OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
[234 PA. CODE CH. 10]
Proposed Amendments to Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 1001
[35 Pa.B. 1416]
The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is considering a proposal that would amend Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 1001 (Disposition of Criminal Cases--Philadelphia Municipal Court) to require that cases from the Municipal Court must be transferred from the Municipal Court to the Court of Common Pleas upon a certification by the attorney for the Commonwealth that trial in the case will be tried before a jury. This proposal has not been submitted for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
The following explanatory Report highlights the Committee's considerations in formulating this proposal. Please note that the Committee's Report should not be confused with the official Committee Comments to the rules. Also note that the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Comments or the contents of the explanatory Reports.
The text of the proposed rule changes precedes the Report. Additions are shown in bold; deletions are in bold and brackets.
We request that interested persons submit suggestions, comments, or objections concerning this proposal in writing to the Committee through counsel,
Anne T. Panfil, Chief Staff Counsel Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania
Criminal Procedural Rules Committee
5035 Ritter Road, Suite 800
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
fax: (717) 795-2106
no later than Wednesday, April 6, 2005.
By the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee
NICHOLAS J. NASTASI,
TITLE 234. RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 10. RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE FOR THE PHILADELPHIA MUNICIPAL COURT
Rule 1001. Disposition of Criminal Cases--Philadelphia Municipal Court.
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(D) A Municipal Court case shall be transferred from the Municipal Court to the Court of Common Pleas upon the filing in the Municipal Court of a written certification by an attorney for the Commonwealth stating that the case will be tried before a jury.
This rule, which defines ''Municipal Court Case,'' is intended to ensure that the Municipal Court will take dispositive action, including trial and verdict when appropriate, in any criminal case that does not involve a felony, excluding summary cases under the Vehicle Code. The latter are under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Traffic Court, see 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 1301--1303, 1321.
Paragraph (D) was added in 2005 in view of the 1998 amendment to article I, § 6 of the Pennsylvania Constitution that provides that ''the Commonwealth shall have the same right to trial by jury as does the accused.''
Official Note: Present Rule 6001 adopted March 28, 1973, effective March 28, 1973, replacing prior Rule 6001; amended June 28, 1974, effective July 1, 1974; paragraph (C) added February 10, 1975, effective immediately; title amended July 1, 1980, effective August 1, 1980; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; amended June 19, 1996, effective July 1, 1996; amended August 28, 1998, effective immediately; renumbered Rule 1001 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001 ; amended August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005; amended , 2005, effective , 2005.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
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Report explaining the proposed addition of paragraph (D) concerning the Commonwealth's right to transfer a Municipal Court Case to the Court of Common Pleas for trial by jury published at 35 Pa.B. 1417 (February 26, 2005).
Proposed Amendments to Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 1001
Philadelphia Municipal Court--Transfer of Cases
The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee recently considered correspondence suggesting an amendment to Rule 1001 that would accommodate the Commonwealth's right to a jury trial as established by the 1998 amendment to Article I, § 6 of the Pennsylvania Constitution providing ''the Commonwealth shall have the same right to a trial by jury as does the accused.''1
The Philadelphia Municipal Court's jurisdiction over misdemeanors and the prohibition on jury trials in Municipal Court were originally established in 1968 in Schedule Article 5, § 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The statutory jurisdictional authority for the Municipal Court initially was provided in 1976 in the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 1123, which states that the Municipal Court has jurisdiction over ''Criminal offenses by any person (other than a juvenile) for which no prison term may be imposed . . . of not more than five years. . . .'' The statute specifically states that a defendant has no right to a jury trial in Municipal Court but shall have the right of appeal for trial de novo, including the right to trial by jury, to the court of common pleas. Rule 1001, originally adopted in 1973, provides a procedure for transfer to the Court of Common Pleas and by-passing of Municipal Court proceedings in two situations. The first is upon the certification of the defense counsel in order to assert the right to jury trial. The second is upon certification by both defense and prosecution upon the grounds that the trial before the Municipal Court will be so time consuming as to unduly disrupt court business. In either case, approval for such a transfer must be granted by the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
As indicated above, both 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1123 and Rule 1001 were established well before the 1998 constitutional amendment that established the Commonwealth's right to a jury trial. As a result, the constitutional, statutory, and rule provisions are silent on how to effectuate the Commonwealth's jury trial right in misdemeanor cases in Philadelphia creating a procedural gap which needs to be rectified.
Since Rule 1001 already provides a vehicle to by-pass Municipal Court proceedings for the defendant's assertion of the right to jury trial, an amendment to that Rule is proposed that would similarly effectuate the Commonwealth's right to trial by jury in such cases.
Discussion of Proposed Amendment to Rule 1001
The Committee is proposing a new paragraph (D) be added to Rule 1001 that would require the transfer of a case from Philadelphia Municipal Court to the Court of Common Pleas upon the filing of a written certification by the attorney for the Commonwealth stating that the Commonwealth is seeking a trial by jury. Recognizing that double jeopardy issues are implicated when the Commonwealth seeks an appeal from a Municipal Court decision, the Committee agreed that the transfer of such cases must be mandatory in order to preserve the Commonwealth's right to a jury trial. Accordingly, unlike the other transfer provisions in Rule 1001(C), new paragraph (D) does not provide for the approval of the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
A cross-reference to the constitutional provision establishing the Commonwealth's right to a jury trial would be added to the Rule 1001 Comment.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-355. Filed for public inspection February 25, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]
1 The 1999 amendments to Rule of Criminal Procedure 620 (Waiver of Jury Trial) similarly acknowledged the Commonwealth's right to trial by jury.
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