CHAPTER 213. COURT RECORDS POLICIES

Subch. Sec.

A.    [Reserved] … 213.1
B.    RECORDS RETENTION … 213.51
C.    ELECTRONIC CASE RECORD PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY OF THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA … 213.71
D.    CASE RECORDS PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY OF THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA …213.81

Source

   The provisions of this Chapter 213 adopted February 17, 1995, effective February 2, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 611; amended December 13, 1996, effective January 1, 1997, 26 Pa.B. 6179, unless otherwise noted. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (203569) to (203571).

Subchapter A. [Reserved]


Sec.


213.1.    [Reserved].
213.2.    [Reserved].
213.3.    [Reserved].
213.4.    [Reserved].
213.5.    [Reserved].
213.6.    [Reserved].
213.7.    [Reserved].
213.11.    [Reserved].
213.12.    [Reserved].

§ 213.1. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.1 amended January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (386111) to (386112).

§ 213.2. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.2 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (386112).

§ 213.3. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.3 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (386112).

§ 213.4. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.4 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (386112) and (369939).

§ 213.5. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.5 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (369939).

§ 213.6. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.6 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (369939).

§ 213.7. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.7 adopted January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513; reserved March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113, 48 Pa.B. 2602 and 48 Pa.B. 3077. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (369940).

§ 213.11. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.11 reserved January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (324323) to (324324).

§ 213.12. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.12 reserved January 22, 2010, effective July 1, 2010, 40 Pa.B. 513. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (324324) to (324325).

Subchapter B. RECORDS RETENTION


Sec.


213.51.    Record Retention & Disposition Schedule with Guidelines.
213.52.    [Reserved].

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter B adopted November 3, 1995, effective November 4, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 4698, unless otherwise noted.

§ 213.51. Record Retention & Disposition Schedule with Guidelines.



Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts


Record Retention & Disposition Schedule with Guidelines
For Courts of Common Pleas, Magisterial District Courts,
Philadelphia Municipal Court, and the Pittsburgh Municipal Court
January 2014

   1. Record Retention Program

   1.1 Background

 Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration No. 507 establishes three categories of offices for purposes of record retention and disposition: 1) offices scheduled by the County Records Committee (that must dispose of records in conformity with the applicable retention schedules established by the Committee)1; 2) offices scheduled by the Supreme Court (that must dispose of records in conformity with the applicable retention schedules established by the Supreme Court)2; and 3) non-scheduled offices (that can only dispose of records upon request to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission [PHMC] and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts [AOPC] and with approval by the AOPC).3

 The record retention and disposition schedules set forth hereunder have been adopted by the Supreme Court. This document contains guidelines and procedures for storing and archiving records, as well as the disposal of both permanent and non-permanent records.

   



   1 Pa.R.J.A. 507(a)

   2 Pa.R.J.A. 507(b)

   3 Pa.R.J.A. 507(c)

   1.2 Definitions

   Court Records—‘‘Court records’’ are those papers, dockets, books, photographs, or other documentary materials in any form made or received in a Judicial District pursuant to law, statute, or rules of court, in connection with transactions of its business and the discharge of its responsibilities.

   Permanent Records—‘‘Permanent records’’ are those which may not be destroyed. Permanent records may, however, be disposed if they are replicated as required by the applicable schedules adopted by the Supreme Court, and provided that prior approval has been received from the AOPC. (See §  2.2 Disposal Request Procedure—Permanent Records)

   Non-permanent Records—‘‘Non-permanent records’’ are those records which need to be retained for a specified period of time and which may be disposed without prior approval upon expiration of the retention period provided in the applicable record retention schedule. These records must be listed in the appropriate Records Disposal Log which must be filed with the AOPC on an annual basis, as further set forth herein. (See §  2.3 Disposal Request Procedure & Log—Non-Permanent Records)

   Electronic Records—‘‘Electronic records’’ include numeric, graphic, and text information which may be recorded on any medium capable of being read by a computer and which satisfies the definition of a record as defined in §  1.2 Definitions. This includes, but is not limited to: magnetic media such as computer tapes, disks, optical disks, diskettes and other electronic storage devices and electronic filing systems containing records. These requirements apply to all electronic records systems, whether microcomputers, minicomputers or main-frame computers, in network or stand-alone configurations. (See §  3. Microfilm and Electronic Archival Systems)

   Records not subject to retention—‘‘Records not subject to retention’’ are those records which need not be maintained permanently or for a specified period of time, and which may be used by system and related personnel of the Unified Judicial System as unofficial in-house working papers, reference and drafts. No approval is required to dispose of these records.

   Unscheduled Records—Questions concerning retention periods for records not included in this schedule, or, for records created subsequent to the adoption of this schedule, should be directed to the AOPC.

   1.3 Application of the Schedules

 This document sets forth schedules and guidelines for records that are being used by personnel of the Unified Judicial System and related staff that support the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but not records maintained by county officers which are set forth in the County Records Manual.

 These schedules and guidelines are intended to supplant existing practices for the retention and disposition of permanent and non-permanent records and to help officials responsible for record disposition proceed consistently throughout the Unified Judicial System of the Commonwealth. It is recognized that the same type of record may be under the control of different offices or personnel in the various Judicial Districts. Nonetheless, the retention period of the record remains the same, although the office or personnel charged with the responsibility of retaining or disposing of the record may vary.

   1.3.1 Conflict With Other Retention Schedules

 These schedules are intended to be consistent with those set forth in the County Records Manual. However, if conflicts arise, this schedule shall govern.

   1.4 Mandatory Minimum Retention Periods

 The record retention periods set forth herein are minimum terms for the retention of the respective files after which the files may be disposed. While the files may be destroyed—in accordance with the conditions and procedures contained herein—they may also be retained for longer than the established retention periods. Those decisions are best left to court records management officials and their leaders. The District Record Retention Officer—as further defined in §  2.1 below—will be available to provide information and guidance as necessary.

 Absent good cause to the contrary, personnel should dispose of files in conformity with the minimum standards in the schedules. The retention periods have undergone considerable scrutiny, both in terms of practicality and for conformance with legally accepted standards from many sources.

   1.4.1 Identification of Records

 The ability to dispose of records in an efficient and responsible manner is dependent upon the reliable identification of the records in question. Therefore, officials, when storing records subject to these retention schedules, should do so in a manner that clearly sets forth the materials contained in the files under consideration. Information may include such elements as the date the record was created, the subject matter, record type (i.e., presentence reports, notes of testimony, etc.), and scheduled destruction date.

   1.5 Effective Date

 This Record Retention Schedule shall become effective as provided by the Supreme Court.

   2. Record Disposal and Retention Procedures

 No permanent or non-permanent record may be disposed unless in compliance with the procedure set forth in this Schedule.

   2.1 Central Point of Contact for Record Retention

 As a central point of contact, a ‘‘Record Retention Officer,’’ designated by the District Court Administrator with the approval of the President Judge, will coordinate the disposition of records within each Judicial District. No records may be destroyed without the approval of the Record Retention Officer.

   2.2 Disposal Request Procedure: Permanent Records

 Within each District, the record custodian (or person making the disposal request) must submit requests to destroy or transfer permanent records to the Record Retention Officer utilizing a Unified Judicial System Scheduled Court Records Disposal Certification Request form adopted by the AOPC pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 507(b). The Record Retention Officer shall review the form for completeness and ascertain and certify in writing that the records to be destroyed have been replicated on a medium approved by the Supreme Court, (See §  6 Retention Forms) and must forward the original form to the AOPC at such location as may be provided from time to time. A copy of each request form must be retained by the Record Retention Officer for the District. The AOPC shall review the Disposal Certification Request and shall forward same to the PHMC in the event an advisory opinion is deemed necessary, or, if not, shall approve or deny the request. The AOPC will return a copy of the request form reflecting the decision to authorize or deny the request. If the request is authorized, the specified record(s) may be destroyed or transferred to the PHMC, as specifically provided in the form. No permanent records may be destroyed or transferred unless the request form with the authorization from the AOPC has been received by the Record Retention Officer. The form must be retained permanently.

 The following procedure must be followed:

   1.  Permanent records must not be destroyed without approval of the AOPC.

   2.  Requests for the destruction of permanent records will be submitted by the records custodian to the Record Retention Officer utilizing a form approved by the AOPC pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 507(b).

   3.  The Record Retention Officer will review the request form to verify that the records in question are permanent records and confirm in writing that those records have been transferred to an acceptable medium (See §  6 Retention Forms). Only then will the Record Retention Officer forward the request to the AOPC. Where records have been transferred to microfilm format, the standards and quality control measures set forth in the County Records Manual shall apply (See County Records Manual at page 1-MF-1).

   4.  Upon receipt of the Disposal Certification Request form, AOPC shall determine whether an advisory opinion should be solicited from the PHMC. If so, the AOPC shall forward a copy of the form to the PHMC for review, and shall consider the recommendation of the PHMC in deciding whether to grant or deny the request. If an advisory opinion is not deemed necessary, the AOPC shall determine whether to grant the request based upon a review of the form.Upon determination, the AOPC shall send a copy to the Record Retention Officer. When the Record Retention Officer receives the written response from the AOPC, a copy shall be sent to the record custodian of the unit that requested leave to destroy the records, with instructions for their disposal.

   5.  No permanent record may be destroyed without having complied with the specific direction set forth by the AOPC at the time permission to destroy the permanent record is granted.

   2.3 Disposal Request Procedure & Log: Non-permanent Records

 A request to destroy non-permanent scheduled records must be submitted by the record custodian requesting permission to dispose of the record(s) to the Record Retention Officer utilizing a Unified Judicial System Disposal Log for Non-Permanent Records form adopted by the AOPC as provided in Pa.R.J.A. No. 507. The Record Retention Officer shall review the Records Disposal Log Form for completeness and shall grant written permission to dispose of such non-permanent records upon ascertaining that the applicable retention period as set forth in the schedule has been met. Written approval from the AOPC is not necessary before destroying non-permanent records as identified in the schedule. A log of individual disposition actions involving non-permanent records must be maintained. Copies of the Records Disposal Log Form shall be submitted on an annual basis to the AOPC. (See §  4.5 Form Retention)

 The following procedure must be followed:

   1.  The record custodian seeking permission to dispose of the record shall complete a Record Disposal Log Form for records designated for destruction pursuant to the appropriate schedule, and shall submit the form to the Record Retention Officer for review and approval. (See §  6. Retention Forms at the end of this document)

   2.  The Record Retention Officer will indicate approval or disapproval in the provided place(s), and return a copy to the individual submitting the destruction request. The original Records Disposal Log Form will be retained by the Record Retention Officer.

   3.  If approved, the records listed on the log form may then be destroyed.

   4.  No later than January 31st of every year, the Record Retention Officer will forward to the AOPC a copy of the log forms listing the records that have been disposed during the previous year.

   2.4 Destruction Hold Procedures

   2.4.1 Matters In Litigation

 Notwithstanding the disposition schedules set forth herein, no record which is otherwise eligible for disposition shall be destroyed if the District becomes aware that the record may be needed for pending litigation. District Court Administrators or their designees, upon having the knowledge or belief of actual or impending litigation requiring the preservation of certain records, shall immediately so notify in writing the Record Retention Officer, and appropriate deputies or other staff, to ensure the preservation of the subject records, as well as suspending any destruction or transfer activities. Such records shall be retained until all related proceedings have been concluded or until such time as, in the written opinion of counsel for the District or the AOPC, the threat of litigation has been removed. (See also §  4.9 Litigation: Judicial Districts and Employees)

   2.4.2 Matters Pending Audit

 Records subject to audit must be retained for the periods listed in the schedule and must be audited and all findings resolved before such records may be destroyed. Applicable Federal and State statutes and administrative regulations may necessitate retaining records for a longer period of time than indicated in the schedule. Information on specific program regulations should be obtained from the appropriate administering/funding/licensing agency.

   2.5 Methods of Record Destruction

   2.5.1 Confidential Records

 Where confidential information may be contained in the records, shredding is the preferred method of destruction. Otherwise, records may be incinerated under the direct supervision of the District.

   2.5.2 Non-Confidential Records

 Records that do not contain confidential information may be shredded, incinerated, or otherwise disposed according to general practice.

 Records stored at vendor sites designated for record storage, maintenance, and disposition may be destroyed under the supervision of the vendor with written confirmation from the vendor that the records have been disposed.

   2.6 Liability of Record Retention Officer and System and Related Personnel.

 Record retention officers and/or system and related personnel involved in record retention and disposal duties shall be immune from all civil liability that may be related to records management practices provided that the disposition of records is accomplished in accordance with the terms of the within schedule, and any amendment thereto.4

   


   4 Patterned after the County Records Act, which provides that ‘‘No County officer shall be held liable on his official bond or in any way, either civil or criminal, because of the disposition of records, provided he disposes of the records in accordance with the schedules adopted by the committee.’’ Act No. 407, August 14, 1963, as amended. See 16 P. S. §  13005.

   2.7 Disposal Request Procedure: Damaged Records

 Records are to be maintained at such appropriate locations as to minimize their potential loss or damage. It is crucial that Districts periodically undertake risk assessments of the conditions under which records are stored, and take appropriate steps to mitigate the threat of damage. Extensive information on Disaster Planning and Vital Records protection is provided by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission on its website, at http://www.phmc.state.pa.us (see Records Management, State Government Services, Disaster Planning & Vital Records; and Local Government/Judicial System Services, Disaster Planning & Vital Records Management). All Record Retention Officers are encouraged to take advantage of the information provided, which includes generic templates for the establishment of Disaster Response and Recovery Plans.

 Despite periodic risk assessments, some records may be damaged before the expiration of their retention period by unforeseeable natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, or other causes. When records are damaged, an assessment must be immediately conducted to determine the potential for their recovery. Districts should attempt to salvage and preserve all damaged records whenever possible. Only after an appropriate determination has been made that the damaged records cannot be salvaged or restored should their disposal be requested. Of course, records that are beyond their mandatory minimum retention period and have no administrative, legal or historical value may be destroyed without approval from the AOPC, provided, however, that the protocol established in Section 2.3 is followed.

 The request to dispose of damaged records must be made by the District Court Administrator, after consultation with the official responsible for the records and the Record Retention Officer and at the conclusion of the evaluation process necessary to determine the salvageability of the damaged records. The District Court Administrator must personally view all records whose disposal is sought, and must attach photographs and other appropriate description of the damage and justification for the request to dispose of the records.

 The District must consider the following factors in determining that the records cannot be salvaged and must be destroyed: whether the records are permanent or non-permanent; whether the records are subject to audit, and if so, whether an audit has been completed; whether the records can be salvaged by ordinary methods such as air drying; whether the records may be salvaged by extraordinary means such as retaining an expert in record reconstruction; whether the damaged records pose a health risk in their continued storage; whether any movement of the damaged records can be safely made; whether the cost of restoring the record exceeds its value, administrative, historical, or otherwise.

 In the event the damaged records whose destruction is being sought are subject to an audit, and copies of the damaged records are not available, the official responsible for the records shall notify the auditing entity, as soon as practicable, that the specified records were damaged, describe the nature of the damage, and represent that on a date certain a Unified Judicial System Record Disposal Certification Request—Damaged Records form will be submitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts seeking permission to destroy the damaged records unless the auditing entity requests, before the submission date, a reasonable delay in seeking destruction of the damaged records. Information concerning the notice provided (date, name of auditing entity and address) as well as responses, if any, will be entered on the Unified Judicial System Record Disposal Certification Request—Damaged Records form. Of course, no notification need be made if a copy of the records exists, if the damaged records were audited, or are not subject to an audit.

 A Unified Judicial System Record Disposal Certification Request—Damaged Records form must be submitted by the District Court Administrator to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, at such location as may be provided from time to time. In order to expedite the approval process where public health and safety concerns are present, the Record Disposal Certification Request form should be submitted by electronic mail or fax. The AOPC will return a copy of the request form reflecting the decision to authorize or deny the request. If the request is authorized, the specified damaged record(s) may be destroyed

 The following procedure must be followed to seek permission to dispose of Damaged Records:

   1.  The official responsible for maintaining the records must notify the Record Retention Officer and District Court Administrator immediately upon ascertaining that records which are subject to a Record Retention Schedule have been damaged.

   2.  The Record Retention Officer will immediately conduct a personal inspection of the damaged records. In the event the Record Retention Officer is of the opinion that the damaged records may not be salvageable, the Record Retention Officer must inform the District Court Administrator.

   3.  The District Court Administrator will direct the Record Retention Officer and official responsible for the records to conduct an appropriate evaluation of the options available to restore the damaged records and will request the preparation of a comprehensive report detailing the available options, if any. The Report should include photographs or other representations of the current condition of the damaged records.

   4.  If the Report issued by the Record Retention Officer and official responsible for the records reveals that the damaged records cannot be safely salvaged, the District Court Administrator shall personally review the damaged records and, if he/she is in agreement with the Report, shall complete a Unified Judicial System Record Disposal Certification Request—Damaged Records form and forward it to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   5.  The damaged records must be maintained until such time as the District Court Administrator has received a written response from the AOPC approving the disposal of the damaged records.

   3. Microfilm and Electronic Archival Systems

 The last several years have seen the introduction of numerous technologies with indications that they may have the potential to change traditional archiving practices. Magnetic tape, optical disk and CD Rom have caused the use of microfilm as the sole method of non-paper archiving to be questioned by some. However, officials are cautioned that the decision to utilize archiving media other than microfilm requires implementation of policies and practices to ensure that the integrity of the data is maintained and that the ability to extract the data in a human readable format is present for the entire retention period. Therefore, all records stored in any electronic manner, including but not limited to Magnetic Tape, Optical Disk or CD Rom, must be refreshed or migrated at intervals not exceeding eight years. Additionally, under no circumstances are computer hard drives or disks running on direct access storage devices to be used for archiving purposes as these devices are subject to periodic failure.

 When considering the preservation of documents having a retention period in excess of twenty-five years, it is recommended that the conservative microfilm method be utilized. The microfilming standards and quality control guidelines contained in the County Records Manual are adopted herein. That manual also contains guidelines concerning the retention and disposition of records onto optical imaging and storage systems. These also are hereby adopted, with the exception of §  8(d)(iii) and §  8(d)(iv).

 Paper documents with less than a twenty-five year retention period and all documents originating electronically such as indices and dockets may be archived using media other than microfilm provided the refresh/migrate safeguards noted above are followed. Used within the context of this Schedule, the following definitions shall apply:

   Refresh—To move data/images from one medium to the same medium (i.e., tape to tape). This requires an analysis of the medium and the associated software and hardware to determine its viability for the next eight years.

   Migrate—To move data/images from one medium to a new medium (i.e., tape to CD Rom) one software program to a current version or another program and/or from one hardware platform to a new hardware platform.

 Retention periods that govern files in paper form also govern records in electronic form. (See §  1.2 Definitions, Electronic Records)

   4. Retention and Disposition of Miscellaneous Records

   4.1 Annual Reports

 Annual reports of the Judicial Districts are considered permanently valuable for historical and research purposes, and should be retained permanently

   4.2 Electronic Case Indices

 Electronic computer indices listing cases disposed, generally indexed by year that show party/defendant name, case number, and disposition are to be retained permanently and refreshed or migrated consistent with the requirements set forth in §  3. Microfilm and Electronic Archival Systems. These may include indices maintained by Common Pleas Courts, Magisterial District Courts, Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and the Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation, and Domestic Relations offices. Paper copies may be destroyed through the most convenient means upon being replaced.

   4.3 Notes of Testimony

 Retention periods for notes of testimony are generally determined by: whether they have been transcribed; whether and with whom they have been filed; and whether they pertain to testimony in juvenile court proceedings.

   4.3.1 Raw Notes of Testimony

 Raw notes of testimony are those on paper tapes and/or other media in the original state in which they existed when taken at the time of testimony. Consistent with Pa.R.J.A. 5000.13(b) once transcribed, raw stenographic notes may be destroyed 60 days after filing. Raw notes that have not been transcribed may be destroyed seven years from the date of testimony.

   4.3.2 Transcribed Notes of Testimony—Filed

 Transcribed notes of testimony filed with the Prothonotary, Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, and Clerks of Court are subject to the retention periods set forth in the County Records Manual under those offices, and need not be retained by the Judicial District, court reporter or court.

   4.3.2.1 Juvenile Matters

 Transcribed notes of testimony filed in juvenile matters shall be retained until the subject reaches the age of 25, or, 10 years after the last action in the case, whichever is later. (See §  5.7 Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Records). Raw notes that have not been transcribed may be destroyed seven years from the date of testimony.

   4.3.3 Transcribed Notes of Testimony—Not Filed

 Transcribed notes of testimony not filed with the Prothonotary, Clerk of the Orphans’ Court, and Clerks of Court are subject to the retention periods set forth in the County Records Manual under those offices, and must be retained by the Judicial District for the retention periods set forth in the County Records Manual.

   4.3.4 Method: Record Retention Disposal Log

 Disposal of raw notes shall be accomplished as provided in §  2.3 Disposal Request Procedure & Log: Non-permanent Records. When completing Records Disposal Log Forms, the untranscribed raw notes need not be listed on the Records Disposal Log by caption and case number, but may be listed merely by date of hearing.

   4.3.5 Audio, Digital and Video Recordings

 Except as otherwise provided in this schedule, audio, digital, and video recordings made in matters of record have the same retention periods as do their paper equivalents. (See §  4.3.1 Raw Notes of Testimony, §  5.7 Juvenile [Delinquency and Dependency Records], §  5.3 Domestic Relations Records, and §  5.2 Magisterial District Courts, etc.)

   4.3.5.1 Mental Health Proceedings

 Audio, digital, and video recordings made in mental health proceedings should be retained for one year from the date of the hearing at which they were made.

   4.4 Personal Records of the Judiciary

 The judiciary should dispose of personal files not integrally related to court operations. The judiciary is encouraged to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the numbers and types of files to be retained. Moreover, certain files often included among judicial personal records are already retained elsewhere, and it is neither necessary, nor advisable, to retain these types of files. They include the following:

   Notes of Testimony—which are subject to retention schedules applicable to official Court Reporters, Prothonotaries and Clerks of Court and are available from those entities.

   Pre-Sentence Reports—which are subject to retention schedules applicable to the Probation Department and are available from that agency.

   Mental Health Evaluation Reports—which are subject to retention schedules applicable to the Probation Department are available from that agency.

   Pleadings—which are subject to retention schedules applicable to the Clerks of Court or Prothonotary and are available from those agencies.

   4.4.1 Retention Period.

 Records submitted for storage by the judiciary will be retained for as long as the records are of administrative value and as otherwise specified by the individual judge, provided however, that no record will be retained for any longer than two years from the conclusion of the judge’s term of office.

   4.5 Form Retention

 All retention forms shall be retained permanently

   4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901

 Records of Court of Common Pleas cases filed with Clerks of Court or Prothonotary which are disposed pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901 and local rules enacted thereunder, are subject to the retention periods set forth in the County Records Manual under §  4.B.X.(b)3. (Relating to Clerks of Court), and §  3.B.VII.(b)11. (Relating to Prothonotaries), and shall be disposed consistent with the provisions of the County Records Manual. Records of all other cases may be disposed 60 days after the entry of the order to terminate such matters.

   4.7 Trial/Hearing Lists

 Trial/Hearing Lists are used universally across all courts of the Commonwealth. Such documents, used by court personnel for the daily conduct of courtroom activities, include information such as parties’ names, addresses, charges, case numbers, attorney information, etc.

 Trial/Hearing Lists should be retained for as long as they are of administrative value, but are not to be destroyed if they might be referenced during litigation concerning speedy trial issues.

   4.8 Expungement of Records

 Court orders for the expungement of records shall supercede the conditions of this schedule.

   4.9 Litigation: Judicial Districts and Employees

 Records relating to litigation involving the District and/or District employees must be maintained and available for the pendency of the litigation. They should be retained for a minimum of six years following the expiration of the appeal period.

   5. Schedules

 The tables below and on the following pages will provide listings of the various types of affected records, grouped into major categories, or series: 1) Adoptions; 2) Magisterial District Courts, Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court; 3) Domestic Relations; 4) Facilities; 5) Financial; 6) Jury Commissioner; 7) Juvenile—Delinquency and Dependency; 8) Payroll; 9) Personnel; 10) President and Administrative Judges and Court Administrators; 11) Pretrial Services; 12) Probation (Adult); 13) Protection from Abuse; and 14) Purchasing.

   5.1 Adoptions Records

Category Description
Retention Period
ADOPTIONS
Adoption Dockets, Indices,
& Papers
Record of all proceedings in adoptions. Indices of the adoption dockets. Shows
name of the person adopted, name of the adopting parents, date of adoption, case
number, and volume and page where recorded in the adoption docket. Case files include petitions, paternity claims, consents, reports, notices, hearings, decrees, exhibits, notes of testimony, certifications of adoption, voluntary relinquishments, involuntary terminations, information on child and natural parents, investigators’ reports on the adoptees, doctors’ reports, recommenda-ions from pastor, and all other records relating to adoptions.
Retain permanently for administrative and legal purposes.

   5.2  Magisterial District Courts, Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Philadelphia Municipal Court Records

Category Time Measured From:
Mandatory Retention Period
TRAFFIC CITATIONS
Traffic Citations—Disposed From final disposition—payment of all monies due, satisfactory completion of all sentences imposed, and/or entry of an order terminating further court activity, except records for cases disposed under Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901. (See §  4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901) Retain 3 years.
CIVIL RECORDS
Civil Original Papers Entry of Judgments, except records for cases disposed under Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901.
(See §  4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901)
Retain 7 years.
Discharge, Verdict, or Other Disposition Without Judgment, except records for cases disposed under
Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901. (See
§  4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901)
Retain 3 years.
Civil Dockets From final disposition in Magisterial District Court. Retain 7 years.
Notes of Testimony
(Including Audio, Digital,
and Video Recordings)
Expiration of appeal period. Retain 1 year.
CRIMINAL RECORDS
Criminal Dockets & Indices From final disposition—payment of all monies due, satisfactory completion of all sentences imposed, and/or entry of an order terminating further court activity. Retain 7 years.
Original Papers in Misdemeanor and Felony Cases From final disposition—payment of all monies due, satisfactory completion of all sentences imposed, and/or entry of an order terminating further court activity except records for cases disposed under Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901.
(See §  4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901)
Retain 3 years.
Non-Traffic Citations, & Summary Criminal
Complaints
From final disposition—payment of all monies due, satisfactory completion of all sentences imposed, and/or entry of an order terminating further court activity, except records for cases disposed under Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901.
(See §  4.6 Records Disposed Pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 1901)
Retain 3 years.
Magisterial District Courts/Pittsburgh Municipal/Philadelphia Municipal
Courts General Correspondence Records
Not Relating to Official
Action Taken
Filing in Magisterial District Courts/Pittsburgh Municipal Court/Philadelphia Municipal Court. Retain 1 year.
FINANCIAL RECORDS
Financial Incoming Records: Journals, Ledgers, Receipts, Bank Statements, etc. Close of the year for which
the records apply.
Retain 7 years.
MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS
Miscellaneous Matters
Where Official Action
Taken (Including Search Warrants and Affidavits)
Filing in Magisterial District Courts/Pittsburgh Municipal Court/Philadelphia Municipal Court. Retain 3 years, except for unexecuted search warrants and affidavits which shall be destroyed pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 212(B).

   5.3 Domestic Relations Records

Category Description
Retention Period
DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Divorce and Annulment
Papers
Complaint; Proof/Affidavit/
Acknowledgment of Service
of complaint/Answers/
Counter Claim; Final
Decree; Property, Custody, Alimony, and Support
Orders; Agreements; and Notice of Election to Retake Prior Name.
Retain permanently for administrative and legal purposes.
All other papers in Divorce
or Annulment actions (e.g. Masters’ Reports, Notes of Testimony, Inventories and Appraisements, Income and Expense Statements, Correspondence, Proposed/Suggested Schedules of Distribution, Notices of Counseling, Hearing Notices, and other Certificates of service Special Relief
Papers)
Retain for 5 years after Final Decree in Divorce or Annulment.
Domestic Relations Files Complaint for Support, Support Orders, Acknowledgments of
Paternity and Genetic test results, Petitions for Modification, Transcripts of Court Proceedings, Court Opinions, and Appeals to Superior Court, Custody records in matters not involving divorce.
Retain permanently, except for custody records in matters not involving divorce. If not part of a divorce action, retain 20 years after filing of order granting custody.
Orders for earnings and
health insurance information, Appearance Orders, Bench Warrant Orders, Contempt Orders, and Income Withholding Orders.
Retain 4 years unless otherwise provided by the rules and regulations promulgated by the appropriate administering/ funding/licensing agency (Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Dockets and Indices Dockets and indices
pertaining to papers filed in Domestic Relations cases, including Divorce and Annulment.
Retain permanently.

   5.4 Facilities Documents

Category Description
Retention Period
FACILITIES
Space Allocation & Use Records Records used to manage
office space & facilities in
the courthouse and
government complex.
Shows department space
usage and future needs.
Retain 5 years.
Facility Maintenance—
Routine
Records of maintenance and other work performed on major equipment or systems. Usually shows date, type of repair, cost and workers. Retain 5 years.
Leases Signed original leases and supporting work papers. Retain general written leases 6 years after termination or the termination of any substitute or renewal thereof.
Construction Contracts Signed original contracts or agreements and supporting work papers Retain construction contracts 12 years after termination or the termination of any substitute or renewal thereof.
Parking Permit/Assignments Applications, waiting lists,
and assignments for parking spaces.
Retain 6 months after permit expires.
Incident Investigation
Records
Records documenting
incidents and investigations
by District staff, including
but not limited to injury,
theft, or breach of District policies relating thereto.
Retain 5 years after investigation is closed or concluded.

   5.5 Financial Records

Category Description
Retention Period
FINANCIAL
Accounts Payable Files Bills including certain Court Appointed Lawyers’ bills
and Court Reporter,
Interpreter, and jury
expenses, check vouchers, invoices, purchase orders & requisitions, receiving reports, and other records of payment for goods & services.
Retain 7 years.
Accounts Payable Ledgers Usually indicates date, department or cost center, invoice & check number, vendor’s name, amount and account totals. Retain 7 years.
Accounts Receivable Files
& Ledgers
Records document monies owed and paid to the court, showing date, department or fund, amount received and account total. Retain 7 years.
Receipts Records that document payments received by the
court from parties, fees, or other monies assessed for
fees or services.
Retain 3 years.
Cash Register Accounting Records used to reconcile transactions with cash on
hand at the end of each day.
Retain 3 years.
Canceled checks Checks that have been paid
by the bank and returned to the depositor as evidence
that the payee has received
the funds.
Retain 7 years.
Deposit Slips Consists of copies of slips listing and accompanying
bank deposits showing date, account, clerk numbers, and amounts.
Retain 3 years.
Controller Reports Includes a summary of the financial condition of the District, with an account of
all receipts, expenditures, disbursements, revenues, assets, and liabilities.
Retain Permanently.
Grant Administration Records Usually include application, purpose, personnel, and budget, financial reports, correspondence and other related papers. Comply with Funding Agency.
Budget Preparation Files Records created and used during budget development and request including cost statements, estimates, justifications, narratives,
spread sheets, and relevant background materials.
Retain FY plus 5 years or as otherwise provided by funding source.
Budget Request Copy of the final budget request created by the court along with supporting materials that document communications between the District and the funding source, and may include documents relating to negotiations and review after the budget request. Retain FY plus 3 years or as otherwise provided by funding source.

   5.6 Jury Commissioner Records

Category Description
Retention Period
Calendars of Drawings Published listing of dates
for court trials and hearings. Indicates court date, drawing date, and mailing date.
Retain until end of court term/session.
JURY LISTS
Jury Records: Master Lists
of Prospective Jurors
List of county residents, in manual or electronic form, who may be eligible to
serve as jurors. Includes
name, street address, city
and zip code. May be
drawn from Voter
Registration, Department
of Motor Vehicles, or other source lists.
Retain until end of court term/session. For courts with continuous trial terms, retain 2 years after creation of list.
Jury Selection Lists Result of regular drawings
for each court term/session. The number of names is designated by the president judge and drawn at random from the master list of prospective jurors. Includes individual’s name and
address, and sometimes occupation.
Retain 5 years after end of court term/session. For courts with continuous trial terms, retain 6 years after creation of list.
Lists of Qualified Jurors Names drawn from the jury selection list of all those individuals determined
eligible for jury duty.
Retain 5 years after end of court term/session. For courts with continuous trial terms, retain 5 years after mailing.
Exempt Jurors List List of individuals excused from jury duty, with reason
for exemption.
Retain as long as of administrative value.
Juror Qualification Forms [As provided in 42 Pa. C.S. §  4521(d)] Returned questionnaires of prospective jurors used to evaluate their qualifications to serve on a jury. May include information on name, age, residence, employer, citizenship, literacy, disability, criminal record, prior service, occupation, and undue hardship. Signed by respondent. Retain until completion of jurors’ service unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge.
Juror Information Questionnaires (As provided in Pa.R.Crim.P. 632) Questionnaires used during voir dire process. Retain until completion of jurors’ service unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge, during which time it shall be sealed.
Service Review Forms
(Exit Questionnaires)
Optional evaluation form
filled out by jurors on completion of jury duty and designed to solicit opinions concerning various aspects
of jury duty.
Retain as long as of administrative value.
MINUTES
Minutes of the Jury
Selection Commission
Information may include
date and place of meetings; names of members who attended; name, address and occupation of each juror selected; type of jury for which each juror was drawn; type of court and term of service; and signature of jury commissioners’ clerk.
Retain 7 years; then contact State Archives to arrange transfer of selected books. Those records not selected may be destroyed.

   5.7 Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Records

Category Description
Retention Period
JUVENILE
Juvenile Dependency Case Dockets Books & Indices,
and Juvenile Delinquency
and Dependency Papers/
Files, Probation Files
A.  All dockets, books, and indices pertaining to papers filed in juvenile delinquency and dependency cases.

B.  Papers filed in juvenile delinquency and dependency matters including dependent petitions, orders, counsel appointments, mental health evaluations background information, drug & alcohol test results, case supervision records, and transcribed testimony.

C. All other delinquency
and dependency papers retained by the District.
Retain permanently—the Docket, plus original court orders pertaining to adjudication, disposition and consent decrees. All other records—retain until age 25 or 10 years after last action on the case whichever is later. No distinction between dependent cases and delinquent cases.

   5.8 Payroll Records

Category Description
Retention Period
PAYROLL
Daily Time Sheets Employee’s name date and hours worked each day. Retain 3 years.
Employee Payroll
Adjustment Records
Usually includes employee’s name and social security number and amounts
withheld for Federal and
State taxes, insurance,
bonds and any other deductions.
Retain 4 years.
Individual Employee’s
Earning Record—Terminated
Often kept in card form,
salary history includes employee’s name and
address, social security number, department, position, date of birth, date employed, and salary/earnings history totals, posted for the duration of county employment. Usually transferred to Individual Pension Files
upon termination of employment.
Employees Who Separate with Post-termination Benefits—Retain 3 years after all benefits have been paid. Records may be transferred to County Pension Board.
Employees Who Separate without Post-termination Benefits—Retain 5 years after termination of employment.
Payroll Deduction Authorizations Completed by employee,
the record usually indicates employee’s name and
address, department, social security number, deductions authorized and employee’s signature [W-4].
Retain 4 years after cancelled or superceded; or employment is terminated.
Payroll Earnings and Deductions Registers Generally includes
employee’s name, social security number, gross earnings, taxes withheld, deductions, net earnings,
check number and date of payment.
Pay period reports—Retain 4 years.
Year-to-date annual summary—If payroll data is posted to individual employee’s earning record, retain 7 years; otherwise retain 100 years.

   5.9 Personnel Documents

Category Description
Retention Period
PERSONNEL
Applications for Employment—Not Hired Includes applications,
resumes, pre-employment records.
Retain 2 years.
Employee Card Files or Record Books Summary may include employee’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, job and salary
history, benefit and
termination data.
Retain permanently for administrative and historical purposes.
Individual Employee’s Personnel Records File may include, employee
ID card, application, references, photo ID
records, resume, EAR, and records pertaining to health and life insurance, performance evaluations, commendations, training, change forms, retirement, letters of resignation,
vacation and sick leave,
salary, separation correspondence.
Vested employees—Retain 3 years after all benefits have been paid.
Non-vested employees—Retain 5 years after termination.
Employee Medical Records May include pre-employment and other medical records showing health or physical condition of employee during their tenure. Same as Employee’s Personnel Records. For those exposed to toxic substances or harmful agents in the workplace, retain at least 30 years after termination & comply with OSHA standards.
Job Descriptions & Announcements Narrative descriptions of
job duties & responsibilities.
Descriptions: Retain current plus one prior revision. Announcements: 2 years after position is filled.
Labor Negotiation files Correspondence, reports,
other records used to
negotiate contracts with
labor unions representing employees.
Retain 5 years after contract expiration, or any renewal or extension thereof.
Labor Contracts and Memoranda of
Understanding
Contract and other records include date, terms, & appropriate signatures. Retain 20 years after contract or agreement expiration or any renewal or extension thereof.
Equal Employment Opportunity Records Includes affirmative action report (EEO-4) showing
total number of positions
by employment classification and related records,
including discrimination complaint files.
Retain EEO-4 and related records 3 years. Retain case files 4 years after resolution of the case.
Union Grievances Employee allegations of contract violations. Usually includes date, parties, and grievance. Retain 3 years after final resolution.
Merit System Examination Records & Answer Sheets Record may include examinee’s ID, name
address, title & signature,
test date & results, and
score. Answer sheet: examinee’s ID#, score,
test date and title.
Retain 5 years.
Training (Not Individual) Records related to specific courses. Retain 3 years after course is completed.
Immigration Records INS Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification Forms. Retain 3 years after date of hiring or 1 year after termination, whichever is later.

   5.10 President & Administrative Judges & Court Administrators

Category Description
Retention Period
Statistical and Annual
Reports
Reports describing the performance of various
court programs. May
include cases filed, cases disposed, pending caseload, etc.
Retain permanently for administrative, legal, and historical purposes.
Administrative Orders
and Regulations
Directives issued to
augment local Rules and Policies.
Retain permanently.
Judicial Assignment
Schedule
Directives setting forth courtroom and program assignments of judges. Retain weekly schedules for 2 years. Retain Semi-annual and annual schedules for 10 years.
Judicial Seniority Lists Document filed with the AOPC setting forth the
names of judges according
to court, birth date, and commencement of term.
Retain permanently for administrative, legal, and historical purposes.
General Administrative Documents Reports and general correspondence relating
to program activity, and
policy implementation or interpretation.
Retain 2 years after expiration of term of office.
Memoranda of
Understanding and
Cooperative Agreements
Written agreements between governmental entities. Retain permanently.

   5.11 Pretrial Services Records

Category Description
Retention Period
PRETRIAL SERVICES RECORDS
Pretrial Master Files, Electronic Monitoring Files, and Enforcement Records: Client-Based Files Pretrial service files that include client’s name, photo ID number, state ID number, address verification, case number, date, type of case, court history, arrest report, risk/needs assessment, enrollment form, home monitoring rules and regulations, home investigative report, progress reports, violation notes, officers’ notes, judicial and related correspondence.

May also include bail guidelines, financial eligibility interviews, bail review/reduction petitions, confidential mental health assessments, conditional release records, photographs, copies of bench warrants, and probation detainers.
Retain for 3 years from the final conclusion of the case based on the defendant’s latest arrest.
Some files may include physical data about the defendant, including date of entry and expiration date of the monitor device, type of completion, charge code, reports of the defendants’ movements, and related documents. May also include violation and progress reports to judges, system printouts with specific dates and times of curfew violations, judges’ orders, employment information, and overall performance of the defendant while on EM.

Also refers to Progress and Incident Reports regarding apprehensions, attempted apprehensions, and contacts with others in the home.
Pretrial Master Files, Electronic Monitoring Files, and Enforcement Records: Administrative Files Additionally, Pretrial Investigative files may
include Shift Incident
Logs, Street Logs, CJC
Bench Warrant Surrender Hearing logs, Shift
Assignment sheets, and
vehicle assignment.
Retain for 3 years from the final conclusion of the case based on the defendant’s latest arrest.

   5.12 Probation (Adult) Files

Category Description
Retention Period
ADULT PROBATION/PAROLE MASTER FILES
Probation/Parole Master
Files
Consists of records
pertaining to the Office of Probation and Parole, including the following: petitions to release to probation/parole,
commitment papers, court orders, pre-sentence investigation reports, background sheets with photo ID, hearing summaries, Prothonotary status reports, correspondence with treatment facilities, community service status, home monitoring and case supervision records, medical records, requests to terminate, interstate and intrastate transfers and related documents.
Retain for a minimum of one year after case is closed, then for as long as of administrative or legal value.
CASE FILE INDEX
Main Index to the master
files.
This index is kept in various forms. May contain
probation/parolee’s name,
date of release to probation/parole and termination date.
Retain as long as of administrative or legal value.

   5.13 Protection from Abuse

Category Description
Retention Period
PROTECTION FROM ABUSE
Protection from Abuse
Records
Retain 18 months after termination of protection order.5

   



   5 Statutory changes have necessitated the extension of the Protection from Abuse record retention period from 1 year—as indicated County Records Manual—to the 18 months indicated above.

   5.14 Purchasing Records

Category Description
Retention Period
PURCHASING
Purchase Order Files Copy of purchase order
usually shows number,
name and address of vendor, department and account, date, quantity, unit price and total cost. File may also include invoices, bills of lading and purchase requisitions.
Retain 7 years.
Purchasing Files Relates to acquisition of services, goods, and equipment. File may include specifications, bids, quotes, contracts, and other related papers (e.g. Requests for Proposals, Requests for Information). Retain 6 years.
Supply Requisitions Usually indicates date, department requesting
supplies, items needed,
total cost and account
number.
Retain 2 years.

   6. Retention Forms

 Unified Judicial System Scheduled Court Records Disposal Certification Request forms and Unified Judicial System Disposal Log for Non-Permanent Records forms are available in electronic and hard copy formats from the AOPC, and may be amended from time to time. Electronic versions will be available from the AOPC through http://www.pacourts.us/forms/for-the-judiciary/, and through the website for the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management at http://pacm.org. Copies of the forms are appended to this schedule.

   

   

   

   

   


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.51 amended December 13, 2013, effective January 1, 2014, 43 Pa.B. 7224. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (347797) to (347798).

§ 213.52. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this §  213.52 reserved December 13, 2013, effective January 1, 2014, 43 Pa.B. 7224. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (365243).

Subchapter C. ELECTRONIC CASE RECORD PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY OF THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA


Sec.


213.71.    Definitions.
213.72.    Statement of General Policy.
213.73.    Electronic Case Record Information Excluded from Public Access.
213.74.    Requests for Bulk Distribution of Electronic Case Records.
213.75.    Requests for Electronic Case Record Information from Another Court or Office.
213.76.    Responding to a Request for Access to Electronic Case Records.
213.77.    Fees.
213.78.    Correcting Data Errors.
213.79.    Continuous Availability of Policy.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter C adopted December 1, 2006, effective January 1, 2007, 36 Pa.B. 7234, unless otherwise noted.

§ 213.71. Definitions.

 (a)  ‘‘CPCMS’’ means the Common Pleas Criminal Court Case Management System.

 (b)  ‘‘Custodian’’ is the person, or designee, responsible for the safekeeping of electronic case records held by any court or office and for processing public requests for access to electronic case records.

 (c)  ‘‘Electronic Case Record’’ means information or data created, collected, received, produced or maintained by a court or office in connection with a particular case that exists in the PACMS, CPCMS, or MDJS and that appears on web docket sheets or is provided in response to bulk distribution requests, regardless of format. This definition does not include images of documents filed with, received, produced or maintained by a court or office which are stored in PACMS, CPCMS or MDJS and any other automated system maintained by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

 (d)  ‘‘MDJS’’ means the Magisterial District Judge Automated System.

 (e)  ‘‘Office’’ is any entity that is using one of the following automated systems: Pennsylvania Appellate Court Case Management System (PACMS); Common Pleas Criminal Court Case Management System (CPCMS); or Magisterial District Judge Automated System (MDJS).

 (f)  ‘‘PACMS’’ means the Pennsylvania Appellate Court Case Management System.

 (g)  ‘‘Party’’ means one by or against whom a civil or criminal action is brought.

 (h)  ‘‘Public’’ includes any person, business, non-profit entity, organization or association.

   (1)  ‘‘Public’’ does not include:

     (i)   Unified Judicial System officials or employees, including employees of the office of the clerk of courts, prothonotary, and any other office performing similar functions;

     (ii)   people or entities, private or governmental, who assist the Unified Judicial System or related offices in providing court services; and

     (iii)   any federal, state, or local governmental agency or an employee or official of such an agency when acting in his/her official capacity.

 (i)  ‘‘Public Access’’ means that the public may inspect and obtain electronic case records, except as provided by law or as set forth in this policy.

 (j)  ‘‘Request for Bulk Distribution of Electronic Case Records’’ means any request, regardless of the format the information is requested to be received in, for all or a subset of electronic case records.

 (k)  ‘‘UJS’’ means the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

 (l)  ‘‘Web Docket Sheets’’ are internet available representations of data that have been entered into a Unified Judicial System supported case management system for the purpose of recording filings, subsequent actions and events on a court case, and miscellaneous docketed items.

Source

   The provisions of this §  213.71 amended November 26, 2012, effective January 1, 2013, 42 Pa.B. 7520. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (347799) to (347800).

§ 213.72. Statement of General Policy.

 (a)  This policy covers all electronic case records.

 (b)  The public may inspect and obtain electronic case records except as provided by law or as set forth in this policy.

 (c)  A court or office may not adopt for electronic case records a more restrictive access policy or provide greater access than that provided for in this policy.

§ 213.73. Electronic Case Record Information Excluded from Public Access.

 The following information in an electronic case record is not accessible by the public:

   (1)  social security numbers;

   (2)  operator license numbers;

   (3)  victim information including name, address and other contact information;

   (4)  informant information including name, address and other contact information;

   (5)  juror information including name, address and other contact information;

   (6)  a party’s street address, except the city, state, and ZIP code may be released;

   (7)  witness information including name, address and other contact information;

   (8)  SID (state identification) numbers;

   (9)  financial institution account numbers, credit card numbers, PINS or passwords used to secure accounts;

   (10)  notes, drafts, and work products related to court administration or any office that is the primary custodian of an electronic case record;

   (11)  information sealed or protected pursuant to court order;

   (12)  information to which access is otherwise restricted by federal law, state law, or state court rule; and

   (13)  information presenting a risk to personal security, personal privacy, or the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice, as determined by the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania with the approval of the Chief Justice.

§ 213.74. Requests for Bulk Distribution of Electronic Case Records.

 (a)  A request for bulk distribution of electronic case records shall be permitted for data that is not excluded from public access as set forth in this policy.

 (b)  A request for bulk distribution of electronic case records not publicly accessible under §  213.73 of this Policy may be fulfilled where: the information released does not identify specific individuals; the release of the information will not present a risk to personal security or privacy; and the information is being requested for a scholarly, journalistic, governmental-related, research or case preparation purpose.

   (1)  Requests of this type will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

   (2)  In addition to the request form, the requestor shall submit in writing:

     (i)   the purpose/reason for the request;

     (ii)   identification of the information sought;

     (iii)   explanation of the steps that the requestor will take to ensure that the information provided will be secure and protected;

     (iv)   certification that the information will not be used except for the stated purposes; and

     (v)   whether IRB approval has been received, if applicable.

Source

   The provisions of this §  213.74 amended November 26, 2012, effective January 1, 2013, 42 Pa.B. 7520. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (347801) to (347802).

§ 213.75. Requests for Electronic Case Record Information from Another Court or Office.

 Any request for electronic case record information from another court should be referred to the proper record custodian in the court or office where the electronic case record information originated. Any request for electronic case record information concerning multiple magisterial district judge courts or judicial districts should be referred to the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.

§ 213.76. Responding to a Request for Access to Electronic Case Records.

 (a)  Within 10 business days of receipt of a written request for electronic case record access, the respective court or office shall respond in one of the following manners:

   (1)  fulfill the request, or if there are applicable fees and costs that must be paid by the requestor, notify requestor that the information is available upon payment of the same;

   (2)  notify the requestor in writing that the requestor has not complied with the provisions of this policy;

   (3)  notify the requestor in writing that the information cannot be provided; or

   (4)  notify the requestor in writing that the request has been received and the expected date that the information will be available. If the information will not be available within 30 business days, the court or office shall notify the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the requestor simultaneously.

 (b)  If the court or office cannot respond to the request as set forth in subsection (a), the court or office shall concurrently give written notice of the same to the requestor and Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

§ 213.77. Fees.

 (a)  Reasonable fees may be imposed for providing public access to electronic case records pursuant to this policy.

 (b)  A fee schedule shall be in writing and publicly posted.

 (c)  A fee schedule in any judicial district, including any changes thereto, shall not become effective and enforceable until:

   (1)  a copy of the proposed fee schedule is submitted by the president judge to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; and

   (2)  the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has approved the proposed fee schedule.

§ 213.78. Correcting Data Errors.

 (a)  A party to a case, or the party’s attorney, seeking to correct a data error in an electronic case record shall submit a written request for correction to the court in which the record was filed.

 (b)  A request to correct an alleged error contained in an electronic case record of the Supreme Court, Superior Court or Commonwealth Court shall be submitted to the prothonotary of the proper appellate court.

 (c)  A request to correct an alleged error contained in an electronic case record of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Municipal Court or a Magisterial District Court shall be submitted and processed as set forth below.

   (1)  The request shall be made on a form designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   (2)  The request shall be submitted to the clerk of courts if the alleged error appears in an electronic case record of the Court of Common Pleas or Philadelphia Municipal Court. The requestor shall also provide copies of the form to all parties to the case, the District Court Administrator and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   (3)  The request shall be submitted to the Magisterial District Court if the alleged error appears in an electronic case record of the Magisterial District Court. The requestor shall also provide copies of the form to all parties to the case, the District Court Administrator and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   (4)  The requestor shall set forth on the request form with specificity the information that is alleged to be in error and shall provide sufficient facts including supporting documentation that corroborates the requestor’s contention that the information in question is in error.

   (5)  Within 10 business days of receipt of a request, the clerk of courts or Magisterial District Court shall respond in writing to the requestor, all parties to the case, and Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, in one of the following manners:

     (i)   the request does not contain sufficient information and facts to adequately determine what information is alleged to be error; accordingly, the request form is being returned to the requestor; and no further action will be taken on this matter unless the requestor resubmits the request with additional information and facts.

     (ii)   the request does not concern an electronic case record that is covered by this policy; accordingly, the request form is being returned to the requestor; no further action will be taken on this matter.

     (iii)   it has been determined that an error does exist in the electronic case record and that the information in question has been corrected.

     (iv)   it has been determined that an error does not exist in the electronic case record.

     (v)   the request has been received and an additional period not exceeding 30 business days is necessary to complete the review of this matter.

   (6)  A requestor has the right to seek review of a final decision under paragraph (5)(i)—(iv) rendered by a clerk of courts or a Magisterial District Court within 10 business days of notification of that decision.

     (i)   The request for review shall be submitted to the District Court Administrator on a form that is designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

     (ii)   If the request for review concerns a Magisterial District Court’s decision, it shall be reviewed by the judge assigned by the President Judge.

     (iii)   If the request for review concerns a clerk of courts’ decision, it shall be reviewed by the judge who presided over the case from which the electronic case record alleged to be in error was derived.

§ 213.79. Continuous Availability of Policy.

 A copy of this policy shall be continuously available for public access in every court or office that is using the PACMS, CPCMS, and/or MDJS.

Subchapter D. CASE RECORDS PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY OF THE UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA


Sec.


213.81.    Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter D adopted January 6, 2017, effective January 6, 2018, 47 Pa.B. 291, unless otherwise noted.

§ 213.81. Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

   Section 1.0. Definitions.

 A.  ‘‘Abuse Victim’’ is a person for whom a protection order has been granted by a court pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1901 et seq. and 23 Pa.C.S. §  6101 et seq. or Pa.R.C.P. No. 1951 et seq. and 42 Pa.C.S §  62A01 et seq. as well as Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 1201 et seq.

 B.  ‘‘Case Records’’ are (1) documents for any case filed with, accepted and maintained by a court or custodian; (2) dockets, indices, and documents (such as orders, opinions, judgments, decrees) for any case created and maintained by a court or custodian. This term does not include notes, memoranda, correspondence, drafts, worksheets, and work product of judges and court personnel. Unless otherwise provided in this policy, this definition applies equally to case records maintained in paper and electronic formats.

 C.  ‘‘Clerical errors’’ are errors or omissions appearing in a case record that are patently evident, as a result of court personnel’s action or inaction.

 D.  ‘‘Court’’ includes the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Courts of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Magisterial District Courts.

 E.  ‘‘Court of Record’’ includes the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Courts of Common Pleas, and Philadelphia Municipal Court.

 F.  ‘‘Court Facility’’ is the location or locations where case records are filed or maintained.

 G.  ‘‘Custodian’’ is any person responsible for maintaining case records or for processing public requests for access to case records.

 H.  ‘‘Docket’’ is a chronological index of filings, actions, and events in a particular case, which may include identifying information of the parties and counsel, a brief description or summary of the filings, actions, and events, and other case information.

 I.  ‘‘Financial Account Numbers’’ include financial institution account numbers, debit and credit card numbers, and methods of authentication used to secure accounts such as personal identification numbers, user names and passwords.

 J.  ‘‘Financial Source Documents’’ are:

   1.  Tax returns and schedules;

   2.  W-2 forms and schedules including 1099 forms or similar documents;

   3.  Wage stubs, earning statements, or other similar documents;

   4.  Credit card statements;

   5.  Financial institution statements;

   6.  Check registers;

   7.  Checks or equivalent; and

   8.  Loan application documents.

 K.  ‘‘Medical/psychological records’’ are records relating to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual.

 L.  ‘‘Minor’’ is a person under the age of eighteen.

 M.  ‘‘Party’’ is one who commences an action or against whom relief is sought in a matter.

 N.  ‘‘Public’’ is any person, member of the media, business, non-profit entity, organization or association. The term does not include a party to a case; the attorney(s) of record in a case; Unified Judicial System officials or employees if acting in their official capacities; or any federal, state, or local government entity, and employees or officials of such an entity if acting in their official capacities.

 O.  ‘‘Remote Access’’ is the ability to electronically search, inspect, print or copy information in a case record without visiting the court facility where the case record is maintained or available, or requesting the case record from the court or custodian pursuant to Section 4.0.

Commentary

   Regarding Subsection B, ‘‘documents for any case filed with, accepted and maintained by a court or custodian’’ are those not created by a court or custodian, such as pleadings and motions. Indices are tools for identifying specific cases.

   Regarding Subsection C, examples of clerical errors are the docket entry links to the wrong document or court personnel misspells a name in the caption.

   Regarding Subsection G, the definition of ‘‘custodian’’ includes clerks of court, prothonotaries, clerks of orphans’ court and magisterial district judges, for example. The definition does not include those entities listed in Pa.R.A.P. 3191 who receive copies of briefs filed in an appellate court or a register of wills.

   Regarding Subsection K, this definition is derived from the definition of ‘‘health information’’ provided in 45 C.F.R. §  160.103 (HIPAA). Examples of case records that would fall within this exclusion are: drug and alcohol treatment records, psychological reports in custody matters, and DNA reports.

   Regarding Subsection M, amici curiae are not parties. See Pa.R.A.P. 531.

   Regarding Subsection N, Unified Judicial System officials or employees include: judicial officers and their personal staff, administrative staff and other central staff, prothonotaries, clerks of the courts, clerks of the orphans’ court division, sheriffs, prison and correctional officials, and personnel of all the above.

   Section 2.0. Statement of General Policy.

 A.  This policy shall govern access by the public to case records.

 B.  Security, possession, custody, and control of case records shall generally be the responsibility of the applicable custodian and designated staff.

 C.  Facilitating access by the public shall not substantially impede the orderly conduct of court business.

 D.  A court or custodian may not adopt more restrictive or expansive access protocols than provided for in this policy. Nothing in this policy requires a court or custodian to provide remote access to case records. However, if a court or custodian chooses to provide remote access to any of its case records, access shall be provided in accordance with Section 10.0.

Commentary

   The Electronic Case Record Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania provides for access to the statewide case management systems’ web docket sheets and requests for bulk data.

   Section 3.0. Access to Case Records.

 All case records shall be open to the public in accordance with this policy.

   Section 4.0. Requesting Access to Case Records.

 A.  When desiring to inspect or copy case records, a member of the public shall make an oral request to the applicable custodian, unless otherwise provided by a local rule or an order issued by a court of record.

 B.  When the information that is the subject of the request is complex or voluminous, the custodian may require a written request. If the requestor does not submit a written request when required, access may be delayed until the written request is submitted or a time when an individual designated by the custodian is available to monitor such access to ensure the integrity of the case records is maintained.

 C.  Requests shall identify or describe the records sought with specificity to enable the custodian to ascertain which records are being requested.

Commentary

   Public access requests to the courts and custodians are routinely straightforward and often involve a limited number of records. Therefore, artificial administrative barriers should not be erected so as to inhibit making these requests in an efficient manner.

   This policy provides the courts and custodians latitude to establish appropriate administrative protocols for viewing/obtaining case records remotely. However, the definition of ‘‘remote access’’ in Section 1.0 clarifies that a request under this section is neither necessary nor expected under this policy.

   Nonetheless, Subsection B provides a custodian with the flexibility to require that a more complex request be submitted in writing to avoid misunderstandings and errors that can often result in more time being expended to provide the requested information than is necessary. This approach is not novel; submission of a written request form has been a longstanding practice under the Unified Judicial System’s Electronic Case Record Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

   Subsection C does not require a requestor to identify a case by party or case number in order to have access to the files, but the request shall clearly identify or describe the records requested so that court personnel can fulfill the request.

   Written requests should be substantially in the format designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   Section 5.0. Responding to Requests for Access to Case Records.

 A.  A custodian shall fulfill a request for access to case records as promptly as possible under the circumstances existing at the time of the request.

 B.  If a custodian cannot fulfill the request promptly or at all, the custodian shall inform the requestor of the specific reason(s) why access to the information is being delayed or denied.

 C.  If a custodian denies a written request for access, the denial shall be in writing.

 D.  Except as provided in Subsection E, relief from a custodian’s written denial may be sought by filing a motion or application with the court for which the custodian maintains the records.

 E.  Relief from a magisterial district court may be sought by filing an appeal with the president judge of the judicial district or the president judge’s designee. Relief from a written denial by the Philadelphia Municipal Court may be sought by filing a motion with the president judge of Philadelphia Municipal Court or the president judge’s designee.

Commentary

   Given that most public access requests for case records are straightforward and usually involve a particular case or matter, custodians should process the same in an expeditious fashion.

   There are a number of factors that can affect how quickly a custodian may respond to a request. For example, the custodian’s response may be slowed if the request is vague, involves retrieval of a large number of case records, or involves information that is stored off-site. Ultimately, the goal is to respond timely to requests for case records.

   In those unusual instances in which access to the case records cannot be granted in an expeditious fashion, the custodian shall inform the requestor of the specific reason(s) why access to the information is being delayed or denied, which may include:

   • the request involves such voluminous amounts of information that the custodian is unable to fulfill the same without substantially impeding the orderly conduct of the court or custodian’s office;

   • records in closed cases are located at an off-site facility;

   • a particular file is in use by a judge or court staff. If a judge or court staff needs the file for an extended period of time, special procedures should be considered, such as making a duplicate file that is always available for public inspection;

   • the requestor failed to pay the appropriate fees, as established pursuant to Section 6.0 of this policy, associated with the request;

   • the requested information is restricted from access pursuant to applicable authority, or any combination of factors listed above.

   With respect to Subsection D, an aggrieved party may seek relief from a denial of a written request for access consistent with applicable authority (for example, in an appellate court, Pa.R.A.P. 123 sets forth procedures for applications for relief under certain circumstances, or pertinent motion practice at the trial court level).

   Section 6.0. Fees.

 A.  Unless otherwise provided by applicable authority, fees for duplication by photocopying or printing from electronic media or microfilm shall not exceed $0.25 per page.

 B.  Except as provided in Subsection C, a custodian shall establish a fee schedule that is (1) posted in the court facility in an area accessible to the public, and (2) posted on the custodian’s website.

 C.  Any fee schedule for a magisterial district court shall be established by the president judge of the judicial district by local rule pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(c). The fee schedule shall be publicly posted in an area accessible to the public.

Commentary

   Reasonable fees may be imposed for providing public access to case records pursuant to this policy and in accordance with applicable authority. This section does not authorize fees for viewing records that are stored at the court facility.

   To the extent that the custodian is not the court, approval of the fee schedule by the court may be necessary.

   An example of applicable authority setting forth photocopying fees is 42 Pa.C.S. §  1725(c)(1)(ii) that provides the Clerk of Orphans’ Court of the First Judicial District shall charge $3 per page for a copy of any record. See also 42 P.S. §  21032.1 (providing authority for the establishment of fees in orphans’ court in certain judicial districts). In addition, the copying fees for appellate court records are provided for in 204 Pa. Code §  155.1. However, copies of most appellate court opinions and orders are available for free on the Unified Judicial System’s website, www.pacourts.us.

   Section 7.0. Confidential Information.

 A.  Unless required by applicable authority or as provided in Subsection C, the following information is confidential and shall be not included in any document filed with a court or custodian, except on a Confidential Information Form filed contemporaneously with the document:

   1.  Social Security Numbers;

   2.  Financial Account Numbers, except an active financial account number may be identified by the last four digits when the financial account is the subject of the case and cannot otherwise be identified;

   3.  Driver License Numbers;

   4.  State Identification (SID) Numbers;

   5.  Minors’ names and dates of birth except when a minor is charged as a defendant in a criminal matter (see 42 Pa.C.S. §  6355); and

   6.  Abuse victim’s address and other contact information, including employer’s name, address and work schedule, in family court actions as defined by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1931(a), except for victim’s name.

 This section is not applicable to cases that are sealed or exempted from public access pursuant to applicable authority.

 B.  The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shall design and publish the Confidential Information Form.

 C.  Instead of using the Confidential Information Form, a court of record may adopt a rule or order permitting the filing of any document in two versions, a ‘‘Redacted Version’’ and ‘‘Unredacted Version.’’ The ‘‘Redacted Version’’ shall not include any information set forth in Subsection A, while the ‘‘Unredacted Version’’ shall include the information. Redactions must be made in a manner that is visibly evident to the reader. This Subsection is not applicable to filings in a magisterial district court.

 D.  Parties and their attorneys shall be solely responsible for complying with the provisions of this section and shall certify their compliance to the court. The certification that shall accompany each filing shall be substantially in the following form: ‘‘I certify that this filing complies with the provisions of the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania that require filing confidential information and documents differently than non-confidential information and documents.’’

 E.  A court or custodian is not required to review or redact any filed document for compliance with this section. A party’s or attorney’s failure to comply with this section shall not affect access to case records that are otherwise accessible.

 F.  If a filed document fails to comply with the requirements of this section, a court of record may, upon motion or its own initiative, with or without a hearing order the filed document sealed, redacted, amended or any combination thereof. A court of record may impose sanctions, including costs necessary to prepare a compliant document for filing in accordance with applicable authority.

 G.  If a filed document fails to comply with the requirements of this section, a magisterial district court may, upon request or its own initiative, with or without a hearing order the filed document redacted, amended or both.

 H.  This section shall apply to all documents for any case filed with a court or custodian on or after the effective date of this policy.

Commentary

   There is authority requiring information listed in Subsection A to appear on certain documents. For example, Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27 provides for inclusion of the plaintiff’s and defendant’s social security number on a complaint for support.

   This section is not applicable to cases that are sealed or exempted from public access pursuant to applicable authority, for example, cases filed under the Juvenile Act that are already protected by 42 Pa.C.S. §  6307, and Pa.Rs.J.C.P. 160 and 1160.

   While Pa.R.C.P. No. 1931 is suspended in most judicial districts, the reference to the rule is merely for definitional purposes.

   Unless constrained by applicable authority, court personnel and jurists are advised to refrain from inserting confidential information in court-generated case records (e.g., orders, notices) when inclusion of such information is not essential to the resolution of litigation, appropriate to further the establishment of precedent or the development of law, or necessary for administrative purposes. For example, if a court’s opinion contains confidential information and, therefore, must be sealed or heavily redacted to avoid release of such information, this could impede the public’s access to court records and ability to understand the court’s decision.

   Whether using a Confidential Information Form or filing a redacted and unredacted version of a document in a court of record, the drafter shall indicate where in the document confidential information has been omitted. For example, the drafter could insert minors’ initials in the document, while listing full names on the Confidential Information Form. If more than one child has the same initials, a different moniker should be used (e.g., child one, child two, etc.).

   The option to file a redacted and unredacted version of a document does not apply to filings in a magisterial district court. Most filings in magisterial district courts are completed on statewide forms designed by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Safeguarding the information set forth in this Section for magisterial district courts is achieved through the use of a Confidential Information Form (see Subsection A) in tandem with other administrative protocols (e.g., instituting a public access copy page to the citation form set).

   With regard to Subsection D, the certification of compliance is required whether documents are filed in paper form or via an e-filing system. Moreover, the certification is required on every document filed with a court or custodian regardless of whether the filing contains ‘‘confidential information’’ requiring safeguarding under this policy.

   With regard to Subsection E, a court or custodian is not required to review or redact documents filed by a party or attorney for compliance with this section. However, such activities are not prohibited.

   With regard to Subsection F any party may make a motion to the court of record to cure any defect(s) in any filed document that does not comport with this section.

   With regard to Subsection G, any party may file a request form designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts with a magisterial district court when there is an allegation that a filing was made with that court that does not comply with this policy.

   Section 8.0. Confidential Documents.

 A.  Unless required by applicable authority, the following documents are confidential and shall be filed with a court or custodian under a cover sheet designated ‘‘Confidential Document Form’’:

   1.  Financial Source Documents;

   2.  Minors’ educational records;

   3.  Medical/Psychological records;

   4.  Children and Youth Services’ records;

   5.  Marital Property Inventory and Pre-Trial Statement as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.33;

   6.  Income and Expense Statement as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.27(c); and

   7.  Agreements between the parties as used in 23 Pa.C.S. §  3105.

 This section is not applicable to cases that are sealed or exempted from public access pursuant to applicable authority.

 B.  The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shall design and publish the Confidential Document Form.

 C.  Confidential documents submitted with the Confidential Document Form shall not be accessible to the public, except as ordered by a court. However, the Confidential Document Form or a copy of it shall be accessible to the public.

 D.  Parties and their attorneys shall be solely responsible for complying with the provisions of this section and shall certify their compliance to the court. The certification that shall accompany each filing shall be substantially in the following form ‘‘I certify that this filing complies with the provisions of the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania that require filing confidential information and documents differently than non-confidential information and documents.’’

 E.  A court or custodian is not required to review any filed document for compliance with this section. A party’s or attorney’s failure to comply with this section shall not affect access to case records that are otherwise accessible.

 F.  If confidential documents are not submitted with the Confidential Document Form, a court of record may, upon motion or its own initiative, with or without a hearing, order that any such documents be sealed. A court of record may also impose appropriate sanctions for failing to comply with this section.

 G.  If a filed document fails to comply with the requirements of this section, a magisterial district court may, upon request or its own initiative, with or without a hearing order that any such documents be sealed.

 H.  This section shall apply to all documents for any case filed with a court or custodian on or after the effective date of this policy.

Commentary

   This section is not applicable to cases that are sealed or exempted from public access pursuant to applicable authority, such as Juvenile Act cases pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. §  6307, and Pa.Rs.J.C.P. 160 and 1160.

   Unless constrained by applicable authority, court personnel and jurists are advised to refrain from attaching confidential documents to court-generated case records (e.g., orders, notices) when inclusion of such information is not essential to the resolution of litigation, appropriate to further the establishment of precedent or the development of law, or necessary for administrative purposes. For example, if a court’s opinion contains confidential information and, therefore, must be sealed or heavily redacted to avoid release of such information, this could impede the public’s access to court records and ability to understand the court’s decision.

   Examples of ‘‘agreements between the parties’’ as used in Subsection (A)(7) include marital settlement agreements, post-nuptial, pre-nuptial, ante-nuptial, marital settlement, and property settlement. See 23 Pa.C.S. §  3105 for more information about agreements between parties.

   With regard to Subsection D, the certification of compliance is required whether documents are filed in paper form or via an e-filing system. Moreover, the certification is required on every document filed with a court or custodian regardless of whether the filing contains a ‘‘confidential document’’ requiring safeguarding under this policy.

   With regard to Subsection E, if the party or party’s attorney fails to use a cover sheet designated ‘‘Confidential Document Form’’ when filing a document deemed confidential pursuant to this section, the document may be released to the public.

   With regard to Subsection F any party may make a motion to the court of record to cure any defect(s) in any filed document that does not comport with this section.

   With regard to Subsection G, any party may file a request form designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts with a magisterial district court when there is an allegation that a filing was made with that court that does not comply with this policy.

   Section 9.0. Limits on Public Access to Case Records at a Court Facility.

 The following information shall not be accessible by the public at a court facility:

 A.  Case records in proceedings under 20 Pa.C.S. §  711(9), including but not limited to case records with regard to issues concerning recordation of birth and birth records, the alteration, amendment, or modification of such birth records, and the right to obtain a certified copy of the same, except for the docket and any court order or opinion;

 B.  Case records concerning incapacity proceedings filed pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § §  5501—5555, except for the docket and any final decree adjudicating a person as incapacitated;

 C.  Any Confidential Information Form or any Unredacted Version of any document as set forth in Section 7.0;

 D.  Any document filed with a Confidential Document Form as set forth in Section 8.0;

 E.  Information sealed or protected pursuant to court order;

 F.  Information to which access is otherwise restricted by federal law, state law, or state court rule; and

 G.  Information presenting a risk to personal security, personal privacy, or the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice, as determined by the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania with the approval of the Chief Justice. The Court Administrator shall publish notification of such determinations in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and on the Unified Judicial System’s website.

Commentary

   Unless constrained by applicable authority, court personnel and jurists are advised to refrain from inserting confidential information in or attaching confidential documents to court-generated case records (e.g., orders, notices) when inclusion of such information is not essential to the resolution of litigation, appropriate to further the establishment of precedent or the development of law, or necessary for administrative purposes. For example, if a court’s opinion contains confidential information and, therefore, must be sealed or heavily redacted to avoid release of such information, this could impede the public’s access to court records and ability to understand the court’s decision.

   With respect to Subsection F, Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 104(a), Pa.R.A.P. 104(a), provides that the appellate courts may make and amend rules of court governing their practice. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shall from time to time publish a list of applicable authorities that restrict public access to court records or information. This list shall be published on the Unified Judicial System’s website and in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. In addition, all custodians shall post this list in their respective court facilities in areas accessible to the public and on the custodians’ websites.

   With respect to Subsection G, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts shall include any such determinations in the list of applicable authorities referenced above. The same provision appears in the Electronic Case Record Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania. The provision is intended to be a safety valve to address a future, extraordinary, unknown issue of statewide importance that might escape timely redress otherwise. It cannot be used by parties or courts in an individual case.

   Section 10.0. Limits on Remote Access to Case Records.

 A.  The following information shall not be remotely accessible by the public:

   1.  The information set forth in Section 9.0;

   2.  In criminal cases, information that either specifically identifies or from which the identity of jurors, witnesses (other than expert witnesses), or victims could be ascertained, including names, addresses and phone numbers;

   3.  Transcripts lodged of record, excepting portions of transcripts when attached to a document filed with the court;

   4.  In Forma Pauperis petitions;

   5.  Case records in family court actions as defined in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1931(a), except for dockets, court orders and opinions;

   6.  Case records in actions governed by the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, Adult Protective Services Act and the Older Adult Protective Services Act, except for dockets, court orders and opinions; and

   7.  Original and reproduced records filed in the Supreme Court, Superior Court or Commonwealth Court as set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 1921, 1951, 2151, 2152, and 2156.

 B.  With respect to Subsections A(5) and A(6), unless otherwise restricted pursuant to applicable authority, dockets available remotely shall contain only the following information:

   1.  A party’s name;

   2.  The city, state, and ZIP code of a party’s address;

   3.  Counsel of record’s name and address;

   4.  Docket number;

   5.  Docket entries indicating generally what actions have been taken or are scheduled in a case;

   6.  Court orders and opinions;

   7.  Filing date of the case; and

   8.  Case type.

 C.  Case records remotely accessible by the public prior to the effective date of this policy shall be exempt from this section.

Commentary

   Remote access to the electronic case record information residing in the Pennsylvania Appellate Court Case Management System (PACMS), the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS) and the Magisterial District Judges System (MDJS) is provided via web dockets, available on https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/, and is governed by the Electronic Case Record Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

   Depending upon individual court resources, some courts have posted online docket information concerning civil matters. If a court elects to post online docket information concerning family court actions and actions governed by the Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, Adult Protective Services Act and the Older Adult Protective Services Act, the docket may only include the information set forth in Subsection B. This information will provide the public with an overview of the case, its proceedings and other pertinent details, including the court’s decision. Release of such information will enhance the public’s trust and confidence in the courts by increasing awareness of the procedures utilized to adjudicate the claims before the courts as well as the material relied upon in reaching determinations. This provision does not impact what information is maintained on the docket available at the court facility.

   Access to portions of transcripts when attached to a document filed with the court in family court actions is governed by Subsection A(5). While Pa.R.C.P. No. 1931 is suspended in most judicial districts, the reference to the rule is merely for definitional purposes.

   Section 11.0. Correcting Clerical Errors in Case Records.

 A.  A party, or the party’s attorney, seeking to correct a clerical error in a case record may submit a written request for correction.

   1.  A request to correct a clerical error in a case record of the Supreme Court, Superior Court or Commonwealth Court shall be submitted to the prothonotary of the proper appellate court.

   2.  A request to correct a clerical error in a case record of a court of common pleas, the Philadelphia Municipal Court, or a magisterial district court shall be submitted to the applicable custodian.

 B.  The request shall be made on a form designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

 C.  The requestor shall specifically set forth on the request form the information that is alleged to be a clerical error and shall provide sufficient facts, including supporting documentation, that corroborate the requestor’s allegation that the information in question is in error.

 D.  The requestor shall provide copies of the request to all parties to the case.

 E.  Within 10 business days of receipt of a request, the custodian shall respond in writing to the requestor and all parties to the case in one of the following manners:

   1.  The request does not contain sufficient information and facts to determine what information is alleged to be in error, and no further action will be taken on the request.

   2.  The request does not concern a case record that is covered by this policy, and no further action will be taken on the request.

   3.  A clerical error does exist in the case record and the information in question has been corrected.

   4.  A clerical error does not exist in the case record.

   5.  The request has been received and an additional period not exceeding 30 business days is necessary to complete a review of the request.

 F.  A requestor may seek review of the custodian’s response under Subsections E(1)—(4) within 10 business days of the mailing date of the response.

   1.  The request for review shall be submitted on a form that is designed and published by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

   2.  The request shall be reviewed by the judge(s) who presided over the case. However, if the request for review concerns a magisterial district court’s decision, it shall be reviewed by the president judge or his/her designee.

Commentary

   Case records are as susceptible to clerical errors and omissions as any other public record. The power of the court to correct errors in its own records is inherent. E.g., Jackson v. Hendrick, 746 A.2d 574 (Pa. 2000). It is important to emphasize that this section does not provide a party who is dissatisfied with a court’s decision, ruling or judgment a new avenue to appeal the same by merely alleging there is an error in the court’s decision, ruling or judgment. Rather, this section permits a party to ‘‘fix’’ information that appears in a case record which is not, for one reason or another, correct.

   Particularly in the context of Internet publication of court records, a streamlined process is appropriate for addressing clerical errors to allow for prompt resolution of oversights and omissions. For example, to the extent that a docket in a court’s case management system incorrectly reflects a court’s order, or a scanning error occurred with regard to an uploaded document, such clerical inaccuracies may be promptly corrected by the appropriate court staff, upon notification, without a court order. Since 2007, the Electronic Case Record Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania has provided a similar procedure for any errors maintained on the web docket sheets of the PACMS, CPCMS and MDJS. The procedure has successfully addressed clerical errors on docket entries in a timely and administratively simple manner.

   A party or party’s attorney is not required to utilize the procedures set forth in this section before making a formal motion for correction of a case record in the first instance. Alleged inaccuracies in orders and judgments themselves must be brought to the attention of the court in accordance with existing procedures.

   This section is not intended to provide relief for a party’s or attorney’s failure to comply with Sections 7.0 and 8.0 of this policy. Sections 7.0 and 8.0 already provide for remedial action in the event that non-compliance occurs.

   With respect to this section, a custodian includes, but is not limited to, the county prothonotaries, clerks of orphans’ court, clerks of the court, and magisterial district judges.

   A log of all corrections made pursuant to this section may be maintained by the custodian, so that there is a record if an objection is made in the future. Such a log should remain confidential. It is suggested that custodians include a registry entry on the case docket when a request is received and a response is issued.

   Section 12.0. Continuous Availability of Policy.

 A copy of this policy shall be continuously available for public inspection in every court and custodian’s office and posted on the Unified Judicial System’s website.

Source

   The provisions of this §  213.81 amended March 28, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 2113 and 48 Pa.B. 2602. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (386118) to (386127).

LIMITS ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO UNIFIED JUDICIAL SYSTEM CASE RECORD OF THE APPELLATE AND TRIAL COURTS



Subject Area Record Description Accessibility Authority
Civil Jurors Notes. No Public Access. Collected and destroyed post-trial. Pa.R.C.P. No. 223.2.
Commonwealth Court Child Line Registry Cases. No Public Access to documents in the case except Orders and Opinions wherein the court shall use initials of the minor child involved rather than full name. Admin. Order No. 126 Misc. Docket No. 3 (February 8, 2013).
Criminal Juror’s Address. No Public Access. Commonwealth v. Long, 922 A.2d 892 (Pa. 2007).
Criminal Sealed affidavit of probable cause for a search warrant. No Public Access while sealed. The affidavit may not be sealed for more than 60 days unless an extension is received. Extensions may not be longer than 30 days, but an unlimited number of extensions are available. Public may access the affidavit after it has been unsealed. Pa.R.Crim.P. 211.
Criminal Unexecuted Search Warrant. No Public Access until warrant is executed. Pa.R.Crim.P. 212(A).
Criminal Arrest Warrant Information. A court may delay public access for good cause for up to 72 hours. In addition, a court may seal arrest warrant information for a longer period of time. Pa.R.Crim.P. 513(C),
Pa.R.Crim.P. 513.1.
Criminal Motion filed by attorney for the Commonwealth to present the matter to an indicting grand jury and subsequent order. No Public Access—the motion and order are sealed. Pa.R.Crim.P. 556.2.
Criminal All indicting grand jury proceedings and related documents. No Public Access. Disclosure may be granted to attorney for the Commonwealth, defendant in a criminal case, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, and upon motion when necessary. Pa.R.Crim.P. 556.10.
Criminal Sealed indictments. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 556.11(E).
Criminal Sealed records concerning mental health experts. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 569.
Criminal Sealed written statements pertaining to protective orders. No Public Access. The entire text of the statement shall be sealed and preserved in the records of the court to be made available to the appellate court(s) in the event of an appeal. Pa.R.Crim.P. 573(F).
Criminal Sealed plea agreement. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 590.
Criminal Juror qualification forms. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 625(A)(3).
Criminal Juror information questionnaires. No Public Access. Questionnaires are retained in a sealed file and shall be destroyed upon completion of the jurors’ service, unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge. Pa.R.Crim.P. 632.
Criminal Sealed verdict. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 649.
Criminal Notes taken by jurors. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 644(B)(7).
Criminal Pre-sentence reports and related psychiatric psychological reports. No Public Access. Pa.R.Crim.P. 703(A).
Criminal Records revealing the names of human trafficking victims. No Public Access, unless otherwise ordered by a court in a prosecution involving a victim of human trafficking. 18 Pa.C.S. §  3019(a).
Criminal Wiretap applications, final reports and orders. No Public Access except upon showing of good cause before a court of competent jurisdiction. 18 Pa.C.S. §  5715.
Criminal Names of minor victims of sexual or physical abuse. No Public Access. Records revealing a victim’s name are sealed. A minor victim who is 18 years of age or older at the time of the commencement of the prosecution may waive this protection and allow the court to release the name of the minor victim. 42 Pa.C.S. §  5988.
Domestic Relations Information regarding the registration, filing of a petition for, or issuance of a protection from abuse in either the issuing or enforcing State. No Public Access via internet publication, if such publication would be likely to publically reveal the identity or location of the protected party. 18 U.S.C. §  2265(d)(3).
Domestic Relations Social security number of any individual subject to a divorce decree, support order, paternity determination, or acknowledgement of paternity, which is required in all records of those matters. No Public Access. 23 Pa.C.S. §  4304.1(a)(3).
Domestic Relations Child Support Records No Public Access, except for PACSES dockets, court orders and opinions. 42 U.S.C. § §  654(26)(A), 654a(d)(1)(A); 45 CFR § §  303.21(c)—(d), 307.13(a)(1); 23 Pa.C.S. §  4304.1(d); Sections 2.4 and 3.4 of the Cooperative Agreement.
Domestic Relations (a) Subject to any inconsistent general rules and to the supervision and direction of the court, the domestic relations section shall have the power and duty to: . . .

(10) Implement safeguards applicable to all confidential information received by the domestic relations section in order to protect the privacy rights of the parties, including: . . .

No Public Access. 23 Pa.C.S. §  4305(a)(10)(ii)—(iii).
Domestic Relations(ii) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another party against whom a protective order with respect to the former party or the child has been entered; and
(iii) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another person if the domestic relations section has reason to believe that the release of the information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another person if the domestic relations section has reason to believe that the release of the information may result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child.
Domestic Relations List of weapons ordered to be relinquished by the defendant in an action for protection from abuse. No Public Access, except (A) upon an order of the court granted upon cause shown; (B) as necessary, by law enforcement and court personnel; or (C) after redaction of information listing any firearm, other weapon or ammunition. 23 Pa.C.S. §  6108(a)(7)(v).
Domestic Relations All records pertaining to a confidential address for individuals participating in the Office of Victim Advocate’s Address Confidentiality Program. No Public Access, except for the substitute address provided by the Office of Victim Advocates. 23 Pa.C.S. §  6703(d); see also 23 Pa.C.S. §  5336(b)(1).
Juvenile Court Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency records. No Public Access; except as set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. §  6307, Pa.Rs.J.C.P. 160 and/or 1160, including with leave of court. 42 Pa.C.S. §  6307; Pa.Rs.J.C.P. 160, 1160.
Orphans’ Court Proceedings related to appointment of guardianship for incapacitated persons. Shall be closed to the public upon request of the alleged incapacitated person or his counsel. After the individual’s death his/her estate may access the record of the guardianship proceedings. 20 Pa.C.S. §  5511(a); In re Estate of duPont, 2 A.3d 516 (Pa. 2010).
Orphans’ Court Records required for foreign adoption decrees. No Public Access unless a court order is granted upon good cause. 23 Pa.C.S. §  2908(F); Pa.O.C.R. 15.7.
Orphans’ Court Adoption records. No Public Access unless otherwise ordered. 23 Pa.C.S. §  2915; see also 23 Pa.C.S. §  2906; Pa.O.C.R. 15.7.
Orphans’ Court (Family Court in Philadelphia County or Juvenile Court Section of Family Division in Allegheny County Pa.R.J.A. 2157) Applications of a minor for judicial approval of decision to have an abortion, under the Abortion Control Act, as well as proceedings and the name of the minor. No Public Access; sealed dockets, and documents shall be maintained in a closed file marked ‘‘confidential’’ and identified by case number only. 18 Pa.C.S. §  3206(f); Pa.O.C.R. 16.2 and 16.6. Note also Pa.R.J.A. No. 2157 and Pa.R.A.P. 3801.
General For certain offenses graded as a misdemeanor of the second or third degree, any information relating to the conviction, arrest, indictment or other information leading to the conviction, arrest, indictment or other information. No public access. The court shall not release the information to an individual, noncriminal justice agency or an internet website. * Act 5 of 2016 effective November 14, 2016 which in part creates 18 Pa.C.S. §  9122.1 and amends 18 Pa.C.S. §  9121.
General Records concerning persons in treatment under the Mental Health Procedures Act. Limited Public Access in compliance with the Mental Health Procedures Act and controlling case law. 50 P.S. §  7111.
General Court documents, rules, or orders in Gaming Law proceedings. Any party may request proceeding and record to be sealed if in best interest of any person or Commonwealth. 4 Pa.C.S. §  1518.2(b).
General Proceedings and records involving juveniles charged with a summary offense before the minor judiciary, the Philadelphia Municipal Court or a Court of Common Pleas. No Public Access. 42 Pa.C.S. § §  6303(c), 6307(c), and 6336(g).
* Note this may not be a complete listing; the public and court staff are directed to consult federal and state statutes, court rules or case law.




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