Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 2550 (April 23, 2022).

234 Pa. Code Rule 131. Location of Proceedings Before Issuing Authority.

Rule 131. Location of Proceedings Before Issuing Authority.

 (A)  An issuing authority within the magisterial district for which he or she is elected or appointed shall have jurisdiction and authority to receive complaints, issue warrants, hold preliminary arraignments, set and receive bail, issue commitments to jail, and hold hearings and summary trials.

   (1)  Except as provided in paragraph (A)(2), all preliminary arraignments shall be held in the issuing authority’s established office, a night court, or some other facility within the Commonwealth designated by the president judge, or the president judge’s designee.

   (2)  Preliminary arraignments may be conducted using advanced communication technology pursuant to Rule 540. The preliminary arraignment in these cases may be conducted from any site within the Commonwealth designated by the president judge, or the president judge’s designee.

   (3)  All hearings and summary trials before the issuing authority shall be held publicly at the issuing authority’s established office. For reasons of emergency, security, size, or in the interests of justice, the president judge, or the president judge’s designee, may order that a hearing or hearings, or a trial or trials, be held in another more suitable location within the judicial district.

   (4)  The issuing authority may receive complaints, issue warrants, set and receive bail, and issue commitments to jail from any location within the judicial district, or from an advanced communication technology site within the Commonwealth.

 (B)  When local conditions require, the president judge may establish procedures for preliminary hearings or summary trials, in all cases or in certain classes of cases, to be held at a central place or places within the judicial district at certain specified times. The procedures established shall provide either for the transfer of the case or the transfer of the issuing authority to the designated central place as the needs of justice and efficient administration require.

Comment

   The 2002 amendments to paragraph (A) divided the paragraph into subparagraphs to more clearly distinguish between the locations for the different types of proceedings and business that an issuing authority conducts.

   Paragraph (A)(3) permits the president judge, or the president judge’s designee, to order that a hearing or hearings be held in a location that is different from the issuing authority’s established office. Nothing in this rule is intended to preclude the president judge, or the president judge’s designee, from issuing a standing order for a change in location. For example, this might be done when a state correctional institution is located in the judicial district and the president judge determines that, for security reasons, all preliminary hearings of the state correctional institution’s inmates will be conducted at that prison.

   See Rule 540 and Comment for the procedures governing the use of advanced communication technology in preliminary arraignments.

   See Rule 130 concerning the venue when proceedings are conducted by using advanced communication technology.

   Paragraph (B) of this rule is intended to facilitate compliance with the requirement that defendants be represented by counsel at the preliminary hearing. Coleman v. Alabama, 399 U. S. 1 (1970).

   Paragraph (A)(4) permits issuing authorities to perform their official duties from an advanced communication technology site within the Commonwealth. The site may be located outside the magisterial district or judicial district where the issuing authority presides.

   This rule allows the president judge of a judicial district the discretion to determine what classes of cases require centralized preliminary hearings or summary trials, and requires the president judge, or the president judge’s designee, to establish a schedule of central places within the Commonwealth to conduct such hearings or summary trials, and the hours for the hearings or trials at the central locations.

   Ideally, this rule should minimize the inconvenience to defense counsel and the attorney for the Commonwealth by eliminating the necessity of travel at various unpredictable times to many different locations throughout the judicial district for the purpose of attending preliminary hearings or summary trials. Finally, this rule allows preliminary hearings or summary trials for jailed defendants to be held at a location close to the place of detention.

   Official Note

   Formerly Rule 156, paragraph (a) adopted January 16, 1970, effective immediately; paragraph (a) amended and paragraph (b) adopted November 22, 1971, effective immediately; renumbered Rule 22 September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; renumbered Rule 131 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended March 12, 2002, effective July 1, 2002; amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002; amended June 30, 2005, effective August 1, 2006.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the March 12, 2002 amendments concerning centralized courts for summary trials published with the Court’s Order at 32 Pa.B. 1630 (March 30, 2002).

   Final Report explaining the May 10, 2002 amendments concerning advanced communication technology published with the Court’s Order at 32 Pa.B. 2591 (May 25, 2002).

   Final Report explaining the June 30, 2005 deletion in paragraph (A) of ‘‘at all times’’ published with the Court’s Order at 35 Pa.B. 3911 (July 16, 2005).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 131 amended March 12, 2002, effective July 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 1630; amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2582; amended June 30, 2005, effective August 1, 2006, 35 Pa.B. 3901. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (304106) and (289073) to (289074).



No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.


This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Code full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.