Rule 904. Entry of Appearance and Appointment of Counsel; In Forma  Pauperis.

 (A)  Counsel for defendant shall file a written entry of appearance with the clerk of courts promptly after being retained, and serve a copy on the attorney for the Commonwealth.

   (1)  If a firm name is entered, the name of an individual lawyer shall be designated as being responsible for the conduct of the case.

   (2)  The entry of appearance shall include the attorney’s address, phone number, and attorney ID number.

 (B)  When counsel is appointed, the filing of the appointment order shall enter the appearance of appointed counsel.

 (C)  Except as provided in paragraph (H), when an unrepresented defendant satisfies the judge that the defendant is unable to afford or otherwise procure counsel, the judge shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant on the defendant’s first petition for post-conviction collateral relief.

 (D)  On a second or subsequent petition, when an unrepresented defendant satisfies the judge that the defendant is unable to afford or otherwise procure counsel, and an evidentiary hearing is required as provided in Rule 908, the judge shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant.

 (E)  The judge shall appoint counsel to represent a defendant whenever the interests of justice require it.

 (F)  When counsel is appointed,

   (1)  the judge shall enter an order indicating the name, address, and phone number of the appointed counsel, and the order shall be served on the defendant, the appointed counsel, the previous attorney of record, if any, and the attorney for the Commonwealth pursuant to Rule 114 (Orders and Court Notices: Filing; Service; and Docket Entries); and

   (2)  the appointment of counsel shall be effective throughout the post-conviction collateral proceedings, including any appeal from disposition of the petition for post-conviction collateral relief.

 (G)  When a defendant satisfies the judge that the defendant is unable to pay the costs of the post-conviction collateral proceedings, the judge shall order that the defendant be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis.

 (H)  Appointment of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.

   (1)  At the conclusion of direct review in a death penalty case, which includes discretionary review in the Supreme Court of the United States, or at the expiration of time for seeking the review, upon remand of the record, the trial judge shall appoint new counsel for the purpose of post-conviction collateral review, unless:

     (a)   the defendant has elected to proceed pro se or waive post-conviction collateral proceedings, and the judge finds, after a colloquy on the record, that the defendant is competent and the defendant’s election is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary;

     (b)   the defendant requests continued representation by original trial counsel or direct appeal counsel, and the judge finds, after a colloquy on the record, that the petitioner’s election constitutes a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of a claim that counsel was ineffective; or

     (c)   the judge finds, after a colloquy on the record, that the defendant has engaged counsel who has entered, or will promptly enter, an appearance for the collateral review proceedings.

   (2)  When counsel is appointed,

     (a)   the judge shall enter an order indicating the name, address, and phone number of the appointed counsel, and the order shall be served on the defendant, the appointed counsel, the previous attorney of record, if any, and the attorney for the Commonwealth pursuant to Rule 114 (Orders and Court Notices: Filing; Service; and Docket Entries); and

     (b)   the appointment of counsel shall be effective throughout the post-conviction collateral proceedings, including any appeal from disposition of the petition for post-conviction collateral relief.

   (3)  When the defendant satisfies the judge that the defendant is unable to pay the costs of the post-conviction collateral proceedings, the judge shall order that the defendant be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis.

Comment

   If a defendant seeks to proceed without an attorney, the court may appoint standby counsel. See Rule 121.

   Consistent with Pennsylvania post-conviction practice, it is intended that counsel be appointed in every case in which a defendant has filed a petition for post-conviction collateral relief for the first time and is unable to afford counsel or otherwise procure counsel. However, the rule now limits appointment of counsel on second or subsequent petitions so that counsel should be appointed only if the judge determines that an evidentiary hearing is required. Of course, the judge has the discretion to appoint counsel in any case when the interests of justice require it.

   Paragraph (B) was added in 2005 to make it clear that the filing of an order appointing counsel to represent a defendant enters the appearance of appointed counsel. Appointed counsel does not have to file a separate entry of appearance.

   Paragraphs (F)(1) and (H)(2)(a) require that (1) the judge include in the appointment order the name, address, and phone number of appointed counsel, and (2) the order be served on the defendant, appointed counsel, the previous attorney of record, if any, and the attorney for the Commonwealth pursuant to Rule 114 (Orders and Court Notices: Filing; Service; and Docket Entries).

   Pursuant to paragraphs (F)(2) and (H)(2)(b), appointed counsel retains his or her assignment until final judgment, which includes all avenues of appeal through the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In making the decision whether to file a petition for allowance of appeal, counsel must (1) consult with his or her client, and (2) review the standards set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 1114 (Considerations Governing Allowance of Appeal) and the note following that rule. If the decision is made to file a petition, counsel must carry through with that decision. See Commonwealth v. Liebel, 573 Pa. 375, 825 A.2d 630 (2003). Concerning counsel’s obligations as appointed counsel, see Jones v. Barnes, 463 U.S. 745 (1983). See also Commonwealth v. Padden, 783 A.2d 299 (Pa. Super. 2001).

   Paragraph (H) was added in 2000 to provide for the appointment of counsel for the first petition for post-conviction collateral relief in a death penalty case at the conclusion of direct review.

   Paragraph (H)(1)(a) recognizes that a defendant may proceed pro se if the judge finds the defendant competent, and that the defendant’s election is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. In Indiana v. Edwards, 128 S.Ct. 2379, 2388 (2008), the Supreme Court recognized that, when a defendant is not mentally competent to conduct his or her own defense, the U.S. Constitution permits the judge to require the defendant to be represented by counsel.

   An attorney may not represent a defendant in a capital case unless the attorney meets the educational and experiential requirements set forth in Rule 801 (Qualifications for Defense Counsel in Capital Cases).

   Official Note

   Previous Rule 1504 adopted January 24, 1968, effective August 1, 1968; rescinded December 11, 1981, effective June 27, 1982; rescission vacated June 4, 1982; rescinded February 1, 1989, effective July 1, 1989, and replaced by Rule 1507. Present Rule 1504 adopted February 1, 1989, effective July 1, 1989; amended August 11, 1997, effective immediately; amended January 21, 2000, effective July 1, 2000; renumbered Rule 904 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended February 26, 2002, effective July 1, 2002; Comment revised March 12, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; Comment revised June 4, 2004, effective November 1, 2004; amended April 28, 2005, effective August 1, 2005; Comment revised March 29, 2011, effective May 1, 2011.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the August 11, 1997 amendments published with the Court’s Order at 27 Pa.B. 4305 (August 23, 1997).

   Final Report explaining the January 21, 2000 amendments adding paragraph (F) concerning appointment of counsel published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 624 (February 5, 2000).

   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 February 26, 2002 amendments concerning entry of appearance by counsel published with the Court’s Order at 32 Pa.B. 1393 (March 16, 2002).

   Final Report explaining the Comment revision concerning duration of counsel’s obligation published with the Court’s Order at 34 Pa.B. 1672 (March 27, 2004).

   Final Report explaining the April 28, 2005 amendments concerning entry of appearance and content of appointment order published with the Court’s Order at 35 Pa.B. 2859 (May 14, 2005).

   Final Report explaining the March 29, 2011 revision of the Comment concerning right to counsel published with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 2000 (April 16, 2011).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 904 amended February 26, 2002, effective July 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 1391; amended March 12, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1671; amended June 4, 2004, effective November 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 3105; amended April 28, 2005, effective August 1, 2005, 35 Pa.B. 2855; amended March 29, 2011, effective May 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 1999. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (311423) to (311425).



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