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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 97-968



[234 PA. CODE CH. 50]

Order Approving Revision of the Comment to Rule 51; No. 222; Doc. No. 2

[27 Pa.B. 2922]

   The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee has prepared a Report explaining the changes which are the subject of the Court's Order. The Report follows the Court's Order.


Per Curiam:

   Now, this 6th day of June, 1997, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee;

   The Rule 51 Comment revision having been approved without publication, as permitted by Pa.R.J.A. 103(a)(3) and a Report to be published with this Order;

   It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that the Comment to Rule of Criminal Procedure 51 is revised in the following form.

   This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(b) and shall be effective immediately.

Annex A





Rule 51.  Means of Instituting Proceedings in Summary Cases.

   Criminal proceedings in summary cases shall be instituted either by:

   (a)  issuing a citation to the defendant; or

   (b)  filing a citation; or

   (c)  filing a complaint; or

   (d)  arresting without a warrant when arrest is specifically authorized by law.

   Official Note:  Previous Rule 51, adopted January 23, 1975, effective September 1, 1975; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; Comment revised December 15, 1983, effective January 1, 1984; rescinded July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; and replaced by present Rules 3, 51, 52, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, and 95. Present Rule 51 adopted July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986. The January 1, 1986 effective dates all are extended to July 1, 1986; Comment revised February 1, 1989, effective July 1, 1989; Comment revised January 31, 1991, effective July 1, 1991; Comment revised January 16, 1996, effective immediately; Comment revised June 6, 1997, effective immediately.


   This rule establishes the means of instituting criminal proceedings in summary cases. For general citation procedures, see Part II, Rules 52 and 53.

   For the procedures when a citation is issued to a defendant pursuant to paragraph (a) of this rule, see Part IIA, Rules 55, 56, 57, 58, 59.

   For the procedures when a citation is filed pursuant to paragraph (b), see Part IIB, Rules 60, 61, 62, 63, 64.

   For the procedures when a complaint is filed pursuant to paragraph (c), see Part III, Rules 65, 66, 67, 68, 69.

   For the procedures when there is an arrest without a warrant pursuant to paragraph (d), see Part IV, Rules 70, 71.

   For the procedures regarding the use of arrest warrants in summary cases, see Part V, Rules 75, 76.

   For general procedures applicable in all summary cases, see Part VI, Rules 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 90.

   For the procedures in summary cases charging parking violations, see Part VII, Rule 95. Although a criminal proceeding may be instituted in these cases by issuing a citation either by handing it to a defendant or placing it on a vehicle windshield, it is expected that many parking cases will be disposed of without a criminal proceeding under these rules. A parking ticket, which is not a citation, is used by a political subdivision and the defendant pays the amount specified on the ticket within the time specified.

   Summary cases are cases in which all the offenses charged are either summary offenses, as defined in the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S. § 106(c), or violations of ordinances for which imprisonment may be imposed upon conviction or upon failure to pay a fine or penalty. See Rule 3. Criminal proceedings in summary cases are to be brought under this chapter of the rules. If one or more of the offenses charged is a misdemeanor, felony, or murder, the case is a court case (see Rule 3) and proceeds under Chapter 100 of the rules. Any summary offenses in such a case, if known at the time, must be charged in the same complaint as the higher offenses and must be disposed of as part of the court case. See Crimes Code § 110, 18 Pa.C.S. § 110, and Commonwealth v. Campana, 304 A.2d 432 (Pa. 1973), vacated and remanded, 414 U. S. 808 (1973), on remand, 314 A.2d 854 (Pa. 1974). But see Commonwealth v. Beatty, 455 A.2d 1194 (Pa. 1983) [, concerning summary violations of the Vehicle Code.]; Commonwealth v. Taylor, 522 A.2d 37 (Pa. 1987); and Commonwealth v. Kresge, 464 A.2d 384 (Pa. Super. 1983) (no Section 110 violation when separate prosecutions involve offenses ''not within the jurisdiction of a single court''). See also Commonwealth v. Geyer, 687 A.2d 815 (Pa. 1996) (Section 110 applies to separate prosecution of two summary offenses within the jurisdiction of a single court).

   The summary case rules are not intended to prohibit or to suspend any acknowledgment of guilt procedures that may be specifically authorized by statute. See, e.g., Section 926 of the Game and Wildlife Code, 34 Pa.C.S. § 926, and Section 925 of the Fish and Boat Code, 30 Pa.C.S. § 925. Furthermore, the use of a field acknowledgment of guilt pursuant to 34 Pa.C.S. § 926 or 30 Pa.C.S. § 925 should not be construed as the issuance of a citation for the purpose of instituting a summary case under these rules. See Rules 55 and 60.

   The Rules of Criminal Procedure generally do not apply to juvenile proceedings, but these rules do apply to proceedings in summary cases involving juveniles to the extent that the Juvenile Act does not apply to such proceedings. See, e.g., Juvenile Act §§ 6302--6303, 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 6302--6303; Vehicle Code § 6303, 75 Pa.C.S. § 6303. See also 42 Pa.C.S. § 1515(a)(1) and 6303(a)(5) concerning jurisdiction of summary offenses arising out of the same episode or transaction involving a delinquent act for which a petition alleging delinquency is filed.

   See Section 1522 [to] of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 1522, concerning parental notification in certain summary cases involving juveniles.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Report explaining the January 31, 1991 amendments published at 20 Pa.B. 4788 (September 15, 1990); Supplemental Report published at 21 Pa.B. 621 (February 16, 1991).

   Report explaining the January 16, 1996 Comment revisions published with the Court's Order at 26 Pa.B. 437 (February 3, 1996).

   Report explaining the June 6, 1997 Comment revision published with the Court's Order at 27 Pa.B. 2923 (June 21, 1997).


Comment Revision to Pa.R.Crim.P. 51
Applicability of 18 Pa.C.S. § 110 to Summary Cases

   On June 6, 1997, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved an addition to the Comment to Rule 51 (Means of Instituting Proceedings in Summary Cases) which clarifies the general rule that summary charges included in a court case must be disposed of as part of the court case.

   For some time, the Comment to Rule 51 has contained a discussion of 18 Pa.C.S. § 110 and Commonwealth v. Campana, 304 A.d. 432 (Pa. 1973), followed by a citation to Commonwealth v. Beatty, 455 A.d. 1194 (Pa. 1983) (concerning summary violations of the Vehicle Code). In addition to Commonwealth v. Beatty, the courts have issued several other opinions addressing the applicability of 18 Pa.C.S. § 110 to summary cases. As an aid to the bench and bar, the Committee has added these cases to the Rule 51 Comment: Commonwealth v. Kresge, 464 A.d. 384 (Pa. Super. 1983); Commonwealth v. Taylor, 522 A.d. 37 (Pa. 1987); and Commonwealth v. Geyer, 687 A.d. 815 (Pa. 1996).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 97-968. Filed for public inspection June 20, 1997, 9:00 a.m.]

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