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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 23-1826




Adoption of 39th Jud.Dis.R.Crim.P. 576.1. Electronic Filing and Service of Legal Papers; Administrative Order AD 115-2023

[53 Pa.B. 8215]
[Saturday, December 30, 2023]


And Now, this 7th day of December, 2023, the Court having received the Criminal Rules Committee's letter dated December 7, 2023 indicating the following local rule of criminal procedure is not inconsistent with Statewide procedure, the Franklin County Branch of the 39th Judicial District hereby adopts 39th Jud.Dist.R.Crim.P. 576.1, effective thirty (30) days after the publication of same in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 Accordingly, Mr. Mark Singer, District Court Administrator for the 39th Judicial District, is ordered and directed to do the following:

 1. Email one (1) copy of this Order and the following rule to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) at

 2. Mail one (1) paper copy of this Order and the following rule to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to the following address: Pa. Code and Bulletin, Legislative Reference Bureau, 647 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120.

 3. Email one (1) copy of this Order and the following rule in Microsoft Word format only to the Legislative Bureau at for publication in The Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 4. File one (1) copy of this Order and the following rule with the Clerk of Courts in Franklin County, and mail one (1) copy to the Franklin County Law Library for public inspection and copying.

 5. Publish a copy of this Order and the following rule on the Franklin County Court website.

 6. Incorporate and publish the following rule into the 39th Judicial District's set of local rules on the Franklin County Court website not later than Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

By the Court

President Judge

39th Jud.Dist.R.Crim.P. 576.1. Electronic Filing and Service of Legal Papers.

 (a) Electronic Filing. Pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the 39th Judicial District agreed upon an implementation plan for electronic filing of criminal legal papers through the statewide system, PACFile, effective February 1, 2024. This Rule is applicable only to the Franklin County branch of the 39th Judicial District. The applicable, general rules of court and court policies that implement the rules shall continue to apply to all filings regardless of the method of filing.

 (b) Attorneys or self-represented parties who file legal papers electronically must establish a PACFile account using the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Web Portal. Pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(D)(2), the establishment of a PACFile account constitutes consent to participate in electronic filing, including acceptance of service electronically of any document filed using PACFile.

 (c) Legal Papers. Any party identified as an electronic filing participant by Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(D) may utilize PACFile for legal papers including pleadings or other submissions to the court, including motions, answers, notices, or other documents, of which filing is required or permitted, including orders, copies of exhibits, and attachments, except the following:

 1. exhibits offered into evidence, whether or not admitted, in a court proceeding pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 5104(c),

 2. all documents prohibited by Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(C) in the definition of ''legal papers,''

 3. applications for search warrants,

 4. applications for arrest warrants,

 5. any grand jury materials, except the indicting grand jury indictment or the investigating grand jury presentment,

 6. submissions filed ex parte as authorized by law,

 7. submissions filed or authorized to be filed under seal including but not limited to the AOPC Confidential Information Form submitted pursuant to the Public Access Policy,

 8. confidential documents including but not limited to drug and alcohol assessments and reports, mental health evaluations and reports, and medical records,

 9. Wiretap Act submissions related to cell phone, tracker, and internet petitions,

 10. Notice of Appeals,

 11. motions for the appointment of new counsel,

 12. any matter requiring the assignment of a Miscellaneous Docket number including but not limited to expungements filed pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 490 or petitions for modification of bail in matters still pending in the Magisterial District Court,

 13. initial filings for Summary Appeals, and

 14. third party filings and amicus briefs or other third party filings.

 (d) Electronic filing is permissive within Franklin County.

 1. Any party who declines to participate in the PACFile system, or who is unable to electronically file or accept service of legal papers filed electronically, shall be permitted to file and serve legal papers in a physical paper format consistent with the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 576 and 576.1.

 2. Any party not utilizing PACFile shall notify the Clerk of Courts utilizing the ''Notice of Non-Participation in PACFile'' form following this Rule and shall serve a copy of the completed form to all parties and/or counsel of record, and Court Administration.

 3. Once a party declines participation in PACFile by serving the Notice required by subdivision (d)(2), all electronically filed legal papers shall be served on them in paper format consistent with the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 114(B) and 576(b).

 4. If a party files a ''Notice of Non-Participation in PACFile'' and thereafter elects to participate in PACFile by establishing a PACFile account pursuant to subdivision (b) of this Rule, the party shall immediately cease filing written legal papers, where not excluded under this rule, and service shall be made upon the party electronically.

 5. In the event an attorney enters an appearance for a defendant who was previously unrepresented and said defendant established a PACFile account while unrepresented, said defendant shall no longer be permitted to utilize their PACFile account while represented by counsel, as defined under Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(D).

 (e) Service Pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576. Notwithstanding a party's election to participate in PACFile, Court Administration must be served with paper copies of all legal papers filed electronically in accordance with Pa.R.Crim.P. 576(b). This subdivision shall also apply to the service of court orders and notices. In instances where legal papers must be served upon parties not automatically served via PACFile, those legal papers must be filed with the Clerk of Courts and include a complete distribution legend listing the names of all parties required to be served with a paper copy.

 (f) Clerk of Courts Maintenance of Files.

 1. The Clerk of Courts shall maintain an electronic file, and in instances where PACFile is not utilized by all parties or where documents are not permitted to be electronically filed under subdivision (c) of this Rule, a paper physical file shall be maintained.

 2. Any legal paper submitted for filing to the Clerk of Courts in a paper format, whether required or permitted under this rule, shall be accepted by the Clerk of Courts in that format. The Clerk of Courts shall convert such hard copy legal paper to portable document format (''pdf''), add it to the electronic system, and return the paper copy to the filer, except those legal papers excluded from electronic filing pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 576.1(C) and subdivision (c) of this Rule. Once converted to pdf, the pdf version of the legal paper shall be deemed and treated as the original legal paper and may be used by the parties and the Court for all purposes and proceedings.

 3. The legal files contained in the record shall be maintained and retained consistent with the records retention schedule outlined in the County Records Manual and/or other applicable records retention schedule.

 (g) Filing Fees. Applicable filing fees shall be paid through procedures established by the Clerk of Courts and at the same time and amount as required by statute, Court rule or order, or published fee schedule. A party who has been granted in forma pauperis status shall not pay filing fees to the Clerk of Courts.

 (h) Record on Appeal. Electronically filed legal papers, and copies of legal papers filed in a paper format shall become the record on appeal.

 (i) Confidential Information. Counsel and unrepresented parties must adhere to the PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY OF THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA and refrain from including confidential information in legal papers filed with the Clerk of Courts or the Court whether filed electronically or in paper format. Counsel and unrepresented parties must include confidential information relevant to the case on the approved AOPC Confidential Information Form. The Confidential Information Form shall not be filed electronically in PACFile and shall be served on and made available to the parties to the case, the Court and appropriate Court staff, as provided in the Public Access Policy.



Notice of Non-Participation in PACFile

To the Court:

Franklin County Clerk of Courts
14 N. Main St.
Chambersburg, PA 17201

_________________ (Printed Party or Counsel Name) declines to participate in the PACFile electronic filing system for the above captioned matter consistent with 39th Jud.Dist.R.Crim.P. 576.1(d). The party agrees to file, serve, and receive service of legal papers in physical paper format consistent with the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically Rule 576, and any applicable local rules.

Date: _________________
Party Signature, OR Attorney Signature
Party Name or Attorney for ______
(party's name if so represented)

District Attorney
Court Administration

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-1826. Filed for public inspection December 29, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]

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