Rule 513. Requirements for Issuance; Dissemination of Arrest Warrant Information.
(A) For purposes of this rule, arrest warrant information is defined as the criminal complaint in cases in which an arrest warrant is issued, the arrest warrant, any affidavit(s) of probable cause, and documents or information related to the case.
(B) ISSUANCE OF ARREST WARRANT
(1) In the discretion of the issuing authority, advanced communication technology may be used to submit a complaint and affidavit(s) for an arrest warrant and to issue an arrest warrant.
(2) No arrest warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by one or more affidavits sworn to before the issuing authority in person or using advanced communication technology. The issuing authority, in determining whether probable cause has been established, may not consider any evidence outside the affidavits.
(3) Immediately prior to submitting a complaint and affidavit to an issuing authority using advanced communication technology, the affiant must personally communicate with the issuing authority in person, by telephone, or by any device which allows for simultaneous audio-visual communication. During the communication, the issuing authority shall verify the identity of the affiant, and orally administer an oath to the affiant. In any telephonic communication, if the issuing authority has a concern regarding the identity of the affiant, the issuing authority may require the affiant to communicate by a device allowing for two-way simultaneous audio-visual communication or may require the affiant to appear in person.
(4) At any hearing on a motion challenging an arrest warrant, no evidence shall be admissible to establish probable cause for the arrest warrant other than the affidavits provided for in paragraph (B)(2).
(C) DELAY IN DISSEMINATION OF ARREST WARRANT INFORMATION
The affiant or the attorney for the Commonwealth may request that the availability of the arrest warrant information for inspection and dissemination be delayed. The arrest warrant affidavit shall include the facts and circumstances that are alleged to establish good cause for delay in inspection and dissemination.
(1) Upon a finding of good cause, the issuing authority shall grant the request and order that the availability of the arrest warrant information for inspection and dissemination be delayed for a period of 72 hours or until receipt of notice by the issuing authority that the warrant has been executed, whichever occurs first. The 72-hour period of delay may be preceded by an initial delay period of not more than 24 hours, when additional time is required to complete the administrative processing of the arrest warrant information before the arrest warrant is issued. The issuing authority shall complete the administrative processing of the arrest warrant information prior to the expiration of the initial 24-hour period.
(2) Upon the issuance of the warrant, the 72-hour period of delay provided in paragraph (C)(1) begins.
(3) In those counties in which the attorney for the Commonwealth requires that complaints and arrest warrant affidavits be approved prior to filing as provided in Rule 507, only the attorney for the Commonwealth may request a delay in the inspection and dissemination of the arrest warrant information.
This rule was amended in 2013 to add provisions concerning the delay in inspection and dissemination of arrest warrant information. Paragraph (A) provides a definition of the term arrest warrant information that is used throughout the rule. Paragraph (B) retains the existing requirements for the issuance of arrest warrants. Paragraph (C) establishes the procedures for a temporary delay in the inspection and dissemination of arrest warrant information prior to the execution of the warrant.
ISSUANCE OF ARREST WARRANTS
Paragraph (B)(1) recognizes that an issuing authority either may issue an arrest warrant using advanced communication technology or order that the law enforcement officer appear in person to apply for an arrest warrant.
This rule does not preclude oral testimony before the issuing authority, but it requires that such testimony be reduced to an affidavit prior to issuance of a warrant. All affidavits in support of an application for an arrest warrant must be sworn to before the issuing authority prior to the issuance of the warrant. The language sworn to before the issuing authority contemplates, when advanced communication technology is used, that the affiant would not be in the physical presence of the issuing authority. See paragraph (B)(3).
All affidavits and applications filed pursuant to this rule are public records. However, in addition to restrictions placed by law and rule on the disclosure of confidential information, the filings required by this rule are subject to the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and may require further precautions, such as placing certain types of information in a Confidential Information Form. See Rule 113.1.
This rule carries over to the arrest warrant the requirement that the evidence presented to the issuing authority be reduced to writing and sworn to, and that only the writing is subsequently admissible to establish that there was probable cause. In these respects, the procedure is similar to that applicable to search warrants. See Rule 203. For a discussion of the requirement of probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant, see Commonwealth v. Flowers, 369 A.2d 362 (Pa. Super. 1976).
The affidavit requirements of this rule are not intended to apply when an arrest warrant is to be issued for noncompliance with a citation, with a summons, or with a court order.
An affiant seeking the issuance of an arrest warrant, when permitted by the issuing authority, may use advanced communication technology as defined in Rule 103.
When advanced communication technology is used, the issuing authority is required by this rule to (1) determine that the evidence contained in the affidavit(s) establishes probable cause, and (2) verify the identity of the affiant.
Verification methods include, but are not limited to, a call back system, in which the issuing authority would call the law enforcement agency or police department that the affiant indicates is the entity seeking the warrant; a signature comparison system whereby the issuing authority would keep a list of the signatures of the law enforcement officers whose departments have advanced communication technology systems in place, and compare the signature on the transmitted information with the signature on the list; or an established password system.
Under Rule 540, the defendant receives a copy of the warrant and supporting affidavit at the time of the preliminary arraignment.
See Rule 556.11 for the procedures for the issuance of an arrest warrant by the supervising judge of an indicting grand jury following indictment of an individual not previously arrested.
DELAY IN DISSEMINATION OF ARREST WARRANT INFORMATION
Paragraph (C) was added in 2013 to address the potential dangers to law enforcement and the general public and the risk of flight when arrest warrant information is disseminated prior to the execution of the arrest warrant. The paragraph provides that the affiant or the attorney for the Commonwealth may request, for good cause shown, the delay in the inspection and dissemination of the arrest warrant information for 72 hours or until receipt of notice by the issuing authority that the warrant has been executed, whichever occurs first. Upon a finding of good cause, the issuing authority must delay the inspection and dissemination.
The request for delay in inspection and dissemination is intended to provide a very limited delay in public access to arrest warrant information in those cases in which there is concern that pre-execution disclosure of the existence of the arrest warrant will endanger those serving the warrant or will impel the subject of the warrant to flee. This request is intended to be an expedited procedure with the request submitted to an issuing authority.
A request for the delay in dissemination of arrest warrant information made in accordance with this rule is not subject to the requirements of Rule 576.
Once the issuing authority receives notice that the arrest warrant is executed, or when 72 hours have elapsed from the issuance of the warrant and the warrant has not been executed, whichever occurs first, the information must be available for inspection or dissemination unless the information is sealed pursuant to Rule 513.1.
The provision in paragraph (C)(2) that provides up to 24 hours in the delay of dissemination and inspection prior to the issuance of the arrest warrant recognizes that, in some cases, there may be administrative processing of the arrest warrant request that results in a delay between when the request for the 72-hour period of delay permitted in paragraph (C)(1) is approved and when the warrant is issued. In no case may this additional period of delay exceed 24 hours and the issuing authority must issue the arrest warrant within the 24-hour period.
When determining whether good cause exists to delay inspection and dissemination of the arrest warrant information, the issuing authority must consider whether the presumption of openness is rebutted by other interests that include, but are not limited to, whether revealing the information would allow or enable flight or resistance, the need to protect the safety of police officers executing the warrant, the necessity of preserving the integrity of ongoing criminal investigations, and the availability of reasonable alternative means to protect the interest threatened by disclosure.
Nothing in this rule is intended to limit the dissemination of arrest warrant information to court personnel as needed to perform their duties. Nothing in this rule is intended to limit the dissemination of arrest warrant information to or by law enforcement as needed to perform their duties.
Pursuant to paragraph (C)(3), in those counties in which the district attorneys approval is required only for certain, specified offenses or grades of offenses, the approval of the district attorney is required for a request to delay inspection and dissemination only for cases involving those specified offenses.
The provisions of this Rule 513 amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2582; amended December 23, 2013, effective March 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 239; amended November 9, 2017, effective January 1, 2018, 47 Pa.B. 7177; amended June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 3575; amended November 27, 2018, effective March 1, 2019, 48 Pa.B. 7626; amended December 1, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 7622. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (395157) to (395160).
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