Biographical Summary – Matthew D. Fogal
Born and raised in Chambersburg, PA, he graduated from Cumberland Valley Christian School, later graduated with honors from Shippensburg University, and then earned a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. While a law student at Dickinson, he was an intern in the Franklin County D.A.’s Office, and he then went on to perform duties as a law clerk for Judge John R. Walker upon graduation in 2000.
He began his prosecutorial career as a full-time Assistant District Attorney in the Adams County D.A.’s Office, where he handled a wide variety felony and misdemeanor cases, and prosecuted the office’s domestic violence cases while working closely with Victim Services as the STOP Violence Against Women prosecutor. He joined the Franklin County D.A.’s Office as a full-time Assistant District Attorney in 2002, and was eventually was appointed Chief Deputy District Attorney in 2006. During that time, he was also cross-appointed as a federal Special Assistant United States Attorney (and maintains that designation), with authority to prosecute certain county crimes in federal court in Harrisburg. He worked closely with the Franklin County Drug Task Force and helped manage numerous undercover drug enforcement operations. As a senior member of the D.A.’s office, he previously handled all manner of cases within the office, ranging from misdemeanors to major felonies and homicide, and gained extensive trial and courtroom experience. Through the years as an Assistant District Attorney, Matt successfully prosecuted a large number of criminal trials before Franklin County juries.
On October 22, 2009, he was appointed Franklin County District Attorney following the death of his former boss, John F. “Jack” Nelson. Matt has continued to aggressively prosecute cases to trial as District Attorney, and demands that his prosecutors likewise zealously seek justice against criminals and for victims. As District Attorney, he has been a vocal leader within the greater criminal justice system, advocating for greater focus on accountability for criminals, and more efficiency within criminal court. As an office administrator or executive for what is essentially one of the largest law firms in the County, he has structured the office and the staff responsibilities, and set policies to maintain fiscal responsibility, efficiency, and to make sure that justice is accounted for in each case. He has restructured the assignment of cases amongst Assistant District Attorneys to allow for “vertical prosecution” of a case by one prosecutor from the beginning to the end of the case. This structure not only allows for more efficiency, and more stability for victim and witness coordination with one point of contact, but it also results in more individual “ownership” and accountability for the ultimate case result. As DA, he has put an on-call schedule into place, so that police officers have the ability to reach a prosecutor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to provide required discovery to defense attorneys in the most efficient manner, he has implemented an electronic discovery process which also reduces the costs of copying and producing duplicates of case evidence. Matt shares an attitude of “One Team, One Fight” with local law enforcement, and fosters a team environment where all work together as partners in order to collectively seek justice. He funds and organizes various training events for local law enforcement, and has developed county-wide, uniform protocols regarding the processing of certain types of criminal investigations (domestic violence, stalking, etc.).
He enlisted as an infantryman in 1994, and later accepted a commission into the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 2002. Since September 11, 2001, he has been mobilized numerous times and deployed overseas on two occasions. His most recent tour in a combat zone was in Afghanistan, where he was the theater combatant command’s sole Legal Mentor to the Attorney General of Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, he assessed the provincial criminal justice system and helped develop the national Afghanistan Prosecutor’s Association, coordinating back home with the National District Attorney’s Association and Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, as well as the International Association of Prosecutors. Working with federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice and attorneys from the Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Kabul, he also assisted in the planning efforts to combat heroin trafficking in Afghanistan. He served in a year-long deployment in Kosovo as well, and was also mobilized to provide humanitarian relief to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Other full-time duty assignments include his work Letterkenny Army Depot as a Judge Advocate in 2007, and then as the Chief of Criminal Law for the 28th Infantry Division of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in Harrisburg, PA. Currently, he is a Major and assigned as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate at the Joint Forces Headquarters-PA, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, where he performs duty in a traditional “drilling” status.
His memberships and affiliations include the International Association of Prosecutors, the National District Attorney’s Association, the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, the Franklin County Bar Association, Lions Club International, the American Legion, Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (Life), the Pennsylvania National Guard Association of the United States, the Military Officer’s Association of America, the National Infantry Association, and the Penn State University Alumni Association (Life). He is also a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Matt is a member of the Franklin County Prison Board and the Franklin County Association of the Chiefs of Police, and is active within various committees of the Franklin County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), including the new “Victim Impact Committee,” which he advocated be added to CJAB in order to refocus the system’s effort to victims of crime. He is a member of the Bar Association’s “Bench-Bar Committee,” has been the keynote speaker at the Women in Need “Victim’s Vigil” and a panelist for Leadership Franklin County, and regularly visits all County schools to give presentations regarding juvenile justice, and social media.
He is admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
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