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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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234 Pa. Code Rule 103. Definitions.

PART A. Business of the Courts


Rule 103. Definitions.

 The following words and phrases, when used in any Rule of Criminal Procedure, shall have the following meanings:

   ADVANCED COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY is any communication equipment that is used as a link between parties in physically separate locations, and includes, but is not limited to: systems providing for two-way simultaneous communication of image and sound; closed-circuit television; telephone and facsimile equipment; and electronic mail.

   ADVANCED COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY SITE is any approved location within Pennsylvania designated by the president judge, or the president judge’s designee, with advanced communication technology equipment that is available for parties in a criminal matter to communicate with others in physically separate locations as provided in these rules.

   AFFIANT is any responsible person capable of taking an oath who signs, swears to, affirms, or, when permitted by these rules, verifies a complaint and appreciates the nature and quality of that person’s act.

   ARRAIGNMENT is the pretrial proceeding in the court of common pleas conducted pursuant to Rule 571.

   BAIL is the security or other guarantee required and given for the release of a person, conditioned upon a written undertaking, in the form of a bail bond, that the person will appear when required and comply with all conditions set forth in the bail bond.

   BAIL AUTHORITY is the magisterial district judge, magistrate, Philadelphia arraignment court magistrate, or the judge with jurisdiction over the case who is authorized by law to set, modify, revoke, or deny bail.

   CAPITAL CASE or CRIME is one in or for which the death penalty may be imposed.

   CARRIER SERVICE includes, but is not limited to, delivery by companies such as Federal Express or United Parcel Service, or a local courier service, and courthouse interoffice mail. The courthouse interoffice mail is a method of delivery used in some judicial districts for transmittal of documents between offices in the courthouse, and between the courthouse and other county facilities, including the county jail facility.

   CLERK OF COURTS is that official, without regard to that person’s title, in each judicial district who, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § §  2756 and 2757, has the responsibility and function to maintain the official criminal case file and list of docket entries, and to perform such other duties as required by rule or law.

   COLLATERAL is cash or a cash equivalent deposited in summary cases.

   COPY is an exact duplicate of an original document, including any required signatures, produced through mechanical or electronic means, and includes, but is not limited to: carbon copies; copies reproduced by using a photocopy machine, by transmission using facsimile equipment, or by scanning into and printing out of a computer.

   COURT is a court of record.

   COURT ADMINISTRATOR is that official in each judicial district who has the responsibility for case management and such other responsibilities as provided by the court.

   COURT CASE is a case in which one or more of the offenses charged is a misdemeanor, felony, or murder of the first, second, or third degree.

   CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS include all actions for the enforcement of the Penal Laws.

   INDICTMENT is the instrument holding the defendant for court after a grand jury votes to indict and authorizing the attorney for the Commonwealth to prepare an information.

   INFORMATION is a formal written statement charging the commission of an offense signed and presented to the court by the attorney for the Commonwealth after a defendant is held for court, is indicted by the grand jury, or waives the preliminary hearing or a grand jury proceeding.

   ISSUING AUTHORITY is any public official having the power and authority of a magistrate, a Philadelphia arraignment court magistrate, or a magisterial district judge.

   LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER is any person who is by law given the power to enforce the law when acting within the scope of that person’s employment.

   MOTION includes any challenge, petition, application, or other form of request for an order or relief.

   ORDINANCE is a legislative enactment of a political subdivision.

   PENAL LAWS include all statutes and embodiments of the common law which establish, create, or define crimes or offenses, including any ordinances which may provide for imprisonment upon conviction or upon failure to pay a fine or penalty.

   POLICE OFFICER is any person who is by law given the power to arrest when acting within the scope of the person’s employment.

   POLITICAL SUBDIVISION shall mean county, city, township, borough, or incorporated town or village having legislative authority.

   PRELIMINARY ARRAIGNMENT is the proceeding following an arrest conducted before an issuing authority pursuant to Rule 540 or Rule 1003(D).

   SEALED VERDICT is a verdict unanimously agreed upon by the jury, completed, dated, and signed by the foreman of the jury, and closed to open view.

   SECURITY shall include cash, certified check, money order, personal check, or guaranteed arrest bond or bail bond certificate.

   SIGNATURE, when used in reference to documents generated by the minor judiciary or court of common pleas, includes a handwritten signature, a copy of a handwritten signature, a computer generated signature, or a signature created, transmitted, received, or stored by electronic means, by the signer or by someone with the signer’s authorization, unless otherwise provided in these rules.

   SUMMARY CASE is a case in which the only offense or offenses charged are summary offenses.

   VOIR DIRE is the examination and interrogation of prospective jurors.

Comment

   The definitions of arraignment and preliminary arraignment were added in 2004 to clarify the distinction between the two proceedings. Although both are administrative proceedings at which the defendant is advised of the charges and the right to counsel, the preliminary arraignment occurs shortly after an arrest before a member of the minor judiciary, while an arraignment occurs in the court of common pleas after a case is held for court and an information is filed.

   The definition of indictment was amended in 2012 consistent with the adoption of the new indicting grand jury rules in Chapter 5 Part E. Under the new rules, the indictment is the functional equivalent of an issuing authority’s order holding the defendant for court and that forms the basis for the information that is prepared by the attorney for the Commonwealth. Formerly, an indictment was defined as a bill of indictment that has been approved by a grand jury and properly returned to court, or which has been endorsed with a waiver as provided in former Rule 215.

   

   The definition of information was added to the rules as part of the implementation of the 1973 amendment to PA. CONST. art. I, §  10, permitting the substitution of informations for indictments. The term ‘‘information’’ as used here should not be confused with prior use of the term in Pennsylvania practice as an instrument which served the function now fulfilled by the complaint.

   The definitions of bail authority and issuing authority were amended in 2005 to reflect the provisions of Act 207 of 2004 that changed the phrase ‘‘district justice’’ to ‘‘magisterial district judge,’’ effective January 29, 2005. See also the Court’s January 6, 2005 Order providing that any reference to ‘‘district justice’’ in a court rule shall be deemed a reference to a ‘‘magisterial district judge.’’

   The definitions of ‘‘bail authority’’ and ‘‘issuing authority’’ were amended in 2009 to reflect the provisions of Act 98 of 2008 that changed the phrase ‘‘bail commissioner’’ to ‘‘arraignment court magistrate,’’ effective December 8, 2008. See also the Court’s January 21, 2009 Order providing that any reference to ‘‘bail commissioner’’ in a court rule shall be deemed a reference to an ‘‘arraignment court magistrate.’’

   Neither the definition of law enforcement officer nor the definition of police officer gives the power of arrest to any person who is not otherwise given that power by law.

   See Rule 1036 for the definition of hearing officers of the Philadelphia Municipal Court Traffic Division as ‘‘issuing authorities’’ for limited purposes specified in the rule.

   The definition of signature was added in 2004 to make it clear when a rule requires a document generated by the minor judiciary or court of common pleas to include a signature or to be signed, that the signature may be in any of the forms provided in the definition. In addition, documents that institute proceedings or require the inclusion of an oath ordinarily are not documents generated by the minor courts or courts of common pleas and therefore any signature required on the document would not be included in this definition of signature; however, in the event such a document is generated by the minor courts or the courts of common pleas, the form of ‘‘signature’’ on this document is limited to handwritten, and the other forms of signature provided in the definition are not permitted.

   Included in Chapter 5 Part C of the rules are additional definitions of words and phrases that apply specifically to bail in criminal cases. See, e.g., Rule 524, which defines the types of release on bail.

   Official Note

   Previous Rules 3 and 212 adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965, suspended January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; present Rule 3 adopted January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; amended June 8, 1973, effective July 1, 1973; amended February 15, 1974, effective immediately; amended June 30, 1977, effective September 1, 1977; amended January 4, 1979, effective January 9, 1979; amended July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; January 1, 1986 effective date extended to July 1, 1986; amended August 12, 1993, effective September 1, 1993; amended February 27, 1995, effective July 1, 1995; amended September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective date extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective date extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 103 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002; amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; amended April 30, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; amended August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005; amended February 4, 2005, effective immediately; amended May 6, 2009, effective immediately; amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days; Comment revised May 7, 2014, effective immediately.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Report explaining the August 12, 1993 amendments published at 22 Pa.B. 3826 (July 25, 1992).

   Final Report explaining the February 27, 1995 amendments published with the Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 935 (March 18, 1995).

   Final Report explaining the September 13, 1995 amendments published with Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

   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 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 March 3, 2004 amendments defining carrier service, clerk of courts, court administrator, and motion published with the Court’s Order at 34 Pa.B. 1561 (March 20, 2004).

   Final Report explaining the April 30, 2004 amendments defining ‘‘signature’’ published with the Court’s Order at 34 Pa.B. 2542 (May 15, 2004).

   Final Report explaining the August 24, 2004 amendments adding definitions of arraignment and preliminary arraignment published with the Court’s Order at 34 Pa.B. 5025 (September 11, 2004).

   Final Report explaining the February 4, 2005 amendments modifying the definitions of bail authority and issuing authority published with the Court’s Order at 35 Pa.B. 1333 (February 19, 2005).

   Final Report explaining the May 6, 2009 amendments modifying the definitions of bail authority and issuing authority published with the Court’s Order at 39 Pa.B. 2567 (May 23, 2009).

   Final Report explaining the June 21, 2012 amendments modifying the definitions of ‘‘indictment’’ and ‘‘information’’ published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 4153 (July 7, 2012).

   Final Report explaining the May 7, 2014 revision of the Comment cross-referencing the Rule 1036 limited definition of Philadelphia Municipal Court Traffic Division hearing officers as ‘‘issuing authorities’’ published with the Court’s Order at 44 Pa.B. 3056 (May 24, 2014).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 103 amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2582; amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1547; amended April 30, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 2541; amended August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005, 34 Pa.B. 5016; amended February 4, 2005, effective immediately, 35 Pa.B. 1331; amended May 22, 2009, effective immediately, 39 Pa.B. 2567; amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days, 42 Pa.B. 4140; amended May 7, 2014, effective immediately, 44 Pa.B. 3056. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (361811) to (361814).



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