registry - Maryland: (800) 300-5433 | www.anatomygifts.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
Humanity Gifts Registry - Pennsylvania: (215) 922-4440 | www.hgrpa.org | email@example.com
This depends on the circumstance. In some cases, a signed death certificate accompanies the body when it is released by the Coroner.
When there is insufficient information available to complete the death certificate, a “pending” death certificate is issued. This death certificate enables the funeral services and burial to take place while the investigation continues, or for additional chemical, microscopic, slide preparation and examination.
At the culmination of these tests and investigation, the ruling is made based on all available information. An amended death certificate is then issued with the final cause of death and the ruling, which supersedes the “pending” death certificate.
The autopsy report, on average, takes about six to eight weeks from the date of death. If microscopic and chemical tests are performed, this time period can lengthen.
The Coroner, along with the pathologist, work very hard to determine and complete the cause of death in a timely manner.
There are some circumstances that arise where more time is needed to determine the cause and manner of death.
Usually, the clothing of the deceased is released to the funeral director for disposal or use as the family requests.
In cases of homicide, suicides, or vehicular deaths, the clothing may be held by the Coroner or the investigating law enforcement agency for use as evidence.
Please understand that in some cases, clothing may be deemed biohazardous or contaminated and cannot be returned.
Most often, the next-of-kin discusses the selection of the funeral director with the other family members, clergy or friends.
The Office of the Coroner is prohibited from recommending a funeral director.
A listing of funeral directors is available in the telephone book, as well as other sources.
The Coroner releases the body to licensed funeral director.
The next-of-kin of the deceased person should notify a funeral director who in turn will arrange transportation for the deceased to the funeral home.
The release for cremation (or disposition authorization) is required by Pennsylvania code for all persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea, or otherwise disposed of so as to be thereafter unavailable for examination.
The great majority of these deaths are certified by the attending physicians and would not otherwise fall under the jurisdiction of the coroner. Because an investigation must be conducted, the additional workload justifies a specific fee to be paid only by the users of the specific service rather than the taxpayers in general.
Approximately 1,000 cremations are authorized each year in this county.
When a case falls under the jurisdiction of the Coroner, there is no charge for an autopsy and the related testing.
Families are still responsible for the cost of a funeral or cremation.
After a death, there may be a need to either clean or dispose of contaminated clothing, furniture, carpeting, or other personal belongings.
The Coroner’s Office does not provide these services. We will provide you with phone numbers for such a service upon your request.
In most cases, the Coroner will not release any information about an investigation until the family of the deceased is notified.
When an investigation is ongoing, in conjunction with law enforcement, we may restrict the detail of any information that is released.
Any information that may jeopardize the outcome of an investigation will not be released until the investigation has concluded.
No, in the majority of the cases visual identification is not required.
Should it become necessary for you to come in or bring other records or x-rays, you will be contacted. A photograph of the decedent will be viewed by the next-of-kin for positive identification when necessary.
The Coroner’s Office makes every effort to contact next-of-kin as quickly as possible. Speedy notification is not always possible due to a variety of factors, such as if the victim had no identification.
To prevent a false notification, the Coroner’s Office wants to be absolutely sure of the identify of the victim before notification.
Please remember that although the victim may have been separated from his/her spouse, without a legally recognized separation or divorce decree, the spouse is still the legal next-of-kin and is usually the one who will be notified. Sometimes this may present a difficulty to other family members who believe they should be the ones notified.
Locating next-of-kin, especially if out of state or country, make take some time. The Coroner and/or a deputy along with a uniformed police officer usually makes death notification for the Washington County Coroner’s Office.
No, in spite of much research, an exact time of death cannot be determined. An estimate can be made based on a number of physical factors, but because there are so many factors involved, the exact time of an unattended death cannot be determined.
The generally accepted practice is a range between the time last seen and time found.
Insurance companies should place requests on company letterhead and include a statement of authorization or a signed release. Requests from attorneys must be accompanied by a subpoena. Faxed subpoenas will not be accepted.
The charges, per Act 154 of 2018, are:
Autopsy Report: $500.00
Toxicology Report: $ 100.00
Coroner's Report: $ 100.00
As the next-of-kin, you are entitled to obtain a copy of each at no cost. You must put your request in writing and mail it to the Coroner's Office:
100 West Beau Street
Washington, PA 15301
B. Always use the inmate's committed name and Pod housed in if known. Address the envelope as follows: Inmate's last name, first name-Pod Washington County Correctional Facility 100 West Cherry Ave. Washington, Pa. 15301 Example: Smith, John - 4-West Washington County Correctional Facility 100 West Cherry Ave. Washington, Pa. 15301
C. All routine mail sent to an inmate is opened, examined, and may be read by designated staff.
D. Inmates will be permitted to receive only the following types of materials through routine mail: 1. Written correspondence (no limit as to number of pages). Correspondence may be written on greeting cards, but cards containing electronic or other non-paper parts, cards which are constructed in such a way as to permit concealment of contraband, or which are larger than 8"x10" will not be permitted. Each page can be no larger than 8 1/2 x 14 inches in size; material can be on both sides of a page. Individual newspaper or magazine articles or clippings or clippings from other publications are permissible, up to a 5 page limit. No item can be glued, taped, stapled, or otherwise affixed to a page.
E. The following items are not permissible in or as an attachment to mail addressed to an inmate: 1. Non-paper items; 2. Items of a non-communicative nature such as lottery tickets or matchbooks; 3. Stickers or stamps (other than postage stamps, postal service attachments, and address labels affixed to the outside of the envelope); 4. Address labels (other than those affixed to the outside of the envelope); 5. Laminated cards or other laminated materials. 6. Nude photographs or photographs that reveal genitalia, buttocks, or the female breast will not be permitted. 7. Polaroid photographs will not be permitted.
F. Incoming mail shall be disapproved for mailing or delivery to an inmate if any part of it: 1. Depicts or describes procedures for the construction of or use of weapons, ammunitions, bombs, chemical agents, or incendiary devices; 2. Depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities or contains blueprints, drawings or similar descriptions of department of corrections, facilities or institutions, or includes road maps that can facilitate escape from correctional facilities; 3. Depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture of drugs or other intoxicants; 4. Is written in code; 5. Depicts, describes, or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption; 6. Encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity; 7. Is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, disruption of the institution, violation of Facility rules, the violation of which would present a serious threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the institution or the safety of any person; 8. Threatens physical harm, blackmail or extortion; 9. Pictorially depicts sexual conduct such as actual or simulated sexual intercourse; sexual bestiality; masturbation; sadomasochistic abuse; actual contact with a person's unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person is a female, breast; any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed. 10. Presents nudity or a lewd exhibition of the genitals in such a way as to create the appearance that sexual conduct is imminent, i.e., display of contact or intended contact with genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breasts orally, digitally or by foreign object, or display of sexual organs in an aroused state. 11. Contains criminal history, offender registration, or other personal information about another inmate or offender, which in the hands of an inmate, presents a threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or to the safety of any person; 12. Contains or appears to contain unknown or unidentifiable substances; or 13. Otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system, or to the safety of any person.
G. When an inmate is transferred or released, mail addressed to the inmate at his old institution shall be treated as follows: 1. After the transfer or release, all first-class and second-class mail will be returned to the U.S. Postal Service for its disposition.
H. Inmates may not send mail to any person who has advised the warden that he does not wish to receive mail from the inmate. 1. The parents or legal guardians of a person under the age of 18 may advise that mail is not to be sent to such person. 2. Upon receipt of such advisement, the warden will cause to be prepared an acknowledgment specifying that the inmate will not be permitted to send mail to the person requesting the correspondence restriction and that such person should return any further mail received from the inmate and notify the warden of the attempt to correspond. 3. After the inmate is notified of the correspondence restriction, any further attempt to correspond will be considered a violation of rules and issued a misconduct.
No. All attorneys are governed by a code of ethics which prevents them from speaking directly to any defendant who is represented by an attorney. As long as you are represented by an attorney, we may speak only to your attorney
Cindy Griffin, Chief Clerk County of Washington 100 West Beau Street Suite 702 Washington, PA 15301 Web Link: www.co.washington.pa.us/Open_Records
Email: 509Courtadmin@co.washington.pa.us Rule of Judicial Administration 509 - Public Acc
The Planning Commission conducts and prepares numerous studies regarding environmental, economic, and general issues that impact county development and natural resources of the county. The commission also coordinates the development and preparation of various public affairs, information, and educational programs concerning county government. The Bridge Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, and flood control projects all fall under the Planning Commission's jurisdiction. Washington County Planning Commission Home Page
The last countywide re-assessment became effective in 2017.
An assessment is a fractional portion of the fair market value of your property. In Pennsylvania, the County may choose an assessment from 1% up to 100% of market value. Washington County's ratio is 100% of market value.
The current Washington County millage is 2.43 (.00243). Example: Assessed value = 10,000 x .00243 = $24.30 at face.
Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessed value. The following are typical items that WILL increase the assessed value of your property. Additions Garages Barns or sheds In-ground pools Extensive remodeling Good maintenance will help retain the market value of your property. Generally your assessed value will not increase for minor repairs. The following list is some of the repairs that will NOT increase your assessment. Driveway paving or repairing Replacing gutters and downspouts Replacing a roof Interior remodeling Exterior painting Landscaping Concrete walks
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