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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-853



Amended Criminal Rules of Procedure; M 01-238

[31 Pa.B. 2568]


   And Now, this 3rd day of May, 2001, at 1:30 p.m., Schuylkill County Criminal Rules of Procedure for the Court of Common Pleas and District Justice Courts are amended and/or adopted for use in the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Twenty-First Judicial District, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, effective thirty days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   The Clerk of Courts of Schuylkill County is Ordered and Directed to do the following:

   1)  File seven (7) certified copies of this Order and rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   2)  File two (2) certified copies of the Order and Rules with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin together with a diskette reflecting the text in the hard copy version.

   3)  File one (1) certified copy of this Order and Rules with the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules.

   4)  Forward one (1) copy to the Law Library of Schuylkill County for publication in the Schuylkill Legal Record.

   5)  Keep continuously available for public inspection copies of this Order and Rule.

   It is further Ordered that said rules as they existed prior to the amendment is hereby repealed and annulled on the effective date of said rule as amended, but no right acquired thereunder shall be disturbed.

President Judge

Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 102.  Citation of Rules.

   (a)  These rules shall be known as Schuylkill Rules of Criminal Procedure. They may be cited as ''Sch.R.Crim.P. No. ____ .''

Rule 106.  Continuances.

   (a)  Motion by Defendant

   Motions for Continuance by the defendant shall be in writing, upon forms approved by the Court, executed by the defendant and his attorney. At least twenty-four (24) hours advance notice of the presentation of said motions shall be given to the District Attorney. The motion shall be filed with the Clerk of Courts and contemporaneously a copy shall be served on the District Attorney by the defendant. The defendant will be obliged to appear in Court, with counsel, to waive the time requirements under Rule 600. The Clerk of Courts shall forward all motions for continuance to the Court Administrator, who shall list the motion for hearing on the date when continuance requests shall be heard in accordance with the published Court Calendar.

Rule 120.  Duties of Counsel.

   Every counsel of record in a criminal case shall be timely present for each hearing, conference or other court proceeding involving his or her client as scheduled pursuant to the provision of these rules, or as the Court may otherwise direct. It shall further be the duty of counsel to promptly notify the client of the date, time, place and duty to be present at each proceeding involving the client's case until such time as the case has been disposed of by verdict, plea or Order of Court. Counsel who fail to comply with this rule may be held in Contempt of Court.

   Unless otherwise relieved by Order of Court, counsel of record in a criminal proceeding shall be responsible for representing the defendant until disposition of post sentence procedures pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 704 and 720. Thereafter, counsel shall notify his or her client in writing that his or her representation of the client has been concluded and that the client will have to make arrangements to continue representation for any appeal or seek other counsel. The obligation of counsel shall cease upon the mailing of said notice. In the event an appeal is taken from the judgment of sentence by counsel of record, record counsel shall remain as counsel for the defendant through the appellate process.

Rule 310.  Motion for A.R.D. Disposition.

   (a)  In all cases in which a defendant charged with violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3731 (Driving Under the Influence) seeks a special handling by way of A.R.D., the District Attorney shall arrange with (1) the Drug and Alcohol Clinic at the Good Samaritan Hospital for examination and evaluation, and (2) the Adult Probation Department for an investigation of prior criminal history.

   Reports prepared by the Drug and Alcohol Clinic and the Adult Probation Department shall be delivered to the District Attorney and shall be subject to inspection by the District Attorney and defense counsel. Such reports shall become part of the defendant's probation department file. All such reports shall be submitted along with the necessary A.R.D. forms to the Criminal Court Administrator on the cutoff date for submission of paperwork for negotiated pleas as established by the published Court Calendar.

   (b)  The A.R.D. motions for defendants who have been recommended by the District Attorney for the Fast Track A.R.D. Program shall be heard on the dates published for Fast Track A.R.D. in the Court Calendar.

Rule 319.  Procedure for Obtaining Order Upon Successful Completion of A.R.D. Program.

   (a)  Whenever a defendant is placed under the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program and he shall have satisfactorily completed the program provided for him and complied with its conditions, the Probation Office of Schuylkill County, upon filing of an affidavit by the defendant, shall file a report with the Court Administrator and a copy with the District Attorney, the latter of whom shall within thirty (30) days if he has objection to the dismissal of the charges, file such objection with the Clerk of Courts, serving a copy thereof on the defendant and his attorney. If such objections are filed, the Court shall proceed to hear the case under Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 318.

   If no objections are filed within the thirty (30) day period, the Clerk of Courts shall endorse upon the report of the Probation Office as follows: ''No objection having been filed within thirty (30) days by the District Attorney, the charges contained in the information filed against the defendant, as a result of which he was placed under the A.R.D. Program on ______ , are hereby dismissed.'' The Clerk shall present said report with its endorsement to the sentencing Judge for signature.

   (b)  The Clerk of Courts shall furnish the Probation Department with a list of the cases under A.R.D. where the probationary period has heretofore expired and where petitions to dismiss have not been filed. The Probation Office shall review its files and make the required reports as set forth under subsection (a) of this Rule, so that appropriate cases may be dismissed.

Rule 528.  Types of Bail: Percentage Cash Bail.

   (a)  In the event the District Justice accepts a sum of U.S. Currency equal to ten percent (10%) of the full amount of the monetary condition, the sum of money furnished shall be receipted for, deposited, accounted for, forfeited or returned in accordance with Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 535.

   (b)  After the final disposition of the case, and provided there has been no forfeiture, the money constituting percentage cash bail shall be returned to the defendant, less a retention fee for administering the percentage cash bail program of ten percent (10%) of the money entered as bail, and in no event shall the retention fee be less than Ten Dollars ($10.00). The retention fee withheld shall be for the use of the County and shall be received and accounted for by the Clerk of Courts.

   (c)  When a defendant or a third party surety has deposited a sum of money under the percentage cash bail program, then upon full and final disposition of the case, the deposit less the retention fee for administrative costs, shall be returned to the person who originally posted the deposit. Notice of the full and final disposition shall be sent by the Clerk of Courts to the person who originally posted money at his address of record. Any money not claimed within one hundred eighty (180) days from the time of full and final disposition of the case shall be deemed as fees and shall be forfeited to the use of the County of Schuylkill.

Rule 542.  Preliminary Hearing: Transcripts.

   (a)  Whenever a court stenographer prepares a transcript of the testimony of witnesses at a preliminary hearing, said stenographer shall furnish a copy of the transcript to the District Attorney.

Rule 560.  Information: Filing, Contents, Functions.

   (e)  Promptly after receipt of transcripts in court cases, the Clerk of Courts shall forward copies of the same to the District Attorney. The District Attorney shall make such investigation as he deems appropriate and shall then prepare the informations for filing against the defendants. The District Attorney shall file with the Clerk of Courts on the second and last Mondays of each month the informations he has prepared by said dates.

   (f)  Whenever the District Attorney files a criminal information against a defendant alleging that the defendant committed murder as defined in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2502, the District Attorney shall contemporaneously forward a copy of the information to the Criminal Court Administrator. Upon receipt of the information, the Court Administrator shall assign the case to a member of the Court and shall notify the Clerk of Courts and counsel for the parties as to which judge the case has been assigned. Thereafter, all pretrial and trial matters occurring in the case shall be referred to the assigned judge for disposition.

Rule 570.1.  Report of Cases Ready for Trial/Pre-Trial Conference.

   By 4:00 p.m. on the day after the District Attorney must transmit the plea paperwork to the Criminal Court Administrator, as published on the Court Calendar, the District Attorney shall prepare and submit to the Criminal Court Administrator a report listing all cases in which the District Attorney is prepared to go to trial during that term of Court (including those in which the defendant has indicated an intent to request a continuance). This list shall constitute the trial list for that term of Court. Thereafter no case may be removed from or added to the trial list without leave of Court.

   Pretrial conferences with a member of the Court shall be conducted at 9:30 a.m. on the pretrial conference date as published in the Court Calendar for all cases remaining on the trial list by that date. The conference shall be attended by the assigned assistant district attorney and defense counsel. Pro se defendants must also attend. A victim may be present, if the victim desires to attend.

   It shall be the duty of each party, prior to the pretrial conference, to verify the availability of all necessary witnesses for trial. The Court may decline to consider scheduling problems and requests which are not brought to the Court's attention at the pretrial conference.

Rule 571.  Arraignment.

   (a)  Every defendant who shall be held for Court by the District Justice, at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing or at the time he waives his preliminary hearing, shall be furnished with a notice of arraignment form by the District Justice. The form shall advise defendant of the time periods wherein he may commence discovery and file an omnibus pre-trial motion in Court. He shall further be given notice that he has the right to waive appearing for formal arraignment in the District Attorney's Office.

   In the event he desires to waive formal arraignment, he and his attorney, if any, shall execute the form provided for that purpose by the District Justice, and said form shall be returned to Court with the transcript of the case by the District Justice. The date of arraignment will begin the running of the time for the exercise of defendant's pre-trial rights.

   In the event the defendant does not waive his arraignment, the District Attorney, upon filing the information, shall give the defendant notice of arraignment by first class mail, addressed to defendant's last known address of record, arraignment to be held at the District Attorney's Office the following Monday morning at 9:30 a.m.

   At the time the District Attorney mails the arraignment notices, he shall give the Public Defender a list of those defendants who are scheduled for arraignment. The Public Defender shall assign one of his attorneys to meet with the District Attorney on the day of arraignment to represent those defendants who are not represented by counsel. Such representation shall be solely for the purpose of arraignment and shall not constitute an entry of appearance.

   If a defendant fails to appear for arraignment, the Court, upon motion of the District Attorney, may issue a bench warrant for the defendant.

Rule 573.  Pre-Trial Discovery and Inspection.

   Defense counsel desiring pre-trial discovery and inspection under Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 573 shall make an appointment and hold an informal conference with the District Attorney's Office within fourteen (14) days after arraignment for that purpose. The District Attorney's Office shall make available all information not in dispute to the defendant. Should the defendant request copies of any items of information, same shall be at the expense of the defendant. At that conference, in addition to discussing discovery sought, the parties may discuss possible plea negotiations.

Rule 578.  Contents of Omnibus Pre-Trial Motions.

   (a)  All omnibus pre-trial motions shall state specifically and with particularity the following:

   (1)  type of relief requested;

   (2)  grounds for relief requested;

   (3)  facts and events in support thereof; and

   (4)  citations or law in support thereof.

   All motions for pre-trial disclosure or discovery shall set forth the fact that an informal conference to discuss the requested material has taken place and proved unsuccessful.

Rule 579.  Time for Omnibus Pre-Trial Motions.

   All omnibus pre-trial motions shall be filed within thirty (30) days after arraignment in accordance with Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 579. The defendant shall file the original with the Clerk of Courts and contemporaneously serve a copy on the District Attorney. The Clerk of Courts shall forward all motions to the Court Administrator for assignment to a judge. In those cases where the defendant acquires new counsel, either through appointment or through the resignation of his original counsel, the new counsel shall have no more than thirty (30) days from his appointment or employment to file such omnibus pre-trial motion as he may deem necessary. Only one extension of time shall be permitted.

Rule 590.1.  Pleas and Plea Agreements.

   (a)  The District Attorney shall prepare the sentencing guideline forms provided by the Court as soon as practicable after the informations are lodged, setting forth the sentences required by the guidelines if a plea of guilty is entered by the defendant, and shall forward this material to defense counsel. Counsel for defendants who wish to engage in plea negotiations shall promptly thereafter schedule a meeting with the District Attorney.

   (b)  In those cases where no plea agreement has been made, a plea negotiation conference shall be held. At said conference, the District Attorney assigned to the case and prosecuting officer or an officer from his department with authority to resolve the case shall meet with the defendant and defense counsel with the end in view to determine whether they can arrive at a plea agreement. The victim shall be notified and given an opportunity to attend and participate in the negotiations.

   (c)  If the parties arrive at a plea agreement, the defense counsel or defendant shall complete the form for entry of a written guilty plea available at the office of the District Attorney and promptly return it to that office. The District Attorney shall promptly forward the written guilty plea together with a copy of the information against the defendant, a report of the defendant's prior criminal record, and a list of maximum penalties and sentence guidelines for each charge to the Criminal Court Administrator. When the charge is D.U.I., a copy of the CRN shall also be provided to the Court.

   Each written guilty plea shall be accompanied by a ''Guilty Plea Certification'' completed and signed by the District Attorney and defense counsel, certifying to the Court that the defendant's guilty plea has not previously been presented to the Court, or specifying the date when the plea was presented and identifying the judge who rejected the plea. Counsel who fail to comply with this rule may be held in contempt of Court.

   Only those negotiated pleas and motions for A.R.D. for which the required documents are received by the District Attorney before 4:00 p.m. on the ''plea paperwork cutoff'' date as published in the Court Calendar for a particular term of Court will be considered by the Court during that term of Court. A defendant whose paperwork is not received by the cutoff may proceed to trial, request a continuance to the next term of Court, or enter a general plea of guilty without agreement as to sentence.

   The District Attorney must forward all paperwork for negotiated pleas and motions for A.R.D. to the Criminal Court Administrator on the date established for transmittal as published in the Court Calendar.

   The Criminal Court Administrator shall assign all guilty pleas and motions for A.R.D. among the judges who will hear those cases. Except for a plea of guilty entered after commencement of trial, the Court shall accept no guilty plea or A.R.D. motion unless scheduled and assigned by the Criminal Court Administrator.

   (d)  All guilty pleas and motions for A.R.D. for which the paperwork has been timely submitted to the Criminal Court Administrator shall be heard on the date scheduled for guilty pleas in the published Court Calendar.

   (1)  The pleas of all defendants who are incarcerated at that time shall be heard on the published prisoner plea date at 9:30 a.m.

   (2)  The pleas of all defendants who are not incarcerated and are represented by the Public Defender or have no counsel shall be heard on the published guilty plea date at 9:30 a.m.

   (3)  The pleas of all defendants who are not incarcerated and have retained private counsel shall be heard on the published guilty plea date at 1:30 p.m.

   (e)  General pleas of guilty entered after the dates in subsection (d) shall be scheduled by the Criminal Court Administrator at the direction of the President Judge.

Rule 606.  Judgment of Acquittal Motion.

   (a)  Any motion for judgment of acquittal shall follow the procedure set forth at Sch.R.Crim.P. 704.

Rule 704.  Procedure at Sentencing.

   (a)  Motions for extraordinary relief.--Any defendant seeking to present an oral motion for extraordinary relief pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 704(B) shall file of record and serve upon the Commonwealth a written request briefly setting forth the rational for the relief including an explanation as to why immediate relief is essential. Only upon a prima facie showing that alleged errors are so manifest that immediate relief is essential will leave be granted to present the oral motion for judgment of acquittal/arrest of judgment/new trial. The application to the Court shall be captioned ''Application for Leave to Argue Oral Motion for Extraordinary Relief'' and shall ask for leave to present and argue the merits set forth in the application.

Rule 706.  Fines or Costs or Restitution.

   (a)  If at the time of sentencing the Court determines the defendant is without the financial means to pay the fines or costs or restitution immediately or in a single remittance, the Court may provide for payment of said monies in such installments and over such period of time as is deemed just and practicable by the Adult Probation Office and/or Schuylkill Collection Bureau, taking into account the financial resources of the defendant and nature of the burden its payments will impose.

   (b)  In any case in which the court has ordered payment of a fine or cost or restitution in installments, the defendant may request a re-hearing on his payment schedule as established by the Adult Probation Office and/or Schuylkill Collection Bureau, or when he is in default of a payment, or when such default is imminent.

Rule 707.  Applications for Parole.

   (a)  Upon serving the minimum sentence as ordered by the Court, a defendant may be considered for parole.

   (b)  The Warden, District Attorney and Adult Probation Department shall indicate on the application any objection to the defendant's parole.

   (c)  The Court may in its discretion, or in the event any of the above said parties object to the application schedule a hearing on the application for parole.

Rule 708.  Post-Sentence Motions.

   (a)  Post-sentence motions shall be filed and served promptly on the Trial Judge and opposing counsel. The Trial Judge may schedule a conference to review the record and fix a briefing schedule.

   (b)  All motions requesting the appointment of a panel sitting as a court en banc shall be presented to the President Judge.

   (1)  Transcript of Court Trial. When directed by the Court, the transcript of the testimony of the trial of a criminal case shall be filed with the Clerk of Courts. The clerk shall make said transcript available to defense counsel and to the District Attorney, respectively, for a two (2) week period of time for preparation of briefs.

Criminal Procedure
District Justice Courts

Rule 102.  Citation of Rules.

   (a)  These rules shall be known as Schuylkill Rules of Criminal Procedure for District Justice Courts. They may be cited as ''Sch.R.Crim.P.D.J. No. ____ .''

Rule 141.  Contempt Procedure in Protection from Abuse Cases.

   (a)(1)  Upon information received on a violation of a protection order, the defendant may be arrested without a warrant, provided that the information is sufficient to constitute probable cause.

   (2)  Upon arrest, defendant shall be taken before either the district justice who has jurisdiction or the district justice on call; the arresting officer shall file a criminal complaint charging the defendant with indirect criminal contempt per 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6113 and § 6114; defendant shall at that time be arraigned and bail shall be set; defendant shall either be released on bail or taken to Schuylkill County Prison if bail cannot be posted.

   (3)  The District Justice shall immediately (next working day) provide the Court Administrator with the following information:

   (a)  name of defendant

   (b)  name of judge whose order was violated

   (4)  Court Administrator shall arrange with judge who issued original protection order for a hearing to be scheduled within ten (10) days.

Rule 506.  Private Complaints.

   (c)  Private complaints shall be instituted in the manner set forth in Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 506. The affiant shall appear in the office of the District Attorney, who shall determine whether there is a probable cause and either approve or disapprove the complaint without unreasonable delay. If the complaint is approved, it shall be transmitted to the appropriate District Justice who shall act as the issuing authority.

Rule 517.  Fugitives--Court Cases.

   (c)  In any court case in which a warrant of arrest has been issued, either upon the filing of the complaint or after the defendant fails to respond to a summons, if the officer to whom the warrant was issued is unable to serve such warrant after good faith effort within thirty (30) days, the said officer shall make a return of ''NOT FOUND'' to the District Justice.

Rule 518.  Arrest Without a Warrant in Certain Cases.

   (b)  Pursuant to the authority granted by Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 518, police officers are hereby authorized, when making an arrest in Schuylkill County and when they deem it appropriate, to promptly release from custody a defendant who has been arrested without a warrant, rather than taking the defendant before the issuing authority when the following conditions have been met:

   (1)  the most serious offense charged is a misdemeanor of the second degree;

   (2)  the defendant is a resident of the Commonwealth;

   (3)  the defendant poses no threat of immediate physical harm to any other person or to himself or herself;

   (4)  the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant will appear as required; and

   (5)  the defendant does not demand to be taken before an issuing authority.

   When a defendant is released pursuant to this Rule, a complaint shall be filed against the defendant within five (5) days of the defendant's release. Thereafter, a summons, not a warrant of arrest, shall be issued.

Rule 543.  Continuances of Preliminary Hearings.

   (a)  Every request for continuance of a preliminary hearing shall be submitted in writing on a form obtained from the District Justice or Criminal Court Administrator and shall be signed by the defendant and his/her counsel if any. The form may be submitted to the District Justice by fax directly (or via the Criminal Court Administrator if the District Justice office does not have fax capability).

   (b)  Each party may be granted one continuance by the District Justice upon cause shown. Any such initial continuance, made at the request of either party, shall not be for more than twenty-one (21) days. A continuance request submitted by the party not requesting the initial continuance, if granted by the District Justice, shall not be for more than fourteen (14) days. The District Justice is prohibited from granting more than one continuance to each party.

   Any subsequent continuance by either party may be granted only by the President Judge, or his designee, upon completion and with just cause shown on the approved aforementioned continuance request form. This request for continuance form must be completed and signed by the defendant and his/her counsel if any. Upon refusal or approval of said request for continuance form, the Criminal Court Administrator shall file the signed form with the Clerk of Court's office and shall notify the District Justice who in turn shall notify the parties.

   (1)  Pre-Preliminary Hearing Line-Up

   Defendants desiring a pre-preliminary hearing line-up shall make such request known to the District Attorney and the District Justice at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the scheduled preliminary hearing.

   In the event the District Attorney opposes defendant's request for a line-up prior to his preliminary hearing, the District Attorney shall advise defendant of such opposition at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the scheduled preliminary hearing. Defendant may then request a line-up by filing an original petition with the Clerk of Courts. The Court Administrator shall then assign the matter to a criminal list Judge for disposition. Defendant shall give notice of such filing to the District Attorney and the District Justice.

   When a District Justice has been notified of the filing of such petition, he shall continue the case for at least two (2) weeks to allow for the disposition of the petition.

   (2)  Scheduling of Preliminary Hearings

   Unless there are compelling reasons, no preliminary hearing shall be scheduled for a court case by any District Justice during the first two days of jury selection or the first week of criminal court trials in Schuylkill County. If a preliminary hearing is required to be held within that week by the Pa.R.Crim.P., this local Rule of Court shall be cited by the District Justice as a reason for re-scheduling the case for as soon thereafter as possible.

Rule 547.  Transcript of District Justice.

   (c)  In addition to the requirements under the Pa.R.Crim.P., the District Justice shall also list the defendant's date of birth in brackets following his name on the transcript, and shall list the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses who testified at the preliminary hearing or who the parties request to be listed on the transcript.

   (d)  The District Justice shall prepare a transcript of the proceedings before him and return the same together with the documents required by Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 547 to the Office of the Clerk of Courts by first class mail or by hand delivery. In appeals from summary convictions, the District Justice shall return the transcript filed with the Office of the Clerk of Courts together with the documents required by Pa.R.Crim.P. No. 460 by certified mail, return receipt requested, together with a letter of transmittal. The copy of the transmittal letter and return receipt card shall be retained by the District Justice.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-853. Filed for public inspection May 18, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]

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