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In re Order Adopting Rule 415 and Amending Rule 620 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

May 23, 2018

IN RE: ORDER ADOPTING RULE 415 AND AMENDING RULE 620 OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURE

         SUPREME COURT RULES DOCKET

          ORDER

          PER CURIAM.

         AND NOW, this 23rd 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. 942 (February 18, 2017):

         It is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Pennsylvania Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 415 is adopted and Pennsylvania Rule of Juvenile Court Procedure 620 is amended in the attached form.

         This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective on October 1, 2018.

         RULES OF JUVENILE COURT PROCEDURE DELINQUENCY MATTERS

         ** *

         CHAPTER 4. ADJUDICATORY HEARING

         401. Introduction to Chapter Four

         404. Prompt Adjudicatory Hearing

         406. Adjudicatory Hearing

         407. Admissions

         408. Ruling on Offenses

         409. Adjudication of Delinquency

         415. Challenge to the Weight of the Evidence

         ** *

         [This is an entirely new rule.]

         RULE 415. CHALLENGE TO THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE

         A. Timing and Manner. A claim that a ruling on the offense or an adjudication of delinquency was against the weight of the evidence shall be raised with the juvenile court judge:

1) by oral motion, on the record, at any time after the ruling or adjudication and before disposition;
2) by written motion at any time after the ruling or adjudication and before disposition; or
3) in a post-dispositional motion pursuant to Rule 620(A)(1). B. Decision. If the claim is raised before disposition:
1) the judge shall decide the motion before entering disposition and shall not extend the date for disposition or otherwise unduly delay the disposition hearing in order to dispose of the motion; and
2) the claim shall be preserved for appeal.
C. Appeal. An appeal of a decision shall be governed by the timing requirements of Rule 620(B)(2) or (3), whichever applies.

         COMMENT

         The purpose of this rule is to make it clear that a challenge to the weight of the evidence must be raised with the juvenile court judge or it will be waived. See also In re J.B., 106 A.3d 76, 95 (Pa. 2014) (claim cannot be raised via closing argument). When a claim is raised pursuant to paragraph (A)(1) or (A)(2), it need not be raised again in a post-dispositional motion to preserve the claim for appeal.

         Official Note: Rule 415 adopted May 23, 2018, effective October 1, 2018. Committee Explanatory Reports:

         Final Report explaining the adoption of Rule 415 published with the Court's Order at ___ Pa.B. ___ (___ ___, 2018).

         RULE 620. ...


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