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

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Session Schedule

Senate

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

House

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Bills Moving

Firearms Reciprocity Agreements: House Bill 1287 (Metcalfe-R-Butler) further providing for reciprocity agreements was reported out of the House Rules Committee and Tabled.

Sanctuary Cities: House Bill 1885 (White-R-Philadelphia) further providing for exemptions from municipal immunity related to sanctuary cities (sponsor summary) was reported out of the House State Government Committee and Tabled.

Local Gun Ordinances: House Bill 2258 (M.Keller-R- Cumberland) state preemption of local firearms ordinances (sponsor summary) was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee and Tabled.

Child Abuse: Senate Bill 1311 (Vance-R-Cumberland) relating to adoption and child abuse was amended and reported out of the House Judiciary Committee and Tabled.

Meth Lab Real Estate Disclosures: House Bill 2008 (Sonney-R-Erie) and House Bill 2009 (Sonney-R-Erie) requiring real estate disclosures concerning meth labs (sponsor summary) were reported out of the House Rules Committee.  House Bill 2008 was amended on the House Floor and both bills were referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Public Hearings

September 26– Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 869 (Folmer-R-Lebanon) providing for civil asset forfeiture reform; House Bill 1070 (D.Costa-D-Allegheny) relating to restitution at the county level (House Fiscal Note and summary), House Bill 1496 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) increasing penalties for felons possessing firearms (House Fiscal Note and summary),  House Bill 1497 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) relating to juvenile felons and drug dealers (House Fiscal Note and summary). Room 8E-B, East Wing. 11:30 a.m.

September 27– Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee meets to consider House Bill 2058 (Farry-R-Bucks) authorizing blood draws by EMTs in DUI cases  (House Fiscal Note and summary).  Room 461 Main Capitol. 10 a.m.

September 27– House Gaming Oversight Committee holds a hearing reviewing states which currently have fantasy sports and/or iGaming.  Room G-50 Irvis Building.  9 a.m.

Governor to address Joint Session of the House and Senate on opioid and heroin crisis.

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Governor Tom Wolf

Click for report from newsworks.org.

(The information above is from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest.)

State Representative Jason Dawkins to address Special Open Meeting of Executive Committee on October 5.

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Representative Jason Dawkins

 

Representative. Dawkins is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.  He will be attending to hear our membership’s concerns about the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania.  October 5, 12:30 p.m., 10th Floor Board Room, Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street.

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Supreme Court seeks applicants for committees.  First vacancies to be posted online on October 3.

Click for news release.

The items below are from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest.

Governor calls for “joint” (not special) session of General Assembly to address opioid heroin crisis

Governor Wolf Friday “respectfully requested” a Joint Session of the General Assembly (not a Special Session) on the opioid and heroin crisis at a time that is convenient for the House and Senate this Fall.

After extensive conversations throughout the summer, Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders decided that the most timely and efficient way to make progress in the fight against the opioid epidemic would be to call a Joint Session, rather than a special session as previously discussed.

A special session would require bills to be reintroduced with co-sponsor memos to be circulated, and each new bill would take a minimum of six legislative days to reach the Governor’s desk.

For more information, read “Why Gov. Tom Wolf Called a Joint Session to Address the Opioid Epidemic.”

Together with the legislature, Governor Wolf said his Administration has made great strides in battling this epidemic. The 2016-2017 budget provided funding to implement 45 centers of excellence (COE) throughout the commonwealth that will treat nearly 11,000 people with substance use disorder.

These centers will work with those suffering from the disease of addiction to make sure they get the comprehensive, holistic treatment they need to beat their disease.

Last month, the Department of Health went live with the newly re-designed Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that will allow prescribers and dispensers to query and report information regarding the number of opioids prescribed, and to whom.

The Administration also recently announced new prescribing guidelines for the safe and effective use of opioids in order to reduce the pattern of over-prescribing painkillers that have a high risk for abuse. These guidelines will help fight back against opioid abuse and heroin use before those habits even begin.

Under the Department of Drug and Alcohol Program’s leadership, Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program is helping communities properly dispose of unused and unwanted prescriptions.

To date, there are nearly 520 take-back boxes located at police stations across Pennsylvania. Since 2015, more than 145,000 pounds of prescription drugs were taken back and destroyed.

Substance use disorder affects people all across the commonwealth and that is why the search for effective solutions enjoys broad bipartisan support. Together with the legislature, Gov. Wolf said his Administration will continue to fight to make sure Pennsylvanians have the resources we need to get our arms around this crisis.

Legislative support grows for limiting opioid use

Click for report from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Judicial retirement question to be on November ballot

Click for report from philly.com

Session schedule

SENATE

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

HOUSE

September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Public hearing

September 20– House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 2258 (M.Keller-R-Cumberland) state preemption of local firearms ordinances (sponsor summary), Room 140, 10 a.m.

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Happy Autumn

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October 21 is deadline to comment on proposed changes to Appellate Rules 905, 1922 and 1925 concerning Notice of Appeal, Ordering of Transcripts and Statement of Errors Complained Of On Appeal

Click for report

The information below is from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest

Session Schedule

Senate

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

House

September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Public Hearings

September 13– House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 2135 (Dawkins-D-Philadelphia) relating to parole eligibility for individuals with life sentences (sponsor summary). Temple University, Shusterman Hall, Philadelphia.  10 a.m..

September 15– House Transportation Committee holds a hearing on DUI Task Force On Drugged Driving.  Gwynedd Mercy University, Julia Ball Auditorium, 1325 Sumneytown Pike, Gwynedd Valley, Montgomery County. 10 a.m.

 

 

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To all court appointed counsel:

President Judge Shelia Woods-Skipper has invited four attorneys (the four of us are listed below) to sit on a committee with a number of judges to study and recommend changes in the guaranteed fee system for the payment of court appointed attorneys. We know there are have been many problems with the system in the last number of years, not the least of which is that we haven’t received a raise in our fees since the 1990s (with the exception of capital homicide cases).

The judges asked that the four of us form a subcommittee to work on revisions to the system, and to that end we are writing to you to ask for any suggestions on how to improve the system from how it stands now. During our first large committee meeting with the judges it was clear that all agree that a raise is in order, it is just a matter of how much to increase the fees, and how certain legal work in court should be billed and paid. As the city is now responsible for paying all court appointed attorneys for their services, city input is of course vital.

On our committee representing the city is Judge Benjamin Lerner in his new role as Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice for the City of Philadelphia and his Director of Policy, Planning and Administration, Julie Wertheimer. It would seem that at this time the city is open to revamping the guaranteed fee system and increasing the rate of pay. This is very good news of course.

Our focus will be on a number of areas:

1. What should the rates be for different court events? (i.e. same prep-rate for smart room plea vs. trial room plea? A different prep rate for majors cases vs. felony waiver type cases?)

2. What work in court is compensable and what is not? (i.e. currently not being compensated for litigating motions to suppress and other pretrial motions when we should be.)

3. A focus on actual compensation to reflect the reality of the legal work we do on a case.

4. Insuring whatever new rates are adopted are automatically adjusted for inflation at regular intervals going forward.

The examples we give are of course only the tip of the iceberg. We are requesting your help to make this a fairer and better system that benefits all, including our clients. To that end please send us your input and ideas and rate suggestions. Please don’t use this opportunity to go on a tirade about how bad things are, we all know it, believe me. We need good ideas and justifications for those ideas to make these improvements and increases work, and have them seen as necessary and reasonable.

In addition please note the judges in Family Court have set up their own sub-committee to study the changes that should be made to the fee structures in Family Court and any questions with the delinquency and dependency court appointed guaranteed fee system representation should be directed to them. Please respond to phillycourtappointments@gmail.com by Friday, September 16, 2016, with your input so that we can convey your ideas and concerns at our next committee meeting. Thank you in advance for your input.

Sincerely,

James Berardinelli

Kathryn Coviello-Cacciamani

David Rudenstein

David Walker

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In Re: Order Revising the Comment to Rule 500 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, No. 479 Criminal Procedural Rules Docket  (Preservation of testimony after initiation of criminal proceedings)

Click for Order

Click for Rule

Click for Final Report

Life & Legacy: An Analysis of the Opinions of Justice Louis D. Brandeis set for September 7

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the confirmation of Justice Louis D. Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Louis D. Brandeis Law Society and the Philadelphia Bar Association present this evening CLE program with Professor Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center.    Click for registration.

Constitutional Amendment to raise judicial retirement age to 75 on November ballot

Click for report from Associated Press

Click for Order from Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

The information below is from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest

Bruce Beemer sworn in as Attorney General

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Bruce Beemer was sworn in Tuesday as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General by Chief Justice Thomas Saylor literally minutes after the Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination by Gov. Wolf.

Beemer, former PA Inspector General and First Deputy Attorney General, takes over from Bruce Castor who held the office only 14 days after the conviction and resignation of Kathleen Kane.

 

Session Schedule

Senate

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

House

September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Public meeting

September 7-8– Commission On Sentencing. Location To Be Announced. (formal notice)

 

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Confirmation vote on new Attorney General set for Tuesday

The Senate Thursday announced it is returning to session Tuesday to confirm Bruce Beemer as Attorney General, replacing Acting Attorney General Bruce Castor.  The Senate held a brief non-voting session day August 23 to accept Beemer’s nomination from Gov. Wolf.

Session Schedule

Senate

August 30

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

House

September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Public Meeting

September 7-8– Commission On Sentencing. Location To Be Announced. (formal notice)

(The information above is from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest)

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Supreme Court Order on Judicial assignments

Click for Order

The items below are from Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest

Session schedule

Senate

September 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 16

House

September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

October 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

November 14, 15

Sentencing Commission to meet September 7-8.  Location To Be Announced. (formal notice)

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