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234 Pa. Code Rule 621. Procedure When Jury Trial is Waived.

Rule 621. Procedure When Jury Trial is Waived.

 (A)  When a jury trial is waived, the trial judge shall determine all questions of law and fact and render a verdict which shall have the same force and effect as a verdict of a jury.

 (B)  At any time before the commencement of trial, a waiver of a jury trial or the judge’s approval thereof may be withdrawn.


   The 1999 amendment conforms this rule to the 1998 amendment to article I, §  6 of the Pennsylvania Constitution providing that ‘‘the Commonwealth shall have the same right to trial by jury as does the accused.’’

   Paragraph (B) was amended in 1999 to make it clear that the defendant, the attorney for the Commonwealth, or the judge may unilaterally withdraw the jury trial waiver or the approval at any time before the commencement of trial. Concerning the time when trial commences, see Commonwealth v. Dowling, 598 Pa. 611, 619-620, 959 A.2d 910, 915 (2008) (holding that ‘‘trial commences for purposes of Pa.R.Crim.P. 621(B), when a court has begun to hear motions which have been reserved for the time of trial; when oral arguments have commenced; or when some other such substantive first step in the trial has begun’’). After commencement of trial, Rule 605 governs.

   Paragraph (c) was deleted in 1999 to permit the defendant and the attorney for the Commonwealth to waive a jury trial with the court’s approval, under Rule 620, even after the withdrawal of a previous jury trial waiver.

   When there are co-defendants, withdrawal of a waiver, or withdrawal of the judge’s approval, with respect to one or more defendants does not preclude a waiver and non-jury trial for other defendants.

   Official Note

   Rule 1102 adopted January 24, 1968, effective August 1, 1968; amended April 16, 1999, effective July 1, 1999; renumbered Rule 621 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised January 9, 2012, effective February 1, 2012.

   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. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the January 9, 2012 Comment revision adding a citation to Commonwealth v. Dowling published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 546 (January 28, 2012).


   The provisions of this Rule 621 amended January 9, 2012, effective February 1, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 545. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (264314) and (318663).

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