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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 02-1475



[234 PA. CODE CH. 10]

Order Amending Rule 1013; No. 283 Criminal Procedural Rules; Doc. No. 2

[32 Pa.B. 4122]

   The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee has prepared a Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule of Criminal Procedure 1013 (Prompt Trial--Municipal Court). The amendments expand the time for trial in Philadelphia Municipal Court from within 120 days after the preliminary arraignment to 180 days. The Final Report follows the Court's Order.


Per Curiam:

   Now, this 8th day of August, 2002, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the proposal having been submitted without publication in the interests of justice pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(a)(3), and a Final Report to be published with this Order:

   It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rule of Criminal Procedure 1013 is amended as follows.

   This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(b), and shall be effective January 1, 2003.

Annex A



Rule 1013.  Prompt Trial--Municipal Court.

   (A) (1)  Trial in a Municipal Court case in which a preliminary arraignment is held after June 30, 1974, but before July 1, 1975, shall commence no later than 210 days from the date on which the preliminary arraignment is held.

   (2)  Trial in a Municipal Court case [in which a preliminary arraignment is held after June 30, 1975] shall commence no later than [120] 180 days from the date on which the preliminary arraignment is held.

   (3)  Trial in a Municipal Court case in which the defendant appears pursuant to a summons shall commence no later than [120] 180 days from the date on which the complaint is filed.

*      *      *      *      *

   (C)  (1)(a)  At any time prior to the expiration of the period for commencement of trial, the attorney for the Commonwealth may apply to the Court orally or in writing for an order extending the time for commencement of trial. The defendant shall have the right to be heard on the Commonwealth's motion.

   (b)  If the motion is in writing, a copy shall be served upon the defendant through [his] the defendant's attorney, if any.

*      *      *      *      *

   Official Note:  Rule 6013 adopted June 28, 1974, effective prospectively as set forth in paragraphs (A)(1) and (A)(2) of this rule; amended July 1, 1980, effective August 1, 1980; amended October 22, 1981, effective January 1, 1982; the amendment to paragraph (D) as it regards exclusion of defense-requested continuances was specifically made effective as to continuances requested on or after January 1, 1982, and [new] paragraph (H), which provides the time for retrials, was specifically made effective as to retrials required by orders entered on or after January 1, 1982; amended September 3, 1993, effective January 1, 1994; renumbered Rule 1013 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended August 8, 2002, effective January 1, 2003.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

*      *      *      *      *

   Final Report explaining the August 8, 2002 amendments to paragraphs (A)(2) and (A)(3) expanding the time for trial from 120 days to 180 days published with the Court's Order at 32 Pa.B. 4124 (August 24, 2002).


Amendments to Pa.R.Crim.P. 1013


   On August 8, 2002, effective January 1, 2003, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee,2 the Court amended Rule 1013 (Prompt Trial--Municipal Court). The amendments expand the time for trial in Philadelphia Municipal Court from 120 days to 180 days.


   The issue of whether the Rule 1013 prompt trial provision should be expanded was raised by Municipal Court Administrative Judge Seamus Patrick McCaffery because of the substantial increase in the number of cases being filed in Municipal Court, and the time pressures for getting the cases disposed this increase is causing for the Court. He explained the number of incoming cases rose from 22,641 cases in 1996 to 32,861 cases in 1999, and that figure has remained fairly static through the beginning of 2002. During the same time period, the number of dispositions rose from 22,733 cases disposed in 1996 to 31,512 cases disposed in 1999.3 The time from the preliminary arraignment to the first trial listing is estimated to be 90 to 100 days.4


   In considering Judge McCaffery's request, the members questioned 1) the necessity of a change, and 2) how much additional time would satisfactorily reduce the time pressures on the Municipal Court. Ultimately agreeing that there is a need for an expansion of the time limitations in the rule, the members agreed that an additional 60 days would be adequate to accomplish this change.

   Unlike in the other judicial districts in which misdemeanor cases are mixed on the docket with felony cases in Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia has a two-tiered criminal court system in which there is a separate court (Municipal Court) to expeditiously process the less serious and less complicated misdemeanor cases.5 In addition, the Philadelphia court system has implemented innovations in how cases are processed that are having some impact on the numbers of cases in the system and the time to trial, but there are limitations such as the number of judges and courtrooms available for scheduling of cases. Finally, present Rule 1013 is case processing friendly, and forces the scheduling of cases within the time frames established in the rule.

   Accordingly, in view of all of the above, and that (1) Municipal Court is processing a tremendously increased caseload compared to what existed in 1974 when the rule was adopted, and (2) since 1974, the Supreme Court has modified the time for trial required by Rule 600, thereby increasing the amount of time that all other judicial districts are provided to dispose of misdemeanor cases in a timely fashion, Rule 1013 has been amended by changing the 120-day time limit to 180 days in paragraphs (A)(2) and (A)(3).6


   1 The Committee Final Reports should not be confused with the official Committee Comments to the rules. Also note that the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Comments or the contents of the Committee's explanatory Final Reports.

   2Because of the unique nature and limited jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, and the need to have input from individuals who are daily involved with Municipal Court, the Committee deviated from our normal full-Committee review of this issue, and convened an ''Ad Hoc Committee'' for the limited purpose of addressing the issue of the time for trial in Municipal Court. The ''Ad Hoc Committee'' included two Philadelphia Deputy Court Administrators, two Criminal Procedural Rules Committee members, and the Chiefs of the Municipal Court units of the Philadelphia Public Defender's office and the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, together with the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee's Staff.

   3This information was taken from the Municipal Court's 1999 Annual Report.

   4The process in Municipal Court was described as follows: at the preliminary arraignment, the defendant is given a pretrial conference date that is approximately 45 days from the time of arrest. At the pretrial conference, it is the District Attorney's office's responsibility to turn over discovery and to see if a plea can be worked out. If there is no plea, the case gets listed for trial. This first trial listing in a trial room may take anywhere from another four to six weeks.

   5The defendant has the right to appeal to the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for a trial de novo. Pursuant to Rule 1013(G), the trial de novo must be conducted within 90 days after the notice of appeal is filed.

   6In all other respects, Rule 1013 remains the same.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 02-1475. Filed for public inspection August 23, 2002, 9:00 a.m.]

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