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In re Order Adopting New Rule Amending Rules and Revising Comment to Rule of Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

January 5, 2018

IN RE: ORDER ADOPTING NEW RULE, AMENDING RULES AND AND REVISING THE COMMENT TO RULE OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

          PER CURIAM

         AND NOW, this 5th day of January, 2018, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee; the proposal having been published before adoption at 47 Pa.B. 4674 (August 12, 2017), 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 Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 113.1 is adopted, Rules of Criminal Procedure 560 and 575 are amended and the Comment to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 578 is revised, in the attached form.

         This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective January 6, 2018.

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

         (This is an entirely new rule.)

         RULE 113.1. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AND CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS. CERTIFICATION.

         Unless public access is otherwise constrained by applicable authority, any attorney, or any party if unrepresented, or any affiant who files a document pursuant to these rules with the clerk of court's office shall comply with the requirements of Sections 7.0 and 8.0 of the Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts (Policy). In accordance with the Policy, the filing shall include a certification of compliance with the Policy and, as necessary, a Confidential Information Form, unless otherwise specified by rule or order of court, or a Confidential Document Form. Nothing in this rule applies to any document filed with a magisterial district judge.

Comment: "Applicable authority, " as used in this rule, includes but is not limited to statute, procedural rule, or court order. The Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts (Policy) can be found on the website of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at: http://www.pacourts.us/public-records. The Policy is applicable to all filings by the parties or an affiant in any criminal court case.
Sections 7.0(D) and 8.0(D) of the Policy provide that the certification shall be in substantially the following form:
I certify that this filing complies with the provisions of the Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts that require filing confidential information and documents differently than non-confidential information and documents.
Filings may require further precautions, such as placing certain types of information in a "Confidential Information Form." The Confidential Information Form and the Confidential Document Form can be found at: http://www.pacourts.us/public-records/public-records-forms. In lieu of the Confidential Information Form, Section 7.0(C) of the Policy provides for a court to adopt a rule or order permitting the filing of a document in two versions, a "Redacted Version" and an "Unredacted Version."
In addition to the restrictions above, a filing party should be cognizant of the potential impact that inclusion of personal information may have on an individual's privacy rights and security. Therefore, inclusion of such information should be done only when necessary or required to effectuate the purpose of the filing. Consideration of the use of sealing or protective orders also should be given if inclusion of such information is necessary.
While the Policy is not applicable to orders or other documents filed by a court, judges should give consideration to the privacy interests addressed by the Policy when drafting an order that might include information considered confidential under the Policy.
NOTE: New Rule 113.1 adopted January 5, 2018, effective January 6, 2018.

         COMMITTEE EXPLANATORY REPORTS:

         Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with the Court's Order at 48 Pa.B. (, 2018).

         RULE 560. INFORMATION: FILING, CONTENTS, FUNCTION.

         (A) After the defendant has been held for court following a preliminary hearing or an indictment, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall proceed by preparing an information and filing it with the court of common pleas.

         (B) The information shall be signed by the attorney for the Commonwealth and shall be valid and sufficient in law if it contains:

(1) a caption showing that the prosecution is carried on in the name of and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
(2) the name of the defendant, or if the defendant is unknown, a description of the defendant as nearly as may be;
(3) the date when the offense is alleged to have been committed if the precise date is known, and the day of the week if it is an essential element of the offense charged, provided that if the precise date is not known or if the offense is a continuing one, an allegation that it was committed on or about any date within the period fixed by the statute of limitations shall be sufficient;
(4) the county where the offense is alleged to have been committed;
(5) a plain and concise statement of the essential elements of the offense substantially the same as or cognate to the offense alleged in the complaint;
[and]
(6) a concluding statement that "all of which is against the Act of Assembly and the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth[.]" ; and
(7)a certification that the information complies with the provisions of the Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts regarding confidential information and documents.

         (C) The information shall contain the official or customary citation of the statute and section thereof, or other provision of law that the defendant is alleged therein to have violated; but the omission of or error in such citation shall not affect the validity or sufficiency of the information.

         (D) In all court cases tried on an information, the issues at trial shall be defined by such information.

COMMENT: The attorney for the Commonwealth may electronically prepare, sign, and transmit the information for filing.
Before an information is filed, the attorney for the Commonwealth may withdraw one or more of the charges by filing a notice of withdrawal with the clerk of courts. See Rule 561(A). Upon the filing of an information, any charge not listed on the information will be deemed withdrawn by the attorney for the Commonwealth. See Rule 561(B). After the information is filed, court approval is required before a nolle prosequi may be entered on a charge listed therein. See Rule 585.
In any case in which there are summary offenses joined with the misdemeanor, felony, or murder charges that are held for court, the attorney for the Commonwealth must include the summary offenses in the information. See Commonwealth v. Hoffman, [406 Pa. Super. 583');">406 Pa. Super. 583, ] 594 A.2d 772 (Pa. Super. 1991).
See Rule 113.1 regarding the Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania: Case Records of the Appellate and Trial Courts and the requirements regarding filings and documents that contain confidential information.
When there is an omission or error of the type referred to in paragraph (C), the information should be amended pursuant to Rule 564.
See Rule 543(D) for the procedures when a defendant fails to appear for the preliminary hearing. When the preliminary hearing is held in the defendant's absence and the case is held for court, the attorney for the Commonwealth should proceed as provided in this rule.
See Chapter 5 Part E for the procedures governing indicting grand juries. As explained in the Comment to Rule 556.11, when the grand jury indicts the defendant, this is the functional equivalent to holding the defendant for court following a preliminary hearing.
NOTE: Rule 225 adopted February 15, 1974, effective immediately; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; amended August 14, 1995, effective January 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 560 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised April 23, 2004, effective immediately; Comment revised August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005; Comment revised March 9, 2006, effective September 1, 2006; amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days [.] ; amended January 5, 2018, effective January 6, 2018.

         * * * * * *

         COMMITTEE EXPLANATORY REPORTS:

         Final Report explaining the August 14, 1995 amendments published with the Court's Order at ...


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