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

PaCapitolNew Criminal Procedure Rules take effect on October 1

New rules 840 through 845, amended rules 568, 800, 807 and 809, and revision to the comments on rule 808.  Among areas covered by the new rules are notice of mental infirmity in death penalty cases.

Click for text of Rules

Click for Order

Click for Final Report

Session schedule

The House and Senate meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Legal Services and Wiretapping bills pass House

House Bill 1337 (Toohil-R-Luzerne) increasing the surcharge on court costs to be used for the PA Legal Aid Network was passed by the House.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available. [Note: The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the bill at their October 1 meeting.]

House Bill 1356 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) preventing the sunset of the state wiretapping law was passed by the House.  The bill now goes to the Senate for action.  A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 207 (Godshall-R- Montgomery) related to providing for confidentiality of certain autopsy information.  Click for summary

Senate Appropriations Committee

Last week the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth approved a package of bills concerning child abuse.  These bills will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 30.

Of special concern is Senate Bill 21, which expands the category of persons who must report suspected child abuse.  The original version of the bill removed the exception for attorneys from the list of mandated reporters.   The latest amended version exempts attorneys by making reference to the Rules of Professional Conduct.  It is not clear whether the latest amended version weakens the exception under the existing statute.

The bills to be considered are Senate Bill 20 (Washington-D- Philadelphia) updates the definition of “child abuse” and provides exclusions.  Click for summary,  Senate Bill 21 (Ward-R-Westmoreland) clarifies who is a “mandatory reporter” of child abuse.  Click for  summarySenate Bill 22 (Ward-R-Westmoreland)  increases penalties for failure to report child abuse.  Click for summarySenate Bill 23 (Baker-R-Luzerne) updates the definition of “perpetrator” and expands definition of “person responsible for a child’s welfare.”   Click for summary,

Senate Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 28 (Browne-R-Lehigh) related to child protection and assaults.  Click for summary.   Senate Bill 894 (Alloway-R-Franklin) requiring background checks of individuals applying for admission to the PA Bar.  Click for summary.  Senate Bill 1014 (Rafferty-R-Montgomery) increasing the penalties for arson.  Click for summary.   House Bill 79 (Harper-R-Montgomery) increasing the retirement age of judges. Click for summary;.  House Bill 164 (Stephens-R-Montgomery) further providing for the offense of cruelty to animals.  Click for summary.  House Bill 1337 (Toohil-R-Luzerne) providing additional funding for Pennsylvania Legal Services.  Click for summary.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nominations of Edward Burke, Leslie Grey and Lloyd White to the PA Board of Probation and Parole;


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