Title 234--RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
[234 PA. CODE CH. 5]
Proposed Amendments to Pa.R.Crim.P. 575(C)
[36 Pa.B. 814]
The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to recommend that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania amend Pa.R.Crim.P. 575(C) that would establish uniform format requirements for all pleadings filed in criminal cases. These format requirements are comparable to the requirements in Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 124 and proposed new Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 204.1. This proposal has not been submitted for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
The following explanatory Report highlights the Committee's considerations in formulating this proposal. Please note the Committee's Reports should not be confused with the official Committee Comments to the rules. Also note the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Comments or the contents of the explanatory Reports.
The text of the proposed amendments to Rule 575(C) precedes the Report. Additions are shown in bold; deletions are in bold and brackets.
We request that interested persons submit suggestions, comments, or objections concerning this proposal to the Committee through counsel,
Anne T. Panfil
Chief Staff Counsel
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Criminal Procedural Rules Committee
5035 Ritter Road, Suite 100
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
fax: (717) 795-2106
no later than Wednesday, March 8, 2006.
By the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee
NICHOLAS J. NASTASI,
TITLE 234. RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 5. PRETRIAL PROCEDURES IN COURT CASES
PART F(1). Motion Procedures
Rule 575. Motions and Answers.
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(C) Format of Motions, Answers, and Briefs
All motions, answers, and briefs must conform to the following requirements:
(1) The document shall be on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper.
(2) The document shall be prepared on white paper (except for dividers and similar sheets) of good quality.
(3) The first sheet shall contain a 3-inch space from the top of the paper for all court stampings, filing notices, etc.
(4) The text must be double spaced, but quotations more than two lines long may be indented and single spaced. Margins must be at least one inch on all four sides.
(5) The lettering shall be clear and legible and no smaller than point 12. The lettering shall be on only one side of a page, except that exhibits and similar supporting documents may be lettered on both sides of a page.
(6) Documents and papers shall be firmly bound.
(D) Unified Practice
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Comment * * * * *
Paragraph (C), added in 2006, sets forth the format requirements for all motions, answers, and briefs filed in criminal cases. These new format requirements are substantially the same as the format requirements in Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 124(a) and Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 204.1.
The format requirements in paragraph (C) are not intended to apply to pre-printed and computer-generated forms prepared by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; to charging documents; to documents routinely used by court-related agencies; or to documents routinely prepared or utilized by the courts.
Pro se defendants may submit hand written documents that comply with the other requirements in paragraph (C) and are clearly readable.
Paragraph [(C)] (D), titled ''Unified Practice,'' was added in 2004 to emphasize that local rules must not be inconsistent with the statewide rules. Although this prohibition on local rules that are inconsistent with the statewide rules applies to all criminal rules through Rule 105 (Local Rules), the reference to the specific prohibitions is included because these types of local rules have been identified by practitioners as creating significant impediments to the statewide practice of law within the unified judicial system. See the first paragraph of the Rule 105 Comment. The term ''local rule'' includes every rule, regulation, directive, policy, custom, usage, form or order of general application. See Rule 105(A).
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Although paragraph [(C)] (D) precludes local rules that require a proposed order be included with a motion, a party should consider whether to include a proposed order. Proposed orders may aid the court by defining the relief requested in the motion or answer.
Official Note: Former Rule 9020 adopted October 21, 1983, effective January 1, 1984; renumbered Rule 574 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; rescinded March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004. Former Rule 9021 adopted October 21, 1983, effective January 1, 1984; renumbered Rule 575 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Rules 574 and 575 combined as Rule 575 and amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; amended , 2006, effective , 2006.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court's Order at 30 Pa.B.  1478 (March 18, 2000).
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Report explaining the addition of the format requirements in paragraph (C) published at 36 Pa.B. 815 (February 18, 2006).
Proposed Amendments to Pa.R.Crim.P. 575(C)
Requirements for the Format of Pleadings
Filed in Criminal Cases
During the course of the Committee's review of local rules pursuant to Rule 105, the Committee noted that there are various local rules establishing requirements for the format of pleadings and other documents filed in the judicial district. We also noted that there are is little uniformity in these format requirements. In view of the divergent requirements, the Committee agreed a Rule of Criminal Procedure governing the format of pleadings filed in criminal cases would promote statewide uniformity of practice and procedure and facilitate the statewide practice of law.
In preparation for drafting such a rule, the Committee looked at the statewide and local Pennsylvania rules of procedure1 and other jurisdictions to get some idea of what is ordinarily included in format rules. We found that the format rules ran the gamut from extremely detailed to minimal detail, covering such things as types and size of paper, types, size, and color of print, spacing and margins, binding, headers and footers, page numbering, and captions and titles. From this review, the Committee agreed that the format requirements set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 124(a) provided adequate detail for a criminal format rule. In addition, the members concluded the bench and bar would be best served if, as much as possible, there are uniform format requirements for the documents filed in the different state courts. Accordingly, the Committee is proposing new format requirements that are substantially the same as Appellate Rule 124.2
The first issue the Committee addressed is the placement of new format requirements. Agreeing that the format requirements should apply only to motions, answers, and briefs, the Committee is proposing that the new format requirements be in Rule 575 as new paragraph (C).
New paragraph (C) incorporates without modification the provisions of Appellate Rule 124(a)(1), (2), and (3).3 Although Appellate Rule 124(a)(4) provides that the font size of the type by no less than 11 point, recognizing that a font size of 12 point is more frequently utilized for type print, the Committee agreed the requirement for font size in Rule 575(C) should be no smaller than 12 point. In all other respects, paragraph (a)(4) is included in Rule 575(C). The only other variance from Appellate Rule 124 is with regard to paragraph (a)(5). The Committee did not think it is necessary to require that any metal fasteners or staples be covered. We did agree that paragraph (C) should include the requirement that the documents must be firmly bound.
The Committee also is proposing some revisions of the Rule 575 Comment. First, recognizing that there are criminal cases in which the defendant is proceeding pro se and might not have access to a word processor or typewriter, the Comment explains that pro se defendants may submit hand written documents that comply with the other requirements of paragraph (C) if the documents are clearly readable.
During the Committee's discussions, some members questioned whether the new format requirements would apply to documents such as the criminal information or the criminal complaint or documents preprinted or computer generated documents prepared by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, etc. Agreeing that this expansive reading of proposed new paragraph (C) was not what the Committee intends, the Comment specifically excludes ''pre-printed and computer-generated forms prepared by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; charging documents; documents routinely used by court-related agencies; and documents routinely prepared or utilized by the courts.''
Finally, as an aide to bench, bar, and others filing documents in Pennsylvania courts, the Comment includes a cross-reference to the comparable format rules in the Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 124, and the Rules of Civil Procedure, proposed new Rule 204.1.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 06-271. Filed for public inspection February 17, 2006, 9:00 a.m.]
1 Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 124 (Form of Papers; Number of Copies) is the only statewide procedural rule with format requirements.
2 In view of the benefits to the unified judicial system of having uniform format requirements in the state courts, the Committee communicated to the Civil Procedural Rules Committee our plan to propose format requirements substantially the same as Appellate Rule 124. The Civil Rules Committee has agreed to propose a similar change, and contemporaneously is publishing proposed Recommendation No. 212 for a new Rule of Civil Procedure 204.1 (Pleadings and Other Legal Papers. Format).
3 Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 124(a) provides:
(a) Size and other physical characteristics. All documents filed in an appellate court shall be on 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper and shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) The document shall be prepared on white paper (except for covers, dividers and similar sheets) of good quality.
(2) The first sheet (except the cover of a paperbook) shall contain a 3-inch space from the top of the paper for all court stampings, filing notices, etc.
(3) The text must be double spaced, but quotations more than two lines long may be indented and single spaced. Except as provided in subdivision (2). Margins must be at least one inch on all four sides.
(4) The lettering shall be clear and legible and no smaller than point 11. The lettering shall be on only one side of a page, except that exhibits and similar supporting documents and paperbooks may be lettered on both sides of a page.
(5) Any metal fasteners or staples must be covered. Documents and papers must be firmly bound.
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