Rule 600. Prompt Trial.

 (A)  COMMENCEMENT OF TRIAL; TIME FOR TRIAL

   (1)  For the purpose of this rule, trial shall be deemed to commence on the date the trial judge calls the case to trial, or the defendant tenders a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

   (2)  Trial shall commence within the following time periods.

     (a)   Trial in a court case in which a written complaint is filed against the defendant shall commence within 365 days from the date on which the complaint is filed.

     (b)   Trial in a court case that is transferred from the juvenile court to the trial or criminal division shall commence within 365 days from the date on which the transfer order is filed.

     (c)   When a trial court has ordered that a defendant’s participation in the ARD program be terminated pursuant to Rule 318, trial shall commence within 365 days from the date on which the termination order is filed.

     (d)   When a trial court has granted a new trial and no appeal has been perfected, the new trial shall commence within 365 days from the date on which the trial court’s order is filed.

     (e)   When an appellate court has remanded a case to the trial court, the new trial shall commence within 365 days from the date of the written notice from the appellate court to the parties that the record was remanded.

 (B)  PRETRIAL INCARCERATION

 Except in cases in which the defendant is not entitled to release on bail as provided by law, no defendant shall be held in pretrial incarceration in excess of

   (1)  180 days from the date on which the complaint is filed; or

   (2)  180 days from the date on which the order is filed transferring a court case from the juvenile court to the trial or criminal division; or

   (3)  180 days from the date on which the order is filed terminating a defendant’s participation in the ARD program pursuant to Rule 318; or

   (4)  120 days from the date on which the order of the trial court is filed granting a new trial when no appeal has been perfected; or

   (5)  120 days from the date of the written notice from the appellate court to the parties that the record was remanded.

 (C)  COMPUTATION OF TIME

   (1)  For purposes of paragraph (A), periods of delay at any stage of the proceedings caused by the Commonwealth when the Commonwealth has failed to exercise due diligence shall be included in the computation of the time within which trial must commence. Any other periods of delay shall be excluded from the computation.

   (2)  For purposes of paragraph (B), only periods of delay caused by the defendant shall be excluded from the computation of the length of time of any pretrial incarceration. Any other periods of delay shall be included in the computation.

   (3)(a) When a judge or issuing authority grants or denies a continuance:

     (i)   the issuing authority shall record the identity of the party requesting the continuance and the reasons for granting or denying the continuance; and

     (ii)   the judge shall record the identity of the party requesting the continuance and the reasons for granting or denying the continuance. The judge also shall record to which party the period of delay caused by the continuance shall be attributed, and whether the time will be included in or excluded from the computation of the time within which trial must commence in accordance with this rule.

     (b)   The determination of the judge or issuing authority is subject to review as provided in paragraph (D)(3).

 (D)  REMEDIES

   (1)  When a defendant has not been brought to trial within the time periods set forth in paragraph (A), at any time before trial, the defendant’s attorney, or the defendant if unrepresented, may file a written motion requesting that the charges be dismissed with prejudice on the ground that this rule has been violated. A copy of the motion shall be served on the attorney for the Commonwealth concurrently with filing. The judge shall conduct a hearing on the motion.

   (2)  Except in cases in which the defendant is not entitled to release on bail as provided by law, when a defendant is held in pretrial incarceration beyond the time set forth in paragraph (B), at any time before trial, the defendant’s attorney, or the defendant if unrepresented, may file a written motion requesting that the defendant be released immediately on nominal bail subject to any nonmonetary conditions of bail imposed by the court as permitted by law. A copy of the motion shall be served on the attorney for the Commonwealth concurrently with filing. The judge shall conduct a hearing on the motion.

   (3)  Any requests for review of the determination in paragraph (C)(3) shall be raised in a motion or answer filed pursuant to paragraph (D)(1) or paragraph (D)(2).

 (E)  Nothing in this rule shall be construed to modify any time limit contained in any statute of limitations.

Comment

   Rule 600 was adopted in 1973 as Rule 1100 pursuant to Commonwealth v. Hamilton, 449 Pa. 297, 297 A.2d 127 (1972), and provided, inter alia, that trials be held within 180 days of the filing of the complaint. The Court in Hamilton and subsequent cases explained that, by fixing the maximum time limit within which to try individuals accused of crime, the rule is intended to protect the right of criminal defendants to a speedy trial, protect society’s right to effective prosecution of criminal cases, and help eliminate the backlog in criminal cases in the courts of Pennsylvania. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Dixon, 589 Pa. 28, 907 A.2d 468 (2006); Commonwealth v. Genovese, 493 Pa. 65, 425 A.2d 367 (1981).

   The time limits of this rule were expanded on December 31, 1987, effective immediately, to provide that trials must be held within 365 days of the filing of the complaint. The 1987 amendments also provided that a defendant who has been held in pretrial incarceration longer than 180 days must be released on nominal bail, and deleted the provisions concerning Commonwealth petitions to extend the time for commencement of trial.

   In 2012, former Rule 600 was rescinded and new Rule 600 adopted to reorganize and clarify the provisions of the rule in view of the long line of cases that have construed the rule. The new rule incorporates from former Rule 600 the provisions concerning the commencement of trial and the requirement of bringing a defendant to trial within 365 days of specified events, new paragraph (A), and the 120-day or 180-day time limits on pretrial incarceration, new paragraph (B). New paragraph (C), concerning computation of time and continuances, and new paragraph (D), concerning remedies, have been modified to clarify the procedures and reflect changes in law.

   When calculating the number of days set forth herein, see the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S. §  1908.

   COMMENCEMENT OF TRIAL; TIME FOR TRIAL

   Paragraph (A) addresses both the commencement of trial and the 365-day time for trial. A trial commences when the trial judge determines that the parties are present and directs them to proceed to voir dire or to opening argument, or to the hearing of any motions that had been reserved for the time of trial, or to the taking of testimony, or to some other such first step in the trial. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Kluska, 484 Pa. 508, 399 A.2d 681 (1979); Commonwealth v. Lamonna, 473 Pa. 248, 373 A.2d 1355 (1977). It is not intended that preliminary calendar calls should constitute commencement of a trial. Concerning the hearing of motions reserved for the time of trial, see Jones v. Commonwealth, 495 Pa. 490, 434 A.2d 1197 (1981).

   The general rule is that trial must commence within 365 days from the date on which the complaint is filed. Pursuant to this rule, it is intended that ‘‘complaint’’ also includes special documents used in lieu of a complaint to initiate criminal proceedings in extraordinary circumstances such as criminal proceedings instituted by a medical examiner or coroner. See Commonwealth v. Lopinson, 427 Pa. 284, 234 A.2d 552 (1967), vacated on other grounds, 392 U.S. 647 (1968); Commonwealth v. Smouse, 406 Pa.Super. 369, 594 A.2d 666 (1991).

   In cases in which the Commonwealth files a criminal complaint, withdraws that complaint, and files a second complaint, the Commonwealth will be afforded the benefit of the date of the filing of the second complaint for purposes of calculating the time for trial when the withdrawal and re-filing of charges are necessitated by factors beyond its control, the Commonwealth has exercised due diligence, and the refiling is not an attempt to circumvent the time limitation of Rule 600. See Commonwealth v. Meadius, 582 Pa. 174, 870 A.2d 802 (2005).

   The withdrawal of, rejection of, or successful challenge to a guilty plea should be considered the granting of a new trial for purposes of paragraph (A)(2)(d) of this rule. Paragraph (A)(2)(d) also applies to the period for commencing a new trial following the declaration of a mistrial.

   The date of filing court orders for purposes of paragraphs (A)(2) and B is the date of receipt of the order in the clerk of court’s office. See the third paragraph of the Comment to Rule 114 (Orders and Court Notices; Filing; Service; and Docket Entries).

   When an appellate court has remanded a case to the trial court for a new trial, for purposes of computing the time for trial under paragraph (A)(2)(e) or the length of time of pretrial incarceration for purposes of paragraph (B)(5), the date of the remand is the date of the prothonotary’s notice to the parties that the record was remanded. See Pa.R.A.P. 2572(e) concerning the requirement that the prothonotary of the appellate court give the parties written notice of the date on which the record was remanded.

   COMPUTATION OF TIME

   For purposes of determining the time within which trial must be commenced pursuant to paragraph (A), paragraph (C)(1) makes it clear that any delay in the commencement of trial that is not attributable to the Commonwealth when the Commonwealth has exercised due diligence must be excluded from the computation of time. Thus, the inquiry for a judge in determining whether there is a violation of the time periods in paragraph (A) is whether the delay is caused solely by the Commonwealth when the Commonwealth has failed to exercise due diligence. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Dixon, 589 Pa. 28, 907 A.2d 468 (2006); Commonwealth v. Matis, 551 Pa. 220, 710 A.2d 12 (1998). If the delay occurred as the result of circumstances beyond the Commonwealth’s control and despite its due diligence, the time is excluded. See, e.g. Commonwealth v. Browne, 526 Pa. 83, 584 A.2d 902 (1990); Commonwealth v. Genovese, 493 Pa. 65, 425 A.2d 367 (1981). In determining whether the Commonwealth has exercised due diligence, the courts have explained that ‘‘[d]ue diligence is fact-specific, to be determined case-by-case; it does not require perfect vigilance and punctilious care, but merely a showing the Commonwealth has put forth a reasonable effort.’’ See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Selenski, 606 Pa 51, 61, 994 A.2d 1083, 1089 (Pa. 2010) (citing Commonwealth v. Hill and Commonwealth v. Cornell, 558 Pa. 238, 256, 736 A.2d 578, 588 (1999)).

   Delay in the time for trial that is attributable to the judiciary may be excluded from the computation of time. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Crowley, 502 Pa. 393, 466 A.2d 1009 (1983). However, when the delay attributable to the court is so egregious that a constitutional right has been impaired, the court cannot be excused for postponing the defendant’s trial and the delay will not be excluded. See Commonwealth v. Africa, 524 Pa. 118, 569 A.2d 920 (1990).

   When the defendant or the defense has been instrumental in causing the delay, the period of delay will be excluded from computation of time. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Matis, supra; Commonwealth v. Brightwell, 486 Pa. 401, 406 A.2d 503 (1979) (plurality opinion). For purposes of paragraph (C)(1) and paragraph (C)(2), the following periods of time, that were previously enumerated in the text of former Rule 600(C), are examples of periods of delay caused by the defendant. This time must be excluded from the computations in paragraphs (C)(1) and (C)(2):

   (1) the period of time between the filing of the written complaint and the defendant’s arrest, provided that the defendant could not be apprehended because his or her whereabouts were unknown and could not be determined by due diligence;

   (2) any period of time for which the defendant expressly waives Rule 600;

   (3) such period of delay at any stage of the proceedings as results from either the unavailability of the defendant or the defendant’s attorney or any continuance granted at the request of the defendant or the defendant’s attorney.

   In addition to any other circumstances precluding the availability of the defendant or the defendant’s attorney, the defendant should be deemed unavailable for the period of time during which the defendant contested extradition, or a responding jurisdiction delayed or refused to grant extradition; or during which the defendant was physically incapacitated or mentally incompetent to proceed; or during which the defendant was absent under compulsory process requiring his or her appearance elsewhere in connection with other judicial proceedings.

   For periods of delay that result from the filing and litigation of omnibus pretrial motions for relief or other motions, see Commonwealth v. Hill and Commonwealth v. Cornell, 558 Pa. 238, 736 A.2d 578 (1999) (the mere filing of a pretrial motion does not automatically render defendant unavailable; only unavailable if delay in commencement of trial is caused by filing pretrial motion).

   For purposes of determining the length of time a defendant has been held in pretrial incarceration pursuant to paragraph (B), only the periods of delay attributable to the defense are to be excluded from the computation. See Commonwealth v. Dixon, 589 Pa. 28, 907 A.2d 468 (2006).

   Paragraph (C)(3) and Rules 106 (Continuances in Summary and Court Cases) and 542 (Preliminary Hearing; Continuances) require the judge to indicate on the record whether the time is excludable whenever he or she grants a continuance.

   When a judge grants a continuance, trial should be rescheduled for a date certain consistent with the continuance request and the court’s business. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Crowley, supra.

   REMEDIES

   Paragraph (D)(1) requires that any defendant, whether incarcerated or released on bail, not brought to trial within the time periods in paragraph (A) at any time before trial may move to have the charges dismissed on the ground that this rule has been violated. See Commonwealth v. Solano, 588 Pa. 716, 906 A.2d 1180 (2006).

   When a case is dismissed for violation of this rule, the dismissal is ‘‘with prejudice,’’ and the Commonwealth’s only recourse is to file either a motion for reconsideration or an appeal.

   Paragraph (D)(2) sets forth the remedy should a defendant be held in pretrial incarceration beyond the time periods in paragraph (B). Defendants who would not be released on bail based on Article I, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution are not eligible for release under paragraph (D)(2) of this rule. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Sloan, 589 Pa. 15, 27, n.10, 907 A.2d 460, 467, n.10 (2006); Commonwealth v. Jones, 899 A.2d 353 (Pa. Super. 2006). Article I, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides, inter alia, that ‘‘[a]ll prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses or for offenses for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or unless no condition or combination of conditions other than imprisonment will reasonably assure the safety of any person and the community when the proof is evident or presumption great.’’

   Except in cases in which bail is not available pursuant to Article I, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the defendant must be released on nominal bail. Imposition of nominal bail includes in the appropriate case the imposition of nonmonetary conditions of release. See Commonwealth v. Sloan, supra. See also Rules 524, 526, and 527 concerning types and conditions of release on bail.

   When admitted to nominal bail pursuant to this rule, the defendant must execute a bail bond. See Rules 525 and 526.

   Paragraph (D)(3) makes it clear that requests for review of the determination concerning continuances must be raised in a motion for dismissal, paragraph (D)(1), or in a motion for release, paragraph (D)(2), or in an answer.

   For the procedures concerning motions and answers, and the filing and service of motions and answers, see Rules 575 and 576. For the procedures following the filing of a motion, see Rule 577.

   Official Note

   Rule 1100 adopted June 8, 1973, effective prospectively as set forth in paragraphs (A)(1) and (A)(2) of this rule; paragraph (E) amended December 9, 1974, effective immediately; paragraph (E) re-amended June 28, 1976, effective July 1, 1976; amended October 22, 1981, effective January 1, 1982. (The amendment to paragraph (C)(3)(b) excluding defense-requested continuances was specifically made effective as to continuances requested on or after January 1, 1982.) Amended December 31, 1987, effective immediately; amended September 30, 1988, effective immediately; amended September 3, 1993, effective January 1, 1994; Comment revised September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective date extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective date extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 600 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised April 20, 2000, effective July 1, 2000; rescinded October 1, 2012, effective July 1, 2013. New Rule 600 adopted October 1, 2012, effective July 1, 2013.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Report explaining the September 3, 1993 amendments published with the Court’s Order at 23 Pa.B. 4492 (September 25, 1993).

   Final Report explaining the September 13, 1995 Comment revision published with Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the April 20, 2000 Comment revision concerning Commonwealth v. Hill and Commonwealth v. Cornell published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 2219 (May 6, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the October 1, 2012 rescission of current Rule 600 and the provisions of new Rule 600 published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 6629 (October 20, 2012).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 600 adopted October 1, 2012, effective July 1, 2013, 42 Pa.B. 6622.



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