PART A. BUSINESS OF COURTS


Rule 120. Definitions.

   ADULT is any person, other than a juvenile, eighteen years old or older.

   ADVANCED COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY is any communication equipment that is used as a link between parties in physically separate locations and includes, but is not limited to, systems providing for two-way simultaneous audio-visual communication, closed circuit television, telephone and facsimile equipment, and electronic mail.

   AFFIANT is any responsible person, capable of taking an oath, who signs, swears to, affirms, or when permitted by these rules, verifies a written allegation and appreciates the nature and quality of that person’s act.

   CLERK OF COURTS is that official in each judicial district who has the responsibility and function under state law or local practice to maintain the official court record and docket, without regard to that person’s official title. A party to the proceedings shall not function as the clerk of courts.

   COPY is an exact duplicate of an original document, including any required signatures, produced through mechanical or electronic means and includes, but is not limited to, copies reproduced by a photocopier, transmission using facsimile equipment, or by scanning into and printing out of a computer.

   COUNTY AGENCY is the county children and youth social service agency established pursuant to the County Institution District Law, 62 P. S. §  2305 (1937), or established by the county commissioners in the judicial districts where the County Institution District Law was abolished, 16 P. S. § §  2161 and 2168, and supervised by the Department of Public Welfare pursuant to the Public Welfare Code, 62 P. S. §  901 et seq.

   COURT is the Court of Common Pleas, a court of record, which is assigned to hear juvenile delinquency matters. Court shall include juvenile court hearing officers when they are permitted to hear cases under these rules and magisterial district judges when issuing an arrest warrant pursuant to Rule 210. Juvenile Court shall have the same meaning as Court.

   DESTROY or DESTRUCTION is to erase permanently or the process of permanent erasure of an item leaving no trace or indication that it ever existed.

   DETENTION FACILITY is any facility, privately or publicly owned and operated, designated by the court and approved by the Department of Public Welfare to detain a juvenile temporarily. The term detention facility, when used in these rules, shall include shelter-care. Detention facility shall not include any county jail or state prison.

   DISPOSITION is a final determination made by the court after an adjudication of delinquency or any determination that ceases juvenile court action on a case.

   EDUCATIONAL DECISION MAKER is a responsible adult appointed by the court to make decisions regarding a juvenile’s education when the juvenile has no guardian or the court has limited the guardian’s right to make such decisions for the juvenile. The educational decision maker acts as the juvenile’s representative concerning all matters regarding education unless the court specifically limits the authority of the educational decision maker.

   EXPUNGE or EXPUNGEMENT is to erase legally or the process of legal erasure of the juvenile record or the sealing of the record making it permanently unavailable to the public but where some information may be retained only by a juvenile justice agency for limited purposes as provided in Rule 173.

   GUARDIAN is any parent, custodian, or other person who has legal custody of a juvenile, or person designated by the court to be a temporary guardian for purposes of a proceeding.

   HEALTH CARE is care related to any medical need including physical, mental, and dental health. This term is used in the broadest sense to include any type of health need.

   INSPECTION is the official examination of a document or evidence as authorized by Rules 160 and 161.

   INTAKE STAFF is any responsible person taking custody of the juvenile on behalf of the court, detention facility, or medical facility.

   INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION is information concerning the habits, practices, characteristics, possessions, associations, or financial status of any juvenile compiled in an effort to anticipate, prevent, monitor, investigage, or prosecute delinquent activity.

   INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION is the information assembled as result of the performance of any inquiry, formal or informal, into delinquent activity or an allegation of a delinquent act and may include modus operandi information.

   ISSUING AUTHORITY is any public official having the power and authority of a magistrate, an arraignment court magistrate, or a Magisterial District Judge.

   JUDGE is a judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

   JUVENILE is a person who has attained ten years of age and is not yet twenty-one years of age who is alleged to have, upon or after the juvenile’s tenth birthday, committed a delinquent act before reaching eighteen years of age or who is alleged to have violated the terms of juvenile probation prior to termination of juvenile court supervision.

   JUVENILE COURT HEARING OFFICER is an attorney with delegated authority to preside over and make recommendations for delinquency matters. Juvenile court hearing officer has the same meaning as master as used pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. §  6301 et seq.

   JUVENILE JUSTICE AGENCY is any court, including the minor judiciary, or any other governmental agency specifically authorized to perform the administration of juvenile justice as its function. Juvenile justice agencies include, but are not limited to, organized State and municipal police departments, probation agencies, district or prosecuting attorneys, the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, or any such persons, agencies, or departments as determined by the court to be juvenile justice agencies.

   JUVENILE PROBATION FILES are those records formally maintained by the juvenile probation office and its officers, including, but not limited to, copies of information contained in the official juvenile court record; social studies; school records and reports; health evaluations, screenings, assessments, records, and reports, including psychological and psychiatric evaluations and reports, drug and alcohol testing, evaluations, and reports; placement reports and documents; employment records; and probation reports.

   JUVENILE PROBATION OFFICER is a person who has been appointed by the court or employed by a county’s juvenile probation office, and who has been properly commissioned by being sworn in as an officer of the court to exercise the powers and duties set forth in Rule 195, the Juvenile Act, and the Child Protective Services Law.

   JUVENILE RECORD is the information collected and retained by juvenile justice agencies concerning juveniles, and arising from the initiation of delinquency proceedings, consisting of identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrest, written allegations, petitions, other formal charging documents, official court records, and any dispositions arising from those records. The juvenile record does not include intelligence information or investigative information that is maintained separately by law enforcement agencies.

   LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER is any person who is by law given the power to enforce the law when acting within the scope of that person’s employment.

   MEDICAL FACILITY is any hospital, urgent care facility, psychiatric or psychological ward, drug and alcohol detoxification or rehabilitation program, or any other similar facility designed to treat a juvenile medically or psychologically.

   MINOR is any person, other than a juvenile, under the age of eighteen.

   OFFICIAL COURT RECORD is the juvenile court file maintained by the clerk of courts which contains all court orders, court notices, docket entries, filed documents, evidence admitted into the record, and other court designated documents in each juvenile case.

   ORDINANCE is a legislative enactment of a political subdivision.

   PARTIES are the juvenile and the Commonwealth.

   PENAL LAWS include all statutes and embodiments of the common law, which establish, create, or define crimes or offenses, including any ordinances that may provide for placement in a juvenile facility upon a finding of delinquency or upon failure to pay a fine or penalty.

   PETITION is a formal document by which an attorney for the Commonwealth or the juvenile probation officer alleges a juvenile to be delinquent.

   PETITIONER is an attorney for the Commonwealth or a juvenile probation officer, who signs, swears to, affirms, or verifies and files a petition.

   PLACEMENT FACILITY is any facility, privately or publicly owned and operated, that identifies itself either by charter, articles of incorporation, or program description, to receive delinquent juveniles or which otherwise provides treatment to juveniles as a case disposition. Placement facilities include, but are not limited to, residential facilities, group homes, after-school programs, and day programs, whether secure or non-secure. Placement facility shall not include any county jail or state prison.

   POLICE OFFICER is any person, who is by law given the power to arrest when acting within the scope of the person’s employment.

   POLITICAL SUBDIVISION shall mean county, city, township, borough, or incorporated town or village having legislative authority.

   PROCEEDING is any stage in the juvenile delinquency process occurring once a written allegation has been submitted.

   RECORDING is the means to provide a verbatim account of a proceeding through the use of a court stenographer, audio recording, audio-visual recording, or other appropriate means.

   SERVICE PROVIDER is any entity that provides services to juveniles pursuant to a proceeding under the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S. §  6301 et seq.

   SOCIAL STUDY is a pre-dispositional report, which summarizes important information concerning the juvenile to aid the court in determining the disposition.

   VERIFICATION is a written statement made by a person that the information provided is true and correct to that person’s personal knowledge, information, or belief and that any false statements are subject to the penalties of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S. §  4904, relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.

   WRITTEN ALLEGATION is the document that is completed by a law enforcement officer or other person that is necessary to allege a juvenile has committed an act of delinquency.

Comment

   A party to the proceedings is not to function as the clerk of courts. Because the clerk of courts maintains the official court record, this person is to remain neutral and unbiased by having no personal connection to the proceedings.

   ‘‘Clerk of courts’’ is the person given the power under state law or local practice to maintain the official court record. See Rule 166 for additional responsibilities of the clerk of courts.

   The county institution districts, as used in the definition of ‘‘county agency,’’ in counties of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth classes were abolished pursuant to 16 P. S. §  2161. It is the county commissioners’ duties in the counties of those classes to provide the children and youth social service agency with the necessary services for the agency to provide care for the child. See 16 P. S. §  2168.

   Under the term ‘‘court,’’ to determine if juvenile court hearing officers are permitted to hear cases, see Rule 187. See Rule 210 for the power of magisterial district judges to issue arrest warrants.

   ‘‘Destroy’’ and ‘‘expunge’’ do not have the same meaning. ‘‘Destroy’’ is to erase permanently, whereas ‘‘expunge’’ is to erase legally or seal the record. Unless authorized by rule or otherwise provided by law, no person is to have access to expunged items. Only in extraordinary circumstances would a record be opened by a court order, such as to retrieve specific information not clarified or documented correctly pursuant to Rule 173. However, specific information from juvenile records could be retained for limited purposes. See Rule 173 and its Comment.

   ‘‘Detention facility’’ is not to include any county jail, state prison, penal institution, or other facility used primarily to detain adults who have not been released on bail and who are alleged to have committed a criminal offense. However, nothing in this rule precludes the use of a county jail or state prison for minors when criminal proceedings have been commenced. For example, a minor may be detained in a county jail for a direct-file case when it is alleged a criminal offense has been committed.

   The term ‘‘disposition’’ includes all final determinations made by the court. A disposition includes a response to an adjudication of delinquency, such as sending the juvenile to a placement facility or placing the juvenile on probation. It also includes other types of final determinations made by the court. Other final determinations include a finding that the juvenile did not commit a delinquent act pursuant to Rule 408(B), a finding that the juvenile is not in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or supervision pursuant to Rule 409(A)(1), dismissing the case ‘‘with prejudice’’ prior to an adjudicatory hearing, or any other final action by the court that closes or terminates the case.

   An ‘‘educational decision maker’’ is to be appointed by court order. The scope of the appointment is limited to decisions regarding the juvenile’s education. The educational decision maker acts as the juvenile’s spokesperson on all matters regarding education unless the court specifically limits the authority of the educational decision maker. The educational decision maker holds educational and privacy rights as the juvenile’s guardian for purposes of 20 U.S.C. §  1232g and 34 C.F.R. §  99.3. See also Rule 147(C) for the duties and responsibilities of an educational decision maker.

   ‘‘Health care’’ includes, but is not limited to, routine physical check-ups and examinations; emergency health care; surgeries; exploratory testing; psychological exams, counseling, therapy and treatment programs; drug and alcohol treatment; support groups; routine eye examinations and procedures; teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, preventative dental treatments, root canals, and other dental surgeries; and any other examination or treatment relating to any physical, mental, and dental needs of the juvenile.

   The term ‘‘intelligence information’’ may include information on prescribing, dispensing, selling, obtaining, or using a controlled substance as defined in Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P. S. §  780-101 et seq.

   The term ‘‘judge’’ refers to a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, including senior judges when they are properly certified. It does not include juvenile court hearing officers or magisterial district judges. Magisterial district judges, however, are included within the definition of ‘‘court’’ when they have the power to issue arrest warrants pursuant to Rule 210. See discussion supra under definition of ‘‘court.’’ Arrest warrants are distinguished from bench warrants pursuant to Rules 140 and 141. Only judges of the Court of Common Pleas may issue bench warrants if the juvenile: 1) fails to appear at a hearing; or 2) absconds from the court’s supervision.

   A ‘‘juvenile’’ must be at least ten years old and must not have reached the age of eighteen at the time of the commission of a delinquent act for a delinquency petition to be filed. If a child is under the age of ten at the time of the commission of a delinquent act, a dependency petition may be filed pursuant to Pa.R.J.C.P. 1100 et seq., and the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S. §  6301 et seq. ‘‘Juvenile’’ not only includes any person who is at least ten years of age and under twenty-one years of age if the commission of the alleged delinquent act occurred prior to the juvenile’s eighteenth birthday, but also includes any person who is under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction until termination of court supervision pursuant to Rules 631 and 632, which is to end no later than the juvenile’s twenty-first birthday.

   A ‘‘juvenile probation officer’’ is an officer of the court. ‘‘Properly commissioned’’ as used in the definition of a juvenile probation officer includes the swearing in under oath or affirmation and receipt of a document, certificate, or order of the court memorializing the authority conferred upon the juvenile probation officer by the court.

   A properly commissioned juvenile probation officer is vested with all the powers and duties set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. §  6304, and the power to take a child into protective custody as a duly authorized officer of the court pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. §  6324 unless the President Judge has limited such authority pursuant to Rule 195. See also 23 Pa.C.S. §  6315.

   ‘‘Juvenile records,’’ as used in these Rules, do not include investigative and intelligence information kept separately by law enforcement agencies or the attorney for the Commonwealth. Those documents kept separately by law enforcement agencies are not subject to Rules 170 and 172. See 18 Pa.C.S. § §  9105 & 9106. See also Rule 173 for retention of specific information from juvenile records.

   Neither the definition of ‘‘law enforcement officer’’ nor the definition of ‘‘police officer’’ gives the power of arrest to any person who is not otherwise given that power by law.

   The ‘‘official court record’’ is to contain all court orders, court notices, docket entries, filed documents, evidence admitted into the record, and other court designated documents in each juvenile case. The court may also designate any document to be a part of the record. It does not include items contained in juvenile probation files unless they are made a part of the official court record by being filed with the clerk of courts.

   A ‘‘petition’’ and a ‘‘written allegation’’ are two separate documents and serve two distinct functions. A ‘‘written allegation’’ is the document that initiates juvenile delinquency proceedings. Usually, the ‘‘written allegation’’ will be submitted by a law enforcement officer and will allege that the juvenile has committed a delinquent act that comes within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. This document may have been formerly known as a ‘‘probable cause affidavit,’’ ‘‘complaint,’’ ‘‘police paper,’’ ‘‘charge form,’’ ‘‘allegation of delinquency,’’ or the like. Once this document is submitted, a preliminary determination of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction is to be made. Informal adjustment and other diversionary programs may be pursued. If the attorney for the Commonwealth or the juvenile probation officer determines that formal juvenile court action is necessary, a petition is then filed.

   ‘‘Placement facility’’ is not to include any county jail, state prison, penal institution, or other facility used primarily for the execution of sentences of adults convicted of a crime. See 42 Pa.C.S. §  6352(b) for disposition of a delinquent juvenile.

   A ‘‘pre-dispositional report’’ or ‘‘social study’’ includes, but is not limited to, the compilation of the juvenile’s family history and demographics; school record and educational issues; job history; talents and extra-curricular activities; prior delinquency or dependency involvement with the court; health care issues; psychological or psychiatric history, examinations, and reports; drug and alcohol examinations, treatments, and reports; needs regarding disability; and any other relevant information concerning the juvenile to help the court understand any issues relating to the juvenile.

   The definition of ‘‘proceeding’’ includes all formal stages when a written allegation has been submitted, including all subsequent proceedings until supervision is terminated pursuant to Rules 631 or 632. A hearing on a motion alleging probation violations is one of these subsequent stages. See Rule 612 for revocation of probation.

   For definition of ‘‘delinquent act,’’ see 42 Pa.C.S. §  6302.

   Official Note

   Rule 120 adopted April 1, 2005, effective October 1, 2005. Amended December 30, 2005, effective immediately. Amended March 23, 2007, effective August 1, 2007. Amended February 26, 2008, effective June 1, 2008. Amended July 28, 2009, effective immediately. Amended December 24, 2009, effective immediately. Amended April 21, 2011, effective July 1, 2011. Amended April 29, 2011, effective July 1, 2011. Amended May 20, 2011, effective July 1, 2011. Amended September 7, 2011, effective immediately. Amended September 20, 2011, effective November 1, 2011. Amended May 21, 2012, effective August 1, 2012. Amended June 24, 2013, effective January 1, 2014. Amended June 28, 2013, effective immediately. Amended March 10, 2014, effective immediately. Amended July 28, 2014, effective September 29, 2014. Amended April 6, 2017, effective September 1, 2017.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 36 Pa.B. 186 (January 14, 2006).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 37 Pa.B. 1483 (April 7, 2007).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 38 Pa.B. 1142 (March 8, 2008).

   Final Report explaining the amendment to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 39 Pa.B. 4743 (August 8, 2009).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 40 Pa.B. 222 (January 9, 2010).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 2319 (May 7, 2011).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 2413 (May 14, 2011).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 2839 (June 4, 2011).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 5062 (September 24, 2011).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 with the Court’s Order at 41 Pa.B. 5355 (October 8, 2011).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 3203 (June 9, 2012).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 43 Pa.B. 3938 (July 13, 2013).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 43 Pa.B. 3941 (July 13, 2013).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 44 Pa.B. 1868 (March 29, 2014).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 44 Pa.B. 5447 (August 16, 2014).

   Final Report explaining the amendments to Rule 120 published with the Court’s Order at 47 Pa.B. 2313 (April 22, 2017).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 120 amended December 30, 2005, effective immediately, 36 Pa.B. 186; amended March 23, 2007, effective August 1, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 1483; amended February 28, 2008, effective June 1, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 1142; amended July 28, 2009, effective immediately, 39 Pa.B. 4743; amended December 24, 2009, effective immediately, 40 Pa.B. 222; amended April 21, 2011, effective July 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 2319; amended April 29, 2011, effective July 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 2413; amended May 20, 2011, effective July 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 2839; amended September 7, 2011, effective immediately, 41 Pa.B. 5062; amended September 20, 2011, effective November 1, 2011, 41 Pa.B. 5355; amended May 21, 2012, effective August 1, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 3203; amended June 24, 2013, effective January 1, 2014, 43 Pa.B. 3941; amended June 28, 2013, effective immediately, 43 Pa.B. 3938; amended March 10, 2014, effective immediately, 44 Pa.B. 1868; amended July 28, 2014, effective September 29, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 5447; amended April 6, 2017, effective September 1, 2017, 47 Pa.B. 2313. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (373443) to (373449).



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