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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 51 Pa.B. 1768 (March 27, 2021).

234 Pa. Code Rule 700. Sentencing Judge.

PART A. Sentencing Procedures

Rule 700. Sentencing Judge.

 (A)  Except as provided in paragraph (B), the judge who presided at the trial or who received the plea of guilty or nolo contendere shall impose sentence unless there are extraordinary circumstances which preclude the judge’s presence. In such event, another judge shall be assigned to impose sentence.

 (B)  A court may provide by local rule that sentence on a plea of guilty or nolo contendere may be imposed by a judge other than the judge who received a plea of guilty or nolo contendere. In such event, the defendant must be so notified at the time of entering the plea.


   Generally, the president judge makes assignment of judges. However, in one-judge judicial districts, or in instances in which the president judge is the one whose presence at sentencing is precluded, an appropriate assigning authority, such as the Supreme Court or the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, should assign a new judge.

   It is always desirable that the judge who accepts a plea of guilty or nolo contendere should impose sentence. It is recognized, however, that the rotation practices of many courts make it difficult in many instances for the same judge to sit in both capacities. For that reason, paragraph (B) provides that a court may set up an alternate procedure by local rule. In any event, the judge who imposes the sentence should ascertain the facts concerning the plea and the offense. See ABA Standards on Sentencing Alternatives and Procedures Section 5.1.

   Official Note

   Rule 1401 adopted July 23, 1973, effective October 23, 1973; amended June 30, 1975, effective September 28, 1975; renumbered Rule 700 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   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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