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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 12-181




[ 237 PA. CODE CH. 4 ]

Order Amending Rule 407 of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure; No. 555 Supreme Court Rules Doc.

[42 Pa.B. 664]
[Saturday, February 4, 2012]


Per Curiam

And Now, this 18th day of January, 2012, upon the recommendation of the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee; the proposal having been published for public comment before adoption at 41 Pa.B. 2522 (May 21, 2011), in the Atlantic Reporter (Third Series Advance Sheets, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 17, 2011), and on the Supreme Court's web-page, and an Explanatory Report to be published with this Order:

It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that the modifications to Rule 407 of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are approved in the following form.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective April 1, 2012.

Annex A





Rule 407. Admissions.

 A. Admissions. At any time after a petition is filed, the juvenile may tender an admission to [the facts, adjudication of delinquency, and/or disposition] some or all of the delinquent acts charged.

 1) Requirements.

a) Before the court can accept an admission, the court shall determine that the admission is [made voluntarily and] knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. [The court, at a minimum, shall ask questions to elicit the following information:

a) Does the juvenile understand the nature of the allegations to which he or she is admitting?

b) Is there a factual basis for the admission?

c) Does the juvenile understand that he or she has the right to a hearing before the judge?

d) Does the juvenile understand that he or she is presumed innocent until found delinquent?

e) Is the juvenile aware of the dispositions that could be imposed?

f) Is the juvenile aware that the judge is not bound by the terms of any agreement tendered unless the judge accepts such agreement?

g) Has the juvenile spoken with his or her attorney or waived the right to counsel in accordance with Rule 152?

h) Does the juvenile have any questions about admitting to the facts or delinquency based on the allegations?

i) Has the juvenile had the opportunity to speak with a guardian about his or her decision?]

b) As a part of this determination, the court shall ensure:

i) an attorney has reviewed and completed the admission colloquy with the juvenile pursuant to paragraph (C); and

ii) there is a factual basis for the admission.

c) At the hearing, the court shall conduct an independent inquiry with the juvenile to determine:

i) whether the juvenile understands the nature of the allegations to which he or she is admitting and understands what it means to admit;

ii) whether the juvenile understands that he or she has the right to a hearing before the judge and understands what occurs at a hearing;

iii) whether the juvenile is aware of the dispositions that could be imposed and the consequences of an adjudication of delinquency that can result from an admission;

iv) whether the juvenile has any questions about the admission; and

v) whether there are any other concerns apparent to the court after such inquiry that should be answered.

 2) Agreements. If the parties agree upon the terms of an admission, the tender shall be presented to the court.

 3) Court action. If the court accepts the tender, the court shall enter an order incorporating any agreement. If the court does not accept the tender, the case shall proceed as if no tender had been made.

 4) Limitations on withdrawals. An admission [cannot be withdrawn after the court enters] may be withdrawn prior to the court entering the dispositional order. After the court has entered the dispositional order, an admission can be withdrawn only upon a demonstration of manifest injustice.

 B. Incriminating statements. An incriminating statement made by a juvenile in the discussions or conferences incident to an admission that is not ultimately accepted by the court or otherwise permitted to be withdrawn by the court shall not be used against the juvenile over objection in any criminal proceeding or hearing under the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 6301 et seq.

C. Written admission colloquy. If a juvenile is making an admission, the colloquy shall be:

1) in writing;

2) reviewed and completed with the juvenile by an attorney;

3) submitted to and reviewed by the court; and

4) substantially in the following form:


In re ______ : ____ JD ____
    (Juvenile) :
: Delinquent Act(s): ______
: ______

Answer all of the questions on this form. If you do not understand any question, leave it blank and ask your lawyer or the judge.

I admit that I did the following things (attorney shall list the delinquent acts, grading of acts, and counts): __________




General Information:

1) What is your full name? __________

2) Do you have any other name or nickname? __
If yes, state: __________

3) How old are you today? ______

4) What grade are you in? ______

5) Can you read, write, and understand English? _____

a) If you cannot read, has someone read this form to you? _________

If so, who? ______  (print name)


(signature of reader verifies that the form has been read to the juvenile)

b) If you do not read English, have you been given a translator or a lawyer who speaks your language? __________

c) Did your translator or lawyer read this form to you and explain it? ______

If so, who? ______ (print name)


(signature of reader verifies that the form has been read to the juvenile)

Knowing and Voluntary Admission:

6) Are you now a patient in a mental hospital or institution? ______

   a) If yes, where? __________

   b) Are you being treated for a mental illness (which is an illness that causes you to see a doctor for different behavior)? ______

   c) If yes, what are you being treated for? __________

7) Have you taken any drugs or alcohol yesterday or today that do not make you think clearly? ____

   If yes, specify type of drugs and/or alcohol: __________

8) Has anyone threatened or forced you to sign this form? ______

   If yes, explain: __________

9) Have you been promised anything for this admission? ______

   If yes, explain: __________

Understanding the Admission:

10) Has your lawyer told you what you did was against the law (delinquent act)? ______

11) By admitting what you did, do you understand that you are giving up:

a) the right to be presumed innocent, which means the judge does not think you broke the law until the D.A. (District Attorney) proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you broke the law (a reasonable doubt is a belief that it is very possible you did not break the law); ______

b) the right to a hearing by a fair judge, which means the judge will listen to what everyone has to say and look at all the evidence before deciding; ______

c) the right to remain silent and your silence cannot be held against you, which means you will not be punished for not speaking; ______

d) the right to be heard, which means you may tell the judge your side of the story if you want; ______

e) the right to face and cross-examine witnesses, which means you can ask all witnesses questions; ______

f) the right to present witnesses or evidence to help tell your side of the story, but you do not have to do anything; ______

g) the right to challenge evidence against you, which means you tell the judge you disagree with something; ______

h) the right to make objections and ask for rulings, which means the judge decides if he or she should hear certain evidence; and ______

i) the right to have another court, which is an appellate court, review this judge's decision. ______

12) Do you understand if the judge accepts your admission and believes you need help (''treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision''), the judge may find you delinquent, which means that you broke the law and need help? ______

Possible Consequences of Adjudication of Delinquency:

13) Do you understand that if you are found delinquent, the judge may make you pay money and place you outside of your home or on probation until you turn 21 years old? ______

14) Are you aware that if you are admitting to
______ that your driving license will be suspended now or in the future (which means you will not be able to drive)?

(lawyer shall write acts on this line, cross off, or write n/a).

15) Do you understand that this case can be used against you in the future? For example, if you break the law again, you may get a longer sentence in jail. ______

16) Do you understand that if you are found delinquent, other people may find out about it? You may also have to tell people, including colleges, military recruiters, or employers? ______

17) Do you understand that if you are not a U.S. citizen, it may cause problems, which could include being forced to leave the U.S.? ______

Admission Agreements:

18) Are you aware that the judge does not have to accept any agreement between you and the D.A.? ______ (write n/a if no agreement)


19) If you are found delinquent after this admission, you can have a higher court review your case for three reasons:

a) Your admission was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made, which means you did not understand this admission or were forced to admit; ______

b) The court did not have jurisdiction, which means it was not the proper court to take your admission; or ______

c) The judge's disposition of the charge(s), which means what the judge is going to do with you (like a sentence in adult court), is more than the biggest punishment an adult would get for the same crime. ______

If you do not admit, do you understand you have other rights? ______

Lawyer's Representation and Opportunity to Speak with Guardian

20) Are you okay with what your lawyer did for you and how he or she explained everything? ____

21) Did you talk with your parent or guardian about admitting the charge(s)? ______

I promise that I have read this whole form or someone has read this form to me. I understand it. I am telling the truth. I am saying that I have done the things on page 1. I believe that this admission is best for me. The signature below and initials on each page of this form are mine.



I, ______ , lawyer for the juvenile, have reviewed this form with my client. My client has told me and I believe that he or she understands this form.




[Under paragraph (A)(1), the court is to determine if the admission is voluntarily and knowingly made. Nothing in this rule is intended to prevent the court from using a written form to ascertain the necessary information, provided the court asks questions of the juvenile, on the record, to authenticate the juvenile's completion and understanding of the form and the juvenile's agreement with the statements made.]

Under paragraph (A)(1), the court is to determine if the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made by asking questions to ascertain the juvenile's ability to comprehend the written colloquy and to make an admission.

The written colloquy serves as an aid for the court in making its determination that the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made and it does not supplant the court's responsibility to conduct a sufficient inquiry to support its determination pursuant to paragraph (A)(1).

Nothing in this rule prohibits the judge from reviewing the entire written colloquy with the juvenile on the record or asking more questions than required under paragraph (A)(1)(c).

The admission colloquy is similar to a guilty plea colloquy in criminal court; however, the juvenile court judge has special responsibilities under the Juvenile Act in providing a balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for delinquent acts committed, and the development of competencies to enable juveniles to become responsible and productive members of the community. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 6301.

If the court finds an admission is not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made, the case is to proceed to a hearing pursuant to Rule 406. The decision whether an admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made is not appealable to another common pleas judge; therefore, the admission may not be presented to another judge once this determination has been made.

 Under paragraph (A)(3), if the disposition agreed upon by the parties is unavailable or the court does not agree with the terms of the tender, the case is to proceed as if no tender had been made.

 The court is not to accept a plea of nolo contendere. See In re B.P.Y., 712 A.2d 769 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1998).

If the court does not accept an agreement or finds an admission not to be knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made, a motion for recusal of the judge may be appropriate for the adjudicatory hearing.

Pursuant to paragraph (C), an attorney is to review the written admission colloquy with the juvenile prior to entering the courtroom. The practice in some judicial districts permitting the juvenile probation officer to review this colloquy with the juvenile is inconsistent with this rule.

The colloquy uses several age-appropriate terms for the juvenile to understand; however, certain legal terms are contained in the form. It is expected that attorneys will explain this form until their clients understand.

Pursuant to paragraph (C)(4), the admission colloquy is to be substantially in this form. The questions set forth are the minimal standard. A judicial district may choose to add requirements to its admission colloquy. Any addition to the required colloquy is considered a local rule and the procedures of Rule 121 are to be followed if a judicial district chooses to make additions. See Rule 121.

Nothing in this rule precludes the court from entering a consent decree after the acceptance of an admission.

The admission colloquy can be downloaded from the Supreme Court's webpage at The admission form is also available in Spanish.

The Pennsylvania Juvenile Collateral Consequences checklist is also available on the Supreme Court's webpage.

Official Note: Rule 407 adopted April 1, 2005, effective October 1, 2005. Amended January 18, 2012, effective April 1, 2012.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

 Final Report explaining the provisions of Rule 407 published with the Court's Order at 35 Pa.B. 2214 (April 16, 2005).

Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 407 published with the Courts' Order at 42 Pa.B. 664 (February 4, 2012).


January 2012

 The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted the changes to Rule 407 with this Recommendation. The changes are effective April 1, 2012.


 The Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee (Committee) looked at admission colloquies used across this Commonwealth for juveniles who were admitting to a delinquent act pursuant to Rule 407. The Committee found that in some judicial districts, the colloquy omitted important information regarding the case and the juvenile's ability to comprehend the admission. The Committee found these colloquies were inadequate and recommended a need for a unified form.

 The Committee looked at colloquies from several judicial districts to create its own form. A final collation of these forms was then produced to make one unified colloquy.

 After producing a final colloquy and modifying sections of the rule, the Committee sent out a recommendation for modifications to Rule 407. The public comment suggested a more child-friendly form. Juvenile language experts were consulted. The Committee then produced a colloquy written at a fifth-grade level using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Analysis. Certain legal terms remain in the colloquy but are adequately explained at a fifth-grade level.

 One area of debate during the public comment period was whether this form should be mandated. The Committee debated this issue and decided that because of the prevalence of severe inadequacies in several forms being used across this Commonwealth, the colloquy would be mandatory. However, the modified rule allows a judicial district to add more requirements to its own colloquy. Pursuant to Pa.R.J.C.P. 121, a judicial district could submit its colloquy with additional requirements to the Committee for review as a local rule. If the local rule is not in conflict with the statewide rule, the colloquy would be permitted in that judicial district. See Comment to Rule 407.

 Some paragraphs of the rule were also modified to ensure that the admission was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made.

Rule discussion

Paragraph (A)(1)(a)

 Paragraph (A)(1)(a) lays out the requirements for an admission, which provides the admission shall be knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. This is the standard applied for admissions whether the juvenile is being questioned at a police station or the juvenile is admitting to the delinquent acts in court.

Paragraph (A)(1)(b)

 Paragraph (A)(1)(b) provides the court must ensure that: i) an attorney has reviewed the admission colloquy with the juvenile; and ii) there is a factual basis for the admission.

 The admission colloquy must be reviewed by an attorney with the juvenile. It is not the role of the judge or others to give legal advice to the juvenile which is inherent when allowing a juvenile to waive a constitutionally protected right. If the juvenile did not review this colloquy with an attorney, the judge, master, attorney for the Commonwealth, or juvenile probation officer would have to step in and fulfill this role. This practice utilized in some judicial districts is strictly prohibited. See Comment to Rule 407.

 When the attorney for the Commonwealth recites the stipulated facts in the case, the court must determine that the facts actually meet the standard for the delinquent act(s) petitioned. If the standards are not met, the court must find on a lower-graded offense(s) or dismiss the offense(s).

Paragraph (A)(1)(c)

 This paragraph lays out the questions that the court should ask to determine if the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. The questions presented are intended to elicit thoughtful responses from the juvenile to aid the court in gathering information as to whether the juvenile understands and the waiver of an adjudicatory hearing is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made. Questions must not be asked that elicit a mere ''yes'' or ''no'' answer.

Paragraph (A)(2) & (A)(3)

 No changes were made to these paragraphs.

Paragraph (A)(4)

 Allowing withdrawals of the admission if there is a demonstration of manifest injustice was added to this paragraph. There may be instances in which the court should allow withdrawals. However, the burden of proving manifest injustice rests with the juvenile.


 No changes were made to this paragraph concerning incriminating statements. This paragraph is taken directly from the Juvenile Act. 42 Pa.C.S. § 6323(e).


 This paragraph requires the admission colloquy must be: 1) in writing; 2) reviewed and completed with the juvenile by an attorney; 3) submitted to and reviewed by the court; and 4) substantially in the following form.

Paragraph (C)(1)

 The admission colloquy must be in writing. This colloquy aids all parties in determining if the juvenile comprehends and appreciates his or her actions before the court.

Paragraph (C)(2)

 Every admission shall be reviewed by an attorney with the juvenile. It is not the role of the judge or others to give legal advice to the juvenile. A judge, master, attorney for the Commonwealth, juvenile probation officer, or other person is not privy to certain information and cannot aid the juvenile in making a knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made admission.

Paragraph (C)(3)

 The court shall review every document prior to accepting it into the record. It is anticipated that the colloquy will be given to the judge or master during the hearing. The attorney for the Commonwealth will then recite the facts of the case and the court will ask the juvenile if he or she agrees with the recitation of the facts. The court will then enter its finding into the record that there is a factual basis to the admission as required under paragraph (A)(1)(b)(ii).

 If there is a factual basis for the admission, the court will proceed into an independent inquiry as required by paragraph (A)(1)(c). After the inquiry, the court will state on the record whether the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made based on the testimony and colloquy presented to it.

Paragraph (C)(4)

 The colloquy is mandated and must be substantially in the same form. If a judicial district desires additional requirements, it must follow the procedures of Pa.R.J.C.P. 121.

Admission colloquy

 The admission colloquy is written at a fifth-grade reading level so most juveniles can read and understand the colloquy. The Committee understands that there may be exceptions. Therefore, the colloquy requires the attorney to explain the colloquy until the juvenile understands. See also Comment to Rule 407.

 If the juvenile does not understand everything contained in the colloquy or if, at any time, the court or attorney is unsure of the juvenile's understanding or believes the admission is involuntary, the court shall proceed with an adjudicatory hearing pursuant to Pa.R.J.C.P. 406.

General information

 This information gives the attorney and the court information regarding the juvenile's age and grade to assess the juvenile's ability to comprehend. It also guides the attorney as to whether the juvenile can read and speak English before reviewing the colloquy.

Knowing and voluntary admission

 This section allows the attorney to address issues related to the voluntariness or comprehensiveness of the admission. Any promises, including plea agreements, should be listed on the admission colloquy.

Understanding the admission

 To have a knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made admission, disclosure of all the rights being waived is important. If there is not full disclosure, then the juvenile does not truly understand waiver of a hearing. It is important to list all of these rights in the colloquy form to ensure: 1) the attorney has reviewed them with the juvenile prior to entering the courtroom; and 2) there is a written colloquy of these rights.

Possible consequences of adjudication of delinquency

 Prior to entering the courtroom, it is important to explain to the juvenile possible outcomes to the admission. In addition to the more severe possible consequences listed on the colloquy, the Comment to the rule provides a reference to the Pennsylvania Juvenile Collateral Consequence checklist available on the Committee's web-page.


 The three areas of appeal are disclosed to the juvenile in this section. It is important to note that all other appellate rights are also being waived when a juvenile admits to a delinquent act. This is another factor in determining whether the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made.

Lawyer's Representation and Opportunity to Speak with Guardian

 The last two questions relay that the juvenile is satisfied with the attorney and answers whether the guardians have been consulted about this admission. Whether a juvenile is satisfied with the attorney or admits without the advice of a parent is only a factor the court should consider when determining whether the admission is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 12-181. Filed for public inspection February 3, 2012, 9:00 a.m.]

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