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


The House and Senate are out of session this week. They return to session on February 28.

House Bill 270 (Miccarelli, R-Delaware) concerning sexual abuse of children, is on the House Calendar. The bill clarifies sentencing for multiple offenses.

Senate Bill 79 (Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, Bucks) concerning the review of complaints, for criminal investigations and for target letters of the Judicial Conduct Board is on the Senate Calendar.

Two sex offender bills, after being approved by the Judiciary Committee, had first reading in the Senate and were referred to the Appropriations Committee. They are:

Senate Bill 42 (Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, Bucks) further providing for the registration of sexual offenders and sentencing

Senate Bill 58 (Greenleaf R-Montgomery, Bucks) further providing for duties of law enforcement agencies related to victims of sexual violence were both referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senate Bill 561, to protect the right to privacy in employee emails, was introduced on February 17 by Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre). The bill would prohibit “employer monitoring of e-mail communications unless employees have been clearly notified of the possibility of such monitoring.” The bill provides for a civil action to be brought by employees against employers who violate the law. The bill was referred to the Communications and Technology Committee.

Senate Bill 583 to prohibit the use of electronic devices while driving was introduced by Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny). The bill was referred to the Transportation Committee. Violations of the bill would be a summary offense with a penalty no greater than $100. The bill provides exceptions for emergencies, police, and hand-free telephones.

Pennsylvania Bar Association to hold hearing on the judiciary on March 16
A public hearing to examine Pennsylvania’s judiciary will be held in Harrisburg on March 16 as part of a review of the state’s Constitution by a subcommittee of the PA Bar Association Constitutional Review Commission.

The PBA Constitutional Review Commission Judiciary Subcommittee is seeking citizens’ input on the following issues:

— the judicial conduct system, including reporting judicial officials, protecting confidences and insuring quick and thorough investigations;

— judicial selection and financing judicial campaigns;

— representation of the indigent, including juveniles; and

— funding Pennsylvania’s courts so as to guarantee an effective judiciary

The hearing on March 16 will take place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg Campus, Room A180, 3800 Vartan Way, Harrisburg.

A written statement of testimony and an application to speak at a hearing must be submitted before March 2 by the individual or group wishing to present information at the hearing. The PBA Constitutional Review Commission’s Judiciary Subcommittee must approve the application and schedule the time and duration of the witness’s statement at the hearing.

For a more complete description of the forms and procedures to follow, consult the webpages of the PBA Constitutional Review Commission website. A statement of policies also is available by contacting: Lindsay Still, Pennsylvania Bar Association, 100 South Street, P.O. Box 186, Harrisburg, PA 17108 or send email to: lindsay.still@pabar.org.

Free legal research available on State and Federal court appointed cases from the Student Research Center. http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/CJResearch?appNum=4

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