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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 08-1838



[ 237 PA. CODE CHS. 1 AND 5 ]

Proposed Modifications to Rules 120, 515 and 520

[38 Pa.B. 5594]
[Saturday, October 11, 2008]

   The Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee is planning to recommend to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that the modification of Rules 120, 515 and 520 be adopted and prescribed. The proposed modified Rule 120 sets forth a new definition for ''disposition.'' The proposed modified Rule 515 clarifies when the court enters a dispositional order. The proposed modified Rule 520 adds a Comment referencing the new definition of disposition because the disposition is the triggering point for the filing of a post-dispositional motion. This proposal has not been submitted for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

   The following explanatory Report highlights the intent of the rules. Please note that the Committee's 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 explanatory Reports.

   We request that interested persons submit suggestions, comments or objections concerning this proposal to the Committee through counsel,

   A. Christine Riscili, Esq.
   Staff Counsel
   Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
   Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee
   5035 Ritter Road, Suite 700
   Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

no later than Thursday, November 6, 2008.

By the Juvenile Court
Procedural Rules Committee


Annex A






Rule 120.  Definitions.

*      *      *      *      *

   DETENTION FACILITY is any facility, privately or publicly owned and operated, designated by the court and approved by the Department of Public Welfare to detain a juvenile temporarily. The term detention facility, when used in these rules, shall include shelter-care.

   DISPOSITION is a final determination made by the court after an adjudication of delinquency or any determination that ceases court action on a case.

*      *      *      *      *


   Under the term ''court,'' to determine if masters are permitted to hear cases, see Rule 187. See Rule 210 for the power of magisterial district judges to issue arrest warrants.

   The term ''disposition'' includes all final determinations made by the court. A disposition includes a response to an adjudication of delinquency, such as sending the juvenile to a placement facility or placing the juvenile on probation. It also includes other types of final determinations made by the court. Other final determinations include a finding that the juvenile did not commit a delinquent act pursuant to Rule 408 (B), a finding that the juvenile is not in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or supervision pursuant to Rule 409 (A)(1), dismissing the charges ''with prejudice'' prior to an adjudicatory hearing, or any other final action by the court that closes or terminates the case.

*      *      *      *      *



Rule 515.  Dispositional Order.

   A.  Generally. When the court enters a disposition after an adjudication of delinquency pursuant to Rule 409(A)(2), the court shall issue a written order, which provides balanced attention to the protection of the community, accountability for the offenses committed, and development of the juvenile's competencies to enable the juvenile to become a responsible and productive member of the community. The order shall include:

*      *      *      *      *


Rule 520.  Post-Dispositional Motions.

*      *      *      *      *


   The purpose of this rule is to promote the fair and prompt disposition of all issues relating to admissions, adjudication, and disposition by consolidating all possible motions to be submitted for court review, and by setting reasonable but firm time limits within which the motion is to be decided. Because the post-dispositional motion is optional, a party may choose to raise any or all properly preserved issues in the trial court, in the appellate court, or both.

   For the definition of ''disposition,'' see Rule 120 and its Comment.

*      *      *      *      *


Rule 120--Definitions.

   The Committee is proposing a new definition for ''disposition.'' It has come to the Committee's attention that there are several instances in which a case is terminated in juvenile court and the guidelines for the timing of appeals in those cases are unclear. The new definition clearly sets forth which cases could be included in a post-dispositional motion pursuant to Rule 520, which affects the timing of appeals.

   A disposition includes all final determinations made by the court. The common interpretation of a disposition is when the court adjudicates the juvenile delinquent and finds the juvenile in need of treatment, supervision, and rehabilitation, and makes a decision to place the juvenile in a placement facility, on alternative care, or on probation. However, disposition also includes: 1) a finding that the juvenile did not commit a delinquent act; 2) a finding that the juvenile is not in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation; 3) dismissal of the case ''with prejudice'' prior to the commencement of an adjudicatory hearing; or 4) any other action that terminates or closes the juvenile case.

Rule 515--Dispositional Order.

   The addition of ''after an adjudication of delinquency pursuant to paragraph (A)(2)'' indicates when a dispositional order will be entered under this rule. This rule is designed to address cases when the court has found the juvenile to have committed a delinquent act and that the juvenile is in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation.

   If the court finds that a juvenile did not commit the alleged delinquent acts pursuant to Rule 408 (B), it will enter an order releasing the juvenile under Rule 408. If the court finds that the juvenile is not in need of treatment, supervision, or rehabilitation pursuant to Rule 409(A)(1), it will enter an order releasing the juvenile pursuant to Rule 409. If the court dismisses the case ''with prejudice'' prior to the commencement of an adjudicatory hearing or terminates the case for any other reason, the court will enter an order to that effect.

Rule 520--Post-Dispositional Motions.

   This proposed addition to the Comment of this Rule is a reference to the new definition of ''disposition.'' All scenarios included under this definition trigger when a post-dispositional motion may be filed.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-1838. Filed for public inspection October 10, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]

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