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234 Pa. Code Rule 620. Waiver of Jury Trial.

PART B. Non-Jury Procedures

Rule 620. Waiver of Jury Trial.

 In all cases, the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth may waive a jury trial with approval by a judge of the court in which the case is pending, and elect to have the judge try the case without a jury. The judge shall ascertain from the defendant whether this is a knowing and intelligent waiver, and such colloquy shall appear on the record. The waiver shall be in writing, made a part of the record, and signed by the defendant, the attorney for the Commonwealth, the judge, and the defendant’s attorney as a witness.


   The 1973 amendment ended the proscription, which had formerly appeared in this rule, against waiver of jury trials in capital cases. In doing so, the Court has departed from the language expressed, in the absence of specific rules to the contrary, in Commonwealth v. Petrillo, 16 A.2d 50, 56 (Pa. 1949) and Commonwealth v. Kirkland, 195 A.2d 338, 340 (Pa. 1963).

   The 1999 amendment to this rule embodies the 1998 amendment to article I, [00a7] 6 of the Pennsylvania Constitution that provides that ‘‘the Commonwealth shall have the same right to trial by jury as does the accused.’’

   It is intended that when deciding to permit a non-jury trial, the judge should take into account all relevant considerations. When the judge disapproves waiver of jury trial, the judge should state the reasons for the judge’s decision on the record. See Commonwealth v. Boyd, 467 A.2d 855 (Pa. Super. 1983) and Commonwealth v. Giaccio, 457 A.2d 875 (Pa. Super. 1983).

   While this rule continues to require a written waiver of jury trial, the form of the written waiver was deleted in 1985 because it is no longer necessary to control the specific form of written waiver by rule.

   When there are co-defendants, waiver of a jury trial with respect to one or more defendants does not preclude a jury trial for other defendants.

   Official Note

   Rule 1101 adopted January 24, 1968, effective August 1, 1968; amended March 29, 1973, effective 30 days hence; amended November 9, 1984, effective January 2, 1985; amended April 16, 1999, effective July 1, 1999; renumbered Rule 620 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the April 16, 1999 amendments concerning the 1998 Constitutional amendment published with the Court’s Order at 29 Pa.B. 2290 (May 1, 1999).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1477 (March 18, 2000).

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