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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 07-1896


Title 255--LOCAL


Advanced Communication Technology; Central Booking Procedure; Protection from Abuse Procedure; No. AD-16-2007

[37 Pa.B. 5594]
[Saturday, October 20, 2007]

Administrative Order

   And Now, this 20th day of September, 2007, it is Hereby Ordered;

1.  Definitions

   a.  Advanced Communication Technology is as defined at PA.R.Crim.P. 103

   b.  Advanced Communication Technology Site is as defined at PA.R.Crim. 103

2.  Central Booking Procedure

   a.  The Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County adopts a countywide Central Booking Center (CBC) Procedures plan as set forth herein.

   b.  The Central Booking Center (CBC) is to be located at the Lehigh County Prison.

   c.  The purpose of the CBC is to efficiently process defendants charged with criminal actions with the express intent of returning the arresting officer(s) to their shift in their communities. The processing shall include, but not be limited to, fingerprinting, photographing and determining prior records of defendants being processed. In addition the CBC will be the site from where video preliminary arraignments shall occur, utilizing advanced communication technology, unless exceptions exist which may include, but are not limited to, equipment malfunctions, network malfunctions and related technology problems.

   d.  Persons arrested with or without a warrant for a felony or misdemeanor, with an initial exception for charges of DUI which is to be phased in over a schedule which is presently undetermined, shall be taken to the CBC for processing prior to the preliminary arraignment. Defendants arrested and released pursuant to PA.R.Crim.P. 519 (B) shall be processed in accordance with paragraph ''e'' of this Order. If the person is released after the preliminary arraignment, the police, if requested, shall return the defendant to the community in which he was arrested.

   e.  When an issuing authority issues a summons rather than an arrest warrant, the issuing authority shall send the following notice with the summons:


   You must report to the Central Booking Center at the Lehigh County Prison located at 38 North 4th Street, Allentown, PA 18101 for processing at least five (5) days prior to your preliminary hearing. You must bring a copy of your summons to the Central Booking Center (CBC). A failure to report to the Central Booking Center in a timely manner will cause your arrest and probable detention.

3.  Video Preliminary Arraignment

   a.  Preliminary arraignments shall employ two-way simultaneous audio-visual communication pursuant to PA.R.Crim.P. 540 (A) and shall be conducted from the CBC.

4.  Arrest Warrant and Search Warrant Procedure

   a.  Advanced Communication technology may be employed when the issuance of an arrest warrant, in accordance to PA.R.Crim.P. 513 (A), or search warrant, in accordance to PA.R.Crim. 203 (A), is requested.

5.  Protection From Abuse--Emergency Relief

   a.  Proceedings for emergency relief by the minor judiciary pursuant to the Protection From Abuse Act may be conducted at the CBC utilizing simultaneous two-way audio-visual communication.

6.  Procedures for Coordination between the District Courts and the CBC

   a.  see attached

7.  Scheduling of Magisterial District Judges for Night Court and On-call Assignments

   a.  The Magisterial District Judge Administrator has the responsibility of developing the annual calendar for the Night Court, On-Call and Holiday coverage assignments. This calendar will continue to be prepared on an annual basis. The current calendar dated October 30, 2006 and effective January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, will remain in effect as related to, but not limited to, the issues of the schedule, jurisdiction and venue unless amended by the President Judge.

President Judge

MDJ Video Conferencing Procedures

After Regular Office Hours--Scheduled Night Court

   The assigned Magisterial District Judge (MDJ) will be on call from the close of business till 8 p.m., and then in his/her office from 8 PM to 1 AM Monday through Friday, then on call from 1 AM to 8 AM for emergencies only.

   The MDJ that is assigned to Central Court, Monday thru Friday, will first go to his/her office at 7:30 AM to process any arraignments that were held overnight after night court. Upon completion of the arraignments the MDJ will then proceed to Central Court.

   1.  Upon arrival at the Central Booking Center (CBC) and after the police officer and/or CBC officer has completed the preparation of all paperwork, including Livescan and CPIN, the CBC will contact the MDJ's office who is scheduled for Night Court.

   2.  The signed complaint and other appropriate paperwork will be faxed to the MDJ for his review and approval.

   3.  The CBC officer will have the defendant prepared to be on the video arraignment system.

   4.  The MDJ will start the video conferencing software.

   5.  The complaint is signed, sealed and given an OTN number when appropriate and faxes the complaint back to the affiant at the CBC.

   6.  The MDJ completes all requirements under Rule 540--Preliminary Arraignment.

   7.  The MDJ faxes a copy of the preliminary hearing notice to the CBC for the defendant.

   8.  The MDJ establishes bail.

   9.  If the defendant is committed the MDJ signs and seals the commitment and bail papers and faxes the paperwork to the CBC. The CBC makes a copy for the defendants and provides a copy to the defendant.

   10.  If the defendant is released on unsecured bail the MDJ signs the bail paperwork and faxes it to the CBC.

   11.  The CBC obtains the defendant's signature on the paperwork, makes a copy for the defendant.

   12.  The CBC returns all paperwork (hand delivered) to the Central Court office the morning of the next business day.

   13.  Central Court staff retains the paperwork for incarcerated defendants and returns, via mail, the paperwork to the Proper District Court for defendants released on unsecured bail.

Search Warrants

   1.  The police officer who prepared the affidavit signs and dates the paperwork either in person or on video in view of the MDJ.

   2.  The police officer faxes the affidavit to the MDJ.

   3.  MDJ reviews the affidavit and administers the oath to the police officer.

   4.  MDJ (if approved) signs, dates and seals the search warrant and faxes it back to the police officer.

Protection from Abuse (PFA) Emergency Orders

   CBC obtains the name and phone number of the petitioner. Notifies the MDJ who will contact the petitioner and arrange for issuance of the PFA either at his or her own office or the CBC.

   If performed at the CBC:

   1.  MDJ (if granted) completes the Petition for Emergency Relief and faxes it to the CBC officer.

   2.  Petitioner signs petition, and petition faxed back to MDJ.

   3.  MDJ signs, dates, and seals petition and faxes back to the CBC officer.

   4.  CBC officer makes a copy for the petitioner.

   5.  CBC officer makes a copy to serve on Defendant and faxes to the appropriate Police Department for service on Defendant.


   All after hours constable work is to be taken to the scheduled Night Court MDJ's office during Night Court hours.

Operations on Weekends & Holidays

   The assigned District Judge will call in to the CBC at approximately 8-9 AM, 4-5 PM and 10--11 PM to ascertain the status of arraignments. CBC will advise the MDJ of the arraignments required and fax the appropriate paperwork to the MDJ's office. The MDJ will inform Central Booking if there is a need to interview any of the defendants prior to arraignment, and then conduct any interviews necessary. MDJ will then process the proper paperwork, proceed with the video arraignment and fax the appropriate paperwork to CBC. The MDJ will remain at his or her office till all pending arraignments are complete.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-1896. Filed for public inspection October 19, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]

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