Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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234 Pa. Code Rule 544. Reinstituting Charges Following Withdrawal or Dismissal.

Rule 544. Reinstituting Charges Following Withdrawal or Dismissal.

 (A)  When charges are dismissed or withdrawn at, or prior to, a preliminary hearing, or when a grand jury declines to indict and the complaint is dismissed, the attorney for the Commonwealth may reinstitute the charges by approving, in writing, the re-filing of a complaint with the issuing authority who dismissed or permitted the withdrawal of the charges.

 (B)  Following the re-filing of a complaint pursuant to paragraph (A), if the attorney for the Commonwealth determines that the preliminary hearing should be conducted by a different issuing authority, the attorney shall file a Rule 132 motion with the clerk of courts requesting that the president judge, or a judge designated by the president judge, assign a different issuing authority to conduct the preliminary hearing. The motion shall set forth the reasons for requesting a different issuing authority.

Comment

   This rule provides the procedures for reinstituting criminal charges following their withdrawal or dismissal at, or prior to, the preliminary hearing as provided in Rule 543, or after the complaint is dismissed when a grand jury declines to indict.

   The authority of the attorney for the Commonwealth to reinstitute charges that have been dismissed at the preliminary hearing is well established by case law. See, e.g., McNair’s Petition, 324 Pa. 48, 187 A. 498 (1936); Commonwealth v. Thorpe, 549 Pa. 343, 701 A.2d 488 (1997). This authority, however, is not unlimited. First, the charges must be reinstituted prior to the expiration of the applicable statute(s) of limitations. See Commonwealth v. Thorpe, 549 Pa. 343, 701 A.2d 488 (1997). In addition, the courts have held that the reinstitution may be barred in a case in which the Commonwealth has repeatedly rearrested the defendant in order to harass him or her, or if the rearrest results in prejudice. See Commonwealth v. Thorpe, 549 Pa. 343, 701 A.2d 488 (1997); Commonwealth v. Shoop, 420 Pa. Super. 606, 617 A.2d 351 (1992).

   The decision to reinstitute charges must be made by the attorney for the Commonwealth. Therefore, in cases in which no attorney for the Commonwealth was present at the preliminary hearing, the police officer may not re-file the complaint without the written authorization of the attorney for the Commonwealth. See Rule 507 (Approval of Police Complaints and Arrest Warrant Affidavits by Attorney for the Commonwealth—Local Option) for procedures for prior approval of complaints.

   Pursuant to paragraph (A), in the usual case, charges will be reinstituted by filing a complaint with the issuing authority who dismissed or permitted the withdrawal of the charges. However, there may be cases in which the attorney for the Commonwealth determines that a different issuing authority should conduct the preliminary hearing, such as when an error of law is made by the issuing authority in finding that the Commonwealth did not sustain its burden to establish a prima facie case. Paragraph (B) requires that, in these cases, the attorney for the Commonwealth must file a petition with the court of common pleas requesting that the president judge, or a judge designated by the president judge, assign a different issuing authority to conduct the preliminary hearing. For the procedure for requesting assignment of a different issuing authority, see Rule 132.

   See Chapter 5 Part E for the procedures governing indicting grand juries. If the attorney for the Commonwealth is reinstituting the charges after a complaint is dismissed when a grand jury had declined to indict, the complaint should be re-filed with the issuing authority with whom the original complaint was filed.

   See Chapter 5 Part F(1) for the procedures governing motions.

   Official Note

   Original Rule 123, adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965; suspended January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970. New Rule 123 adopted January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; renumbered Rule 143 September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; amended January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; amended August 9, 1994, effective January 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 142 October 8, 1999, effective January 1, 2000. New Rule 143 adopted October 8, 1999, effective January 1, 2000; renumbered Rule 544 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining new Rule 143 published with the Court’s Order at 29 Pa.B. 5509 (October 23, 1999).

   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 June 21, 2012, amendments to paragraph (A) concerning indicting grand juries published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 4153 (July 7, 2012).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 544 amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days, 42 Pa.B. 4140. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (355853) and (335953).



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