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

PaCapitol

Session schedule

Five voting days remain in the current General Assembly—October 6, 7, 8, 14 ahd 15.  The House and Senate meet October 6, 7, 8, 14 and 15.  Any bills not reaching the Governor’s desk by October 15 will have to be reintroduced in January when the new General Assembly convenes.  The House and Senate will also meet on November 12.

Public hearings

October 6– Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider House Bill 764 (Watson-R-Bucks) relating to online impersonation.  Rules Committee Room.  Off the Floor.

October 6– House Judiciary Committee meets to consider House Bill 177 (Boyle-D-Montgomery) further providing for the offense of ethnic intimidation related to sexual orientation- sponsor summary.  Room 205 Ryan Building.  11:30 a.m.

October 6– Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee meets to consider House Bill 435 (Moul-R-Adams) expanding the requirements for background checks for employees working with children- a summary and House Fiscal Note are available, House Bill 1907 (Saylor-R-York) further providing for the outpatient status on insurance coverage- a summary and House Fiscal Note are available.  Room 461.  Noon.

October 7– House Gaming Oversight Committee meets to consider House Bill 2491 (Gingrich-R-Lebanon) relating to gaming self-exclusion violations– sponsor summary.  Room B-31 Main Capitol.  9:30 a.m.

October 14– House Human Services Committee holds a public hearing on mental health courts.  Room 60 East Wing. 9 a.m.

Source:  Crisci Associates PA Capitol Digest

Supreme Court provides forms and webpage for people who want to represent themselves in Family Court

Click to news release.

Cato Supreme Court Review analyses three criminal cases to be argued before SCOTUS 

Detailed discussion of three criminal cases.  Click for article.

Changes to appellate rules promulgated

The information below was provided by Carl Solano, chair of the Appellate Courts Committee.  The items in italics are the explanation by Mr. Solano.

The Supreme Court has promulgated the following amendments to Appellate Rule 1941, dealing with appeals in death penalty cases.

Death penalty appeals

THE COURTS

Title 210—APPELLATE PROCEDURE

PART I. RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE

[ 210 PA. CODE CH. 19 ]

Order Amending Rule 1941 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure; No. 249 Appellate Procedural Rules Doc.

[44 Pa.B. 6223]
[Saturday, October 4, 2014]

Order

Per Curiam

And Now, this 19th day of September, 2014, upon the recommendation of the Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee; the proposal having been submitted without publication pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(a)(3) in the interests of efficient administration:

It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1941 is adopted in the following form.

This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and the amendment herein shall be effective immediately.

Annex A

TITLE 210. APPELLATE PROCEDURE

PART I. RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE

CHAPTER 19. PREPARATION AND TRANSMISSION OF RECORD AND RELATED MATTERS

REVIEW OF DEATH SENTENCES

Rule 1941. Review of [Death Sentences] Sufficiency of the Evidence and the Propriety of the Penalty in Death Penalty Appeals.

(a) Procedure in trial court.—Upon the entry of a sentence subject to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(h) (review of death sentence) the court shall direct the official court reporter and the clerk to proceed under this chapter as if a notice of appeal had been filed 20 days after the date of entry of the sentence of death, and the clerk shall immediately give written notice of the entry of the sentence to the Administrative Office and to the Supreme Court Prothonotary’s Office. The clerk shall insert at the head of the list of documents required by [Rule] Pa.R.A.P. 1931(c) [(duty of clerk to transmit the record)] a statement to the effect that the papers are transmitted under this rule from a sentence of death.

(b) Filing and docketing in the Supreme Court.—Upon receipt by the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of the record of a matter subject to this rule, the Prothonotary shall immediately:

[(1)] 1. Enter the matter upon the docket as an appeal, with the defendant indicated as the appellant and the Commonwealth indicated as the appellee.

[(2)] 2. File the record in the Supreme Court.

[(3)] 3. Give written notice of the docket number assignment in person or by first class mail to the clerk of the [lower] trial court.

[(4)] 4. Give notice to all parties and the Administrative Office of the docket number assignment and the date on which the record was filed in the Supreme Court, and [shall]give notice to all parties of the date, if any, specially fixed by the Prothonotary pursuant to [Rule] Pa.R.A.P. 2185(b) [(notice of deferred briefing schedule)] for the filing of the brief of the appellant.

(c) Further proceedings.—Except as required by [Rule] Pa.R.A.P. 2189 or by statute, a matter subject to this rule shall proceed after docketing in the same manner as other appeals in the Supreme Court.

Official Note: Formerly the [act] Act of February 15, 1870 (P. L. 15, No. 6) required the appellate court to review the sufficiency of the evidence in certain homicide cases regardless of the failure of the appellant to challenge the matter. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Santiago, [476 Pa. 340,] 382 A.2d 1200 (Pa. 1978). [Rule] Pa.R.A.P.302 [(requisites for reviewable issue)] now provides otherwise with respect to homicide cases generally. However, under [Subdivision] paragraph (c) of this rule the procedure for automatic review of capital cases provided by 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(h) (review of death sentence) will permit an independent review of the sufficiency of the evidence in such cases. In capital cases, the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal and will automatically review (1) the sufficiency of the evidence ”to sustain a conviction for first-degree murder in every case in which the death penalty has been imposed”; (2) the sufficiency of the evidence to support the finding of at least one aggravating circumstance set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(d); and (3) the imposition of the sentence of death to ensure that it was not the product of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor. Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 902 A.2d 430, 444, 468 (Pa. 2006); 42 Pa.C.S. § 722; 42 Pa.C.S. § 9711(h)(1), (3). Any other issues from the proceedings that resulted in the sentence of death may be reviewed only if they have been preserved and if the defendant files a timely notice of appeal.

[Although Rule 702(b) (matters tried with capital offenses)] Likewise, although Pa.R.A.P. 702(b) vests jurisdiction in the Supreme Court over appeals from sentences imposed on a defendant for lesser offenses as a result of the same criminal episode or transaction where the offense is tried with the capital offense, the appeal from the lesser offenses is not automatic. Thus the right to appeal the judgment of sentence on a lesser offense will be lost unless all requisite steps are taken, including preservation of issues ([e.g.] such as by filing post-trial motions)[,] and filing a timely notice of appeal[, etc.].

See [Rule 2189 for procedure] Pa.R.A.P. 2189 for provisions specific to the production of a reproduced record in cases involving the death penalty.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-2053. Filed for public inspection October 3, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]

 Superior Court internal operating procedures

The following amendments to the Operating Procedures of the Superior Court were adopted in August and just published today.  The most interesting is that relating to composition of the court upon a remand from the Supreme Court.

THE COURTS

PART II. INTERNAL OPERATING PROCEDURES

[ 210 PA. CODE CH. 65 ]

Amendments to the Superior Court Operating Procedures

[44 Pa.B. 6223]
[Saturday, October 4, 2014]

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has adopted amendments to its published Operating Procedures. These amendments are reflected in the Superior Court Operating Procedures with amendments to Pa. Code § 65.0 et seq.

The changes to the title of Chapter 65 and § 65.5 were approved on September 11, 2013 and the changes to §§ 65.21, 65.23, 65.24 and 65.38 were approved on August 25, 2014; effective on those dates.

Annex A

TITLE 210. APPELLATE PROCEDURE

PART II. INTERNAL OPERATING PROCEDURES

CHAPTER 65. [INTERNAL] OPERATING PROCEDURES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES AND STAFF

§ 65.5. Panels.

*  *  *  *  *

F. If, following argument or submission, a member of the three judge panel assigned to decide an appeal becomes unavailable, and the remaining two judges are unable to decide the appeal, they shall request the President Judge or his/her designee to either reassign the appeal for reargument or submission before another panel, or they may request that the appeal be reargued before a court en banc. If the full court shall decline to accept the appeal for reargument before a court en banc, the President Judge or his/her designee shall reassign the same to another three judge panel for reargument or submission and decision.

G. Cases remanded to this Court from the Supreme Court for further disposition shall be returned to the panel originally assigned to the case. In the event that the original panel cannot be reconstituted, for instance as a result of retirement from the court, the president judge, in consultation with any remaining members of the merits panel, will create a new argument or submission panel depending on the nature of the remand. If an en banc case is remanded, the president judge will determine if the case can be submitted or argued to the same members of the original en banc court or whether the case should be reargued or submitted to a new en banc court which would include as many members of the original en banc panel as feasible.

MOTIONS PRACTICE

§ 65.21. Motions Review Subject to Single Judge Disposition.

*  *  *  *  *

B. All petitions for extension of time shall be referred by the Prothonotary to the motions judge. Such petitions should be acted upon as soon as possible unless the motions judge feels an answer is necessary.

1. Petitions for extension shall be granted only on cause shown and in any event the filing of the brief is required, particularly in criminal cases, even though the right to argue is lost. [Central Legal Staff shall be notified of the filing of the motion and the disposition.] However, if the petition for extension is accompanied by a substantive motion, such as a motion to quash, remand, or withdraw, Central Legal Staff shall review the motion in an expeditious manner pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section[65.21(C) herein] 65.21(D). [Whenever an order is entered granting a petition for extension of time, and the order provides that no further extensions will be granted, any subsequent petition for extension of time shall be referred by the Prothonotary to the judge who issued the original order.]

*  *  *  *  *

D. Central Legal Staff, upon receiving an application for relief pursuant to subsection C, shall review the application and prepare a recommendation and present the application and recommendation to the assigned motions judge at a time and place convenient to the motions judge. Central Legal Staff may also present recommendations for sua sponteorders deemed necessary to correct or clarify preliminary procedural matters.

*  *  *  *  *

§ 65.23. Discontinuances.

[A. Before argument or submission of a case on briefs, an appeal may be withdrawn without approval of the Court.

B. After argument or submission of a case on briefs, a petition for discontinuance is referred to the presiding judge of the panel. The panel will determine whether to grant or deny the petition.

Comment

Fugitive appeals will be quashed rather than discontinued on motion of the District Attorney or sua sponte by the Court. See Pa.R.A.P. 1972(6), Commonwealth v. Passaro, 504 Pa. 611, 476 A.2d 346 (1984).]

A. Discontinuances shall be reviewed pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1973.

B. Fugitive appeals will be quashed rather than discontinued on motion of the District Attorney or sua sponte by the Court. See Pa.R.A.P. 1972(6), Commonwealth v. Passaro, 504 Pa. 611, 476 A.2d 346 (1984).

  •  65.24. [Pro Se Policy] Hybrid Representation.

[All pro se petitions, motions, and briefs shall be filed in this Court and docketed by the Prothonotary. If the litigant himself or herself files a petition, motion, or brief and is represented by counsel, copies of the said document filed shall be forwarded to his or her counsel of record.]

Where a litigant is represented by an attorney before the Court and the litigant submits for filing a petition, motion, brief or other type of pleading in the matter, it shall not be accepted for filing, but noted on the docket and forwarded to counsel of record.

Exceptions:

1. A pro se notice of appeal received from the trial court shall be docketed, even in instances where the pro se was represented by counsel in the trial court.

2. A motion by the pro se for appointment of new counsel, for reasons such as abandonment by counsel, or to proceed pro se shall be docketed and referred to Central Legal Staff, or the merits panel if constituted, for review and further action by the Court.

3. A pro se brief or writing filed in response to counsel’s petition to withdraw from representation.

DECISIONAL PROCEDURES

§ 65.38. Petition for Reargument.

*  *  *  *  *

D. [Untimely petitions for reargument shall be referred immediately by Central Legal Staff to the President Judge for entry of an order dismissing the petition.]Following a decision by the merits panel, motions or petitions dealing with clarification, costs or sanctions, requests for publication pursuant to § 65.37, and petitions for extension of time to file an application for reargument will be referred to the merits panel for review and disposition. Untimely reargument applications shall be referred immediately by Central Legal Staff to the President Judge for entry of an order dismissing the application.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-2054. Filed for public inspection October 3, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: