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In re Order Amending Comment to Rule 120 of Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

March 10, 2014

IN RE: ORDER AMENDING COMMENT TO RULE 120 OF THE RULES OF JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURE

SUPREME COURT RULES

ORDER

PER CURIAM

AND NOW, this 10th day of March, 2014, upon the recommendation of the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the proposal having been submitted without publication pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(a)(3); and an Explanatory Report to be published with this ORDER:

IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that the modifications to the comment to Rule 120 of the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are approved in the attached form.

This ORDER shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective immediately.

Additions to the rule are shown in bold and are underlined. Deletions from the rule are shown in bold and brackets.

RULE 120. DEFINITIONS

COMMENT

"Placement facility" is not to include any county jail, state prison, penal institution, or other facility used primarily for the execution of sentences of adults convicted of a crime. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 6352(b) for disposition of a delinquent juvenile. [However, nothing in this rule precludes an adult from being sentenced to a county jail in a contempt proceeding. For example, if a juvenile failed to appear for a juvenile court hearing when summoned and is now eighteen years of age or older, the court may proceed with a contempt hearing and order detention in a county jail.]

INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has adopted the proposed changes to Rule 120. The changes are effective immediately.

EXPLANATORY REPORT MARCH 2014

This rule change was prompted by concerns brought to the Committee's attention by the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission (JCJC) regarding the implications of the recent modifications to Pa.R.J.C.P. 120 Comment and its possible unintended results.

The portion of the Comment, which is causing concern is under the term "placement facility," and provides, "However, nothing in this rule precludes an adult from being sentenced to a county jail in a contempt proceeding. For example, if a juvenile failed to appear for a juvenile court hearing when summoned and is now eighteen years of age or older, the court may proceed with a contempt hearing and order detention in a county jail."

The intent of the Rule is for juveniles, who are under the juvenile court jurisdiction vested through the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 6301 et seq., to be placed in detention or placement facilities with juveniles and not to be detained in jails or holding cells with adults. This includes juveniles over the age of eighteen who are still under juvenile court jurisdiction.

Some judicial districts are reclassifying probation violation or bench warrant hearings as contempt of court hearings to justify detention in a county jail. This clearly was not the intent of the Rule modification.

Because the Comment is causing confusion in many judicial districts, the Comment is being deleted.


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