Proposed & Final Rule Changes

Discover the most recent rule changes being proposed by the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules Committee relating to criminal practice.  This page also highlights adoption of new rules and approved amendments to existing rules and comments by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.   

August 2018

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the amendment of Rule 7.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  The amendment restricts a lawyer from contacting or sending a written soliciation for obtaining professional employment when the soliciation is to a party who has been named as a defendant or respondent in a domestic relations action.  In those cases, the lawyer must wait until proof of service appears on the docket before communication wtih the named defendant or respondent. (48 Pa. Bulletin 4812, August 11, 2018).

It was ordered that all documents filed with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania that contain confidential information shall be filed in two versions, a redacted version and an unredacted version.  The order was effective January 6, 2018 and filed for public inpsection on August 3. (48 Pa. Bulletin 4615, August 4, 2018).

July 2018

The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee proposed the amendment of Rule 587 (Motions for Dismissal) to provide that this rule applies to motion to dismiss alleging a bar to prosecution under sections 109-111 of the Crimes Code in light of the holding in Commonweatlh v. Diggs, 172 A.3d 661 (2017). (See 48 Pa. Bulletin 4094, July 14, 2018).  

June 2018

Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 113.1, 206, 403, 504, 560, and 575 are amended and revisions to Comments to PA Rules of Criminal Procedure 420, 513, and 578 were approved to comply with the public access policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania regarding confidential information and documents (48 Pa. Bulletin 3575, June 16, 2018).
 

May 2018

An amendment to Rule 105 of the Rules for Continuing legal Education was proposed that would allow lawyers with an emeritus license to complete an annual CLE requirement of eight (8) hours pursuant to the rules established in Board Regulation (48 Pa. Bulletin 3076, May 26, 2018).

The Disciplinary Board gave notice that it is planning to recommend that the PA Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4 relating to misconduct be amended to declare discriminatory and harassing conoduct as misconduct when engaged in by lawyers (48 Pa. Bulletin 2936, May 19, 2018).

Effective May 1, 201, Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 113, 114, and 576 were amended to provide procedures for the use of the statewide electronic filing system as a local option for documents. Under new Criminal Rule 576.1 electronic filing is not required in every judicial district, but rather available as a local option (48 Pa. Bulletin 2759, May 12, 2018).  

April 2018

On April 7, the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee proposed the amendment of Rule 490 (Procedure for Obtaining Expungement in Summary Cases: Expungement Order) for comments.  The proposed rule was to clarify the procedures to be used for summary convictions when the defendant is under 18 years of age.  It specified that two expungement petitions would need to be filed; one filed pursuant to PA.R.J.C.P. 170 to expunge the record of the juvenile proceeding and the second would be filed pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 490 to expunge the underlying summary conviction (48 Pa. Bulletin 1930, April 7, 2018).

The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing published a proposed Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument to be used by a sentencing court to help determine the appropriate sentence within the limits established by law.  Act 2010-95 mandated the Commission to adopt a sentence risk assessment instrument.  Hearings were scheduled to accept public comment in June (48 Pa. Bulletin 2367, April 28, 2018).

March 2018

The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the amendment of Rule 490 (relating to the procedure for obtaining expungement in summary cases).  Comments regarding the proposal are due Friday, May 18.
 

February 2018

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted PA. R. Crim. Proc. 576.1 and amended Rules 113 (criminal case file and docket entries), 114 (orders and court notices-filing), and 576 (filing and service by parties).  The Final Report is published in The Pennsylvania Bulletiin (Feb. 10, 2018).

January 2018

The Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules Committee proposes the adoption of a new Rule 556.13 (procedures following execution of warrant of arrest issued following indictment), the amendment of Rule 556.11 (grand jury) and the Comment to Rules 502, 513, 516, 517, and 518.  The proposed rule commentary is published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin (Jan. 20, 2018).  


Effective January 6, 2018, Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 113.1 (filing of documents containing confidential information and confidential documents) was adopted and Rules of Criminal Procedure 560 (Information: filing and contents) and 575 (Motions and Answers) are amended and the Comment to PA R. Crim. Proc. 578 is revised (Omnibus Pretrial Motion for Relief) to assist in implementing the Court's new Public Access Policy of the Unified Jusicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts.  The Final Report published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin can be found in The Pennsylvania Bulletin (Jan.20,2018).    

The Court amended PA Rules of Criminal Procedure 140 (contempt proceedings before MDJ), 141 (appeals from contempt adjudications by MDJ), and 142 (defaults in payment of fines imposed as punishment for contempt) which shall be effective April 1, 2018.  The Final Report published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin (Jan.20, 2018).

The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvaniai the amendment of Rules 403 (contents of citation), Rule 407 (pleas in response to citation), 408 (not guilty pleas--notice of trial), 409 (guilty pleas), 411 procedures following filing of citation), Rule 412 (pleas), 413 (not guilty pleas-notice of trial), 414 (guilty pleas), 422 (pleas in response to citation), 423 (not guilty pleas-notice of trial), 424 (guilty pleas), 454 (trial in summary cases), 456 (default procedures; restittution), and 470 (license suspension).  The proposed rules were published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin (Jan. 20, 2018). 

The Court amended PA Rules of Criminal Procedure 140 (contempt proceedings before MDJ), 141 (appeals from contempt adjudications by MDJ), and 142 (defaults in payment of fines imposed as punishment for contempt) which shall be effective April 1, 2018.  The Final Report published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin (Jan.20, 2018).

The UJS Public Access Policy (hyperlinked) took effect January 6, 2018 and, as explained by the Committee’s Final Report, “[u]nder the new Policy, the burden of ensuring that the confidential information or documents are filed in the proper manner rests with the filer and the court or record custodian will not review or redact the filings.”  The various Courts chosen method for compliance may be found at this link:  Courts: Methods for Filing

Effective April 1, 2018, upon the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the Court amended Rule 462 (Trial De Novo) and revised the Comment to Rule 460 to clarify that when a petition to file a summary appeal nunc pro tunc is denied at the court of common pleas, the case remains at the common pleas level, in keeping with the Court's long-standing policy that once a case moves from a lower court to the court of common pleas the case should remain at common pleas. Accordingly, a new paragraph (F) has been added to Rule 462 that would state specifically that a late-filed appeal adjudicated at common pleas court would remain at common pleas court.  See the Final Report.