A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Order Amending Rule 1972 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure; No. 253 Appellate Procedural Rules Doc.

[45 Pa.B. 1943]
[Saturday, April 18, 2015]

Order

Per Curiam

And Now, this 1st day of April, 2015, upon the recommendation of the Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee; the proposal having been published before adoption at 43 Pa.B. 5393 (September 7, 2013):

It Is Ordered, pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1972 is amended in the following form.

This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective May 1, 2015.

Annex A

TITLE 210. APPELLATE PROCEDURE

PART I. RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE

ARTICLE II. APPELLATE PROCEDURE

CHAPTER 19. PREPARATION AND TRANSMISSION OF RECORD AND RELATED MATTERS

DISPOSITION WITHOUT REACHING THE MERITS

Rule 1972. Dispositions on Motion.

(a) Except as otherwise prescribed by this rule, subject to [Rule 123 (applications for relief)] Pa.R.A.P. 123, any party may move:

(1) To transfer the record of the matter to another court because the matter should have been commenced in, or the appeal should have been taken to, such other court. [See Rule 741 (waiver of objections to jurisdiction).] See Pa.R.A.P. 741.

(2) To transfer to another appellate court under [Rule 752 (transfers between Superior and Commonwealth Courts)] Pa.R.A.P. 752.

(3) To dismiss for want of jurisdiction in the unified judicial system of this Commonwealth.

(4) To dismiss for mootness.

(5) To dismiss for failure to preserve the question below, or because the right to an appeal has been otherwise waived. [See Rule 302 (requisites for reviewable issue) and Rule 1551(a) (review of quasijudicial orders).] See Pa.R.A.P. 302 and Pa.R.A.P. 1551(a).

(6) To continue generally or to quash because the appellant is a fugitive.

(7) To quash for any other reason appearing on the record.

Any two or more of the grounds specified in this rule may be joined in the same motion. Unless otherwise ordered by the appellate court, a motion under this rule shall not relieve any party of the duty of filing his or her briefs and reproduced records within the time otherwise prescribed [therefore] therefor. The court may grant or refuse the motion, in whole or in part; may postpone consideration thereof until argument of the case on the merits; or may make such other order as justice may require.

(b) In a children’s fast track appeal, a dispositive motion filed under [Paragraphs] subparagraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(5), (a)(6) or (a)(7) of this rule shall be filed within 10 days of the filing of the statement of errors complained of on appeal required by [Rule] Pa.R.A.P. 905(a)(2), or within 10 days of the lower court’s filing of a [Rule] Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2) opinion, whichever period expires last, unless the basis for seeking to quash the appeal appears on the record subsequent to the time limit provided herein, or except upon application and for good cause shown.

[Official Note: Based on former Supreme Court Rule 33 and former Superior Court Rule 25.

As to Paragraph (6) see, e.g. Commonwealth v. Galloway, 460 Pa. 309, 333 A.2d 741 (1975) (continuing generally), Commonwealth v. Barron, 237 Pa. Super. 369, 352 A.2d 84 (1975) (quashing). Rule 1933 (record for preliminary hearing in appellate court) makes clear the right of a moving party to obtain immediate transmission of as much of the record as may be necessary for the purposes of a motion under this rule. See Rule 123(c) (speaking applications).]

Official Note: Pa.R.A.P. 1933 makes clear the right of a moving party to obtain immediate transmission of as much of the record as may be necessary for the purposes of a motion under this rule. See Pa.R.A.P. 123(c).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 15-719. Filed for public inspection April 17, 2015, 9:00 a.m.]

April 18 at 5:44 PM
.

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

The FBI errors alone do not mean there was not other evidence of a convict’s guilt. Defendants and federal and state prosecutors in 46 states and the District are being notified to determine whether there are grounds for appeals. Four defendants were previously exonerated.

The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problemswith subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques — like hair and bite-mark comparisons — that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.

PaCapitol

Session schedule

Senate

April 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

House

April 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Bills moving

Use Of DNA: Senate Bill 683 (Pileggi-R-Delaware) relating to the use of DNA in criminal cases (sponsor summary) was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

The legislation will:

— Require post-arrest DNA samples from those arrested for serious offenses;

— Explicitly prohibit DNA samples from being used for anything other than legitimate law enforcement identification purposes;

— Establish an expungement process for the DNA records of exonerated individuals;

— Codify accreditation requirements for forensic DNA testing laboratories;

— Require continuing education for forensic DNA testing personnel; and

— Authorize the State Police to use modified DNA searches to help investigators identify unknown DNA profiles taken at crime scenes.

Disposition Of Abandoned Contraband: Senate Bill 533 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) relating to the disposition of abandoned contraband was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

College Campus Crime Reporting: Senate Bill 202 (Schwank-D-Berks) relating to reporting crimes on college campuses (sponsor summary) was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Incarcerated Parents: Senate Bill 163 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) relating to children of incarcerated parents (sponsor summary) was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.

Bill introduced

Establishing Veterans’ Courts: House Bill 887 (Bizzarro-D-Erie) and Senate Bill 517 (Teplitz-D-Dauphin) establishing veterans’ courts statewide (sponsor summary).

Public hearings

April 21– House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 124 (Delozier-R- Cumberland) further providing for protection from child abuse (sponsor summary), House Bill 410 (Hackett-R-Delaware) further providing for child custody in cases of rape (sponsor summary). Room 140. 10 a.m.

April 29– House Judiciary and Health Committees hold a joint hearing on medical cannabis protocols in other states.  Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh. 10 a.m.

(Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

Pennsylvania Commission on Judicial Independence marks 10th anniversary

Click for news release

May 30 is deadline to comment on proposed new Appellate Rule on citation of authorities

Click for report and text of proposed Rule

May 29 is deadline to comment on proposed amendments to Criminal Rule on forfeiture of collateral for restitution in summary cases

Click for report and text of proposed amendments

Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association releases friend of the court brief in challenge to death penalty moratorium

Click for report from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 April 13 at 4:29 PM
.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has halted four executions originally scheduled to take place over the next year, effectively suspending capital punishment in the state for the time being.

In an order filed Friday, the court said it was nullifying the execution dates for four inmates until a trial court weighs in on the challenges each inmate has filed against the state’s lethal injection protocol. Similarly, the court had already issued orders in recent months calling off other scheduled executions to allow for lower courts to act.

These last four executions were set to take place between October of this year and March 2016. By calling off these executions, the court canceled the final executions remaining on the calendar for Tennessee, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

This makes Tennessee just the latest state to delay all of its executions or halt any capital punishment activity this year, though the precise circumstances vary from place to place. In Pennsylvania, the governor suspended the death penalty entirely in February.

Other states are halting executions while they deal with issues involving the drugs, which have become scarce in recent years. Ohio delayed all of its executions scheduled for this year while it works out a new lethal injection protocol. Georgia says it is delaying all executions while it examines lethal injection drugs that appeared “cloudy” before an execution scheduled for last month.

This drug shortage has prompted states to adopt new lethal injection protocols and turn to other methods, which is at the heart of a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear later this month. Executions in Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama are on hold until the justices considers a challenge to Oklahoma’s lethal-injection protocol.

There are 69 people on death row in Tennessee, according to the state Department of Correction. Tennessee has not executed anyone since 2009, and over the last four decades, it has carried out six total executions, fewer than most states that still have the death penalty.

[Why the Supreme Court is considering lethal injection]

However, in recent years Tennessee has shown it wants to resume executions sooner rather than later. The state Department of Correction said in 2013 it was changing its official lethal injection method from a three-drug combination to a single drug (pentobarbital, a sedative).

That same year, Robert E. Cooper, Jr., the state’s attorney general at the time, said his office asked the state Supreme Court to set execution dates for 11 inmates on death row. One of those inmates — Olen Hutchinson — died in prison last October. Another death row inmate died the following month, and state officials said both men died of natural causes.

Last year, Tennessee became the first state to react to the ongoing shortage of lethal injection drugs by formally making another method of execution its backup. Lethal injection is still the main method of execution in Tennessee, as it is in every other state with the death penalty, but the electric chair will now be used if the state can’t obtain any drugs or if lethal injection is deemed unconstitutional by the courts.

[Utah makes firing squads that state’s backup execution method]

Tennessee had already had the electric chair available, but it had been an option only for inmates convicted of crimes that took place before Jan. 1, 1999. The new law makes the electric chair available to newer inmates. Tennessee last executed an inmate using the electric chair in 2007.

The electric chair has been used 158 times in the country since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, a small fraction of the more than 1,400 executions that have been carried out nationwide over that span.

RELATED: A guide to how states are allowed to execute inmates.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

PaCapitol

.

Sentencing Commission proposes amendments to Guidelines 

Click for text in Pennsylvania Bulletin.   Go to page 1751.

Session schedule

Senate

April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30

House

April 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13

June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Public hearings

April 14– Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 163 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) relating to children of incarcerated parents (sponsor summary),  Senate Bill 202 (Schwank-D-Berks) relating to reporting crimes on college campuses (sponsor summary), Senate Bill 683 (Pileggi-R-Delaware) relating to the use of DNA in criminal cases (sponsor summary).  Room 8E-B East Wing. 11:30 a.m..

April 29– House Judiciary and Health Committees hold a joint hearing on medical cannabis protocols in other states.  Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh. 10 a.m.

images-2

The new rules take effect on July 10.

Click for Order

Click for Rules

Click for Final Report

Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged, a Post analysis found. Most were cleared or acquitted in the cases that have been resolved.
.

On a rainy night five years ago, Officer Coleman “Duke” Brackney set off in pursuit of a suspected drunk driver, chasing his black Mazda Miata down rural Arkansas roads at speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour. When the sports car finally came to rest in a ditch, Brackney opened fire at the rear window and repeatedly struck the driver, 41-year-old James Ahern, in the back. The gunshots killed Ahern.

Prosecutors charged Brackney with felony manslaughter. But he eventually entered a plea to a lesser charge and could ultimately be left with no criminal record.

Now, he serves as the police chief in a small community 20 miles from the scene of the shooting.

Brackney is among 54 officers charged over the past decade for fatally shooting someone while on duty, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and researchers at Bowling Green State University. This analysis, based on a wide range of public records and interviews with law enforcement, judicial and other legal experts, sought to identify for the first time every officer who faced charges­ for such shootings since 2005. These represent a small fraction of the thousands of fatal police shootings that have occurred across the country in that time.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: