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In re Order Amending Rule 191 and Revising Comment to Rule 140 of Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

May 4, 2018

IN RE: ORDER AMENDING RULE 191 AND REVISING THE COMMENT TO RULE 140 OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURE

          ORDER

          PER CURIAM

         AND NOW, this 4th day of May, 2018, upon the recommendation of the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee, the proposal having been published for public comment at 47 Pa.B. 7010 (November 18, 2017):

         It is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Pennsylvania Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 191 is amended and the Comment to Pennsylvania Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 140 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 on July 1, 2018.

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

         JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURAL RULES COMMITTEE FINAL REPORT [1]

         Amendment of Pa.R.J.C.P. 191 and Revision of Comment to Pa.R.J.C.P. 140

         On May 4, 2018, the Supreme Court amended Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 191 to require that a juvenile be advised of the right to challenge a juvenile court hearing officer recommendation and for a colloquy and inquiry of post-dispositional rights when a juvenile court hearing officer recommends an adjudication of delinquency. Additionally, the Comment to Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 140 was revised to update references to Rule 191.

         On May 11, 2017, Rule 512(C) was amended to require a colloquy and inquiry of post-dispositional rights by the court "after entering disposition on the record." Pa.R.J.C.P. 512(C)(1); see also 47 Pa.B. 2969 (May 27, 2017). Subsequently, a question arose whether the same post-dispositional rights colloquy and inquiry should be conducted when an adjudication of delinquency arises from a recommendation of a juvenile court hearing officer.

         It was not evident from the text of Rule 512 concerning dispositional hearings that the requirements set forth in Rule 512, especially paragraph (C), extended to proceedings before a juvenile court hearing officer. Absent a reference in Rule 191 to Rule 512(C), the Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee ("Committee") did not believe that the requirements of Rule 512(C) self-evidently applied to matters arising from a juvenile court hearing officer. The Committee believed it to be procedurally inconsistent for a colloquy and inquiry to occur when a juvenile opts to have the matter heard by a judge pursuant to Rule 187(C), but not when a juvenile appears before a hearing officer for the same case type, i.e., a misdemeanor.

         Rule 191 was amended to add a new subparagraph (B)(2) to require a colloquy and inquiry of post-dispositional rights when a juvenile court hearing officer recommends an adjudication of delinquency. While a hearing officer may preside over a range of matters, see Pa.R.J.C.P. 187(A), the requirement applies only to adjudications of delinquency to maintain a parallelism with Rule 512(C) - the requirement does not apply to non-adjudicatory matters such as detention hearings, discovery, and uncontested dispositional reviews.

          Further, a hearing officer recommendation lacks finality until acted upon by a judge. Yet, a colloquy and inquiry at that juncture would either require the juvenile to reappear before the hearing officer or appear in front of the judge. Therefore, the advisement of post-dispositional rights is prospective in nature until a judge acts upon the juvenile court hearing officer's recommendation. In practice, the juvenile court hearing officer and the juvenile's counsel should explain to the juvenile that the post-dispositional rights are contingent and triggered upon on the court entering disposition.

         Relatedly, there was no rule-based requirement that a juvenile be advised of the right to challenge a juvenile court hearing officer's recommendation pursuant to Rule 192. The Committee concluded that the juvenile should be advised of this right and it would be consistent for the rules to contain such a requirement. See, e.g., Pa.R.J.C.P. 512(C) (requiring advisement of post-dispositional rights); Pa.R.J.C.P. 620(E) (requiring order denying post-dispositional motion to advise of appellate rights; Pa.R.J.C.P. 628(A)(3) (requiring order disposing of motion ...


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