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Title 234--RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

[234 PA. CODE CH. 7]

Order Amending Rule 705; No. 320 Criminal Procedural Rules; Doc. No. 2

[35 Pa.B. 3217]

   The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee has prepared a Final Report explaining the May 18, 2005 amendments to Rule of Criminal Procedure 705. These amendments 1) require the sentencing judge to state the date a sentence to imprisonment is to commence, and 2) clarify that, if the sentence is to run concurrently with any other sentence, the sentence commences on the date of imposition unless otherwise ordered by the judge. These changes fill in the gaps in procedures created in 1996 when then-paragraphs (b) and (c) of the rule (then-Rule 1406) were deleted. The Final Report follows the Court's Order.

Order

Per Curiam:

   Now, this 18th day of May, 2005, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the proposal having been published before adoption at 33 Pa.B. 6412 (December 27, 2003), and in the Atlantic Reporter (Second Series Advance Sheets, Vol. 835), and a Final Report to be published with this Order:

   It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rule of Criminal Procedure 705 is amended in the following form.

   This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(b), and shall be effective August 1, 2005.

Annex A

TITLE 234. RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

CHAPTER 7. POST-TRIAL PROCEDURES IN COURT CASES

PART A. Sentencing Procedures

Rule 705. Imposition of Sentence.

   (A)  When imposing a sentence to imprisonment, the judge shall state the date the sentence is to commence.

   (B)  [Whenever] When more than one sentence is imposed at the same time on a defendant, or [whenever] when a sentence is imposed on a defendant who is sentenced for another offense, the judge shall state whether the sentences shall run concurrently or consecutively. If the sentence is to run concurrently, the sentence shall commence from the date of imposition unless otherwise ordered by the judge.

Comment

   [In] This rule was amended in 1996[, paragraph (a) was amended and paragraph (c) was deleted] to eliminate language that created a presumption that certain sentences run concurrently unless the judge states otherwise, and by deleting former paragraph (b) as unnecessary. The rule now requires the judge to state whether sentences run concurrently or consecutively. [Paragraph (b) was deleted as unnecessary.]

   The 2005 amendments adding new paragraph (A) and adding language to paragraph (B) clarify the procedures for determining the date of commencement of sentences of imprisonment.

   The computation of sentences and credit for time served also are [governed by] addressed in the Sentencing Code. See 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9760 and 9761.

   Official Note: Rule 1406 adopted July 23, 1973, effective 90 days hence; amended March 21, 1975, effective March 31, 1975; amended November 7, 1996, effective January 1, 1997; renumbered Rule 705 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended May 18, 2005, effective August 1, 2005.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

*      *      *      *      *

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court's Order at 30 Pa.B. [1477] 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the amendments concerning date of commencement of sentence published with the Court's Order at 35 Pa.B. 3218 (June 4, 2005).

FINAL REPORT1

Amendments to Pa.R.Crim.P. 705

Date of Commencement of Sentence

   On May 18, 2005, effective August 1, 2005, upon the recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee, the Court amended Rule of Criminal Procedure 705. These rule changes 1) require the sentencing judge to state the date a sentence to imprisonment is to commence, and 2) clarify that, if the sentence is to run concurrently with any other sentence, the sentence commences on the date of imposition unless otherwise ordered by the judge. These changes fill in the gaps in procedures created in 1996 when then-paragraphs (b) and (c) of the rule (then-Rule 14062 ) were deleted.

Background

   Since the 1996 amendments to Rule 705, the Committee has received some correspondence concerning the procedural gaps created by those amendments. The correspondence pointed out that, notwithstanding the Committee's explanatory Final Report language to the contrary,3 ''there is no statute or Rule providing that sentences ordered to run concurrently with sentences imposed on a prior date must run from the date of imposition,'' and this gap is causing confusion for members of the bench and bar, and the defendants who are sentenced. The Committee was asked to consider adding to the rule language similar to the language deleted in 1996, which had provided ''a sentence to imprisonment shall be deemed to commence and shall be computed from the date of commitment for the offense or offenses for which such sentence is imposed, which date shall be specified by the judge.''4

   The Committee reviewed the relevant sections of the Sentencing Code, 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9760 and 9761, and Chapter 7 of the Criminal Rules, confirming the correspondents' premise that, with the 1996 amendments to Rule 705, there no longer are provisions specifically providing for the date of commencement of sentence or that a sentence ordered to run concurrently with a sentence or sentences imposed on a prior date must run from the date of imposition. We also perused the case law, finding little guidance other than references to the provisions of former Rule 1406 and the predecessor to the Sentencing Code provisions, 19 P. S. 894,5 that had filled the void now under consideration. In view of the correspondence and our research, and after lengthy discussions about the evolution of Rule 705 and the recurring issues, the Committee concluded an amendment to Rule 705 requiring the judge to state the date the sentence is to commence and providing guidance concerning the commencement of concurrent sentences would be helpful to the bench, bar, and defendants.

Discussion of Changes to Rule 705

   During our discussions of how to address the issues raised in the correspondence, the Committee first considered changing Rule 705 by adding language that if a sentence imposed is concurrent with another of the defendant's sentences, the sentence shall commence from the date of imposition. We noted, however, that the language concerning commencement of sentences that had been in the rule prior to the 1996 changes addressed all sentences, not only concurrent sentences. The broader application in the former Rule 1406(b) provision made sense to the members. Accordingly, new paragraph (A) requires the judge to state the date a sentence to imprisonment commences. Because new paragraph (A) addresses the date of imposition of sentence, the current Rule 705 provisions requiring the judge to state whether the sentences run concurrently or consecutively have been moved to new paragraph (B). Paragraph (B) also clarifies that the date of commencement of sentence when the sentence is to be concurrent ordinarily is the date of imposition, unless the judge orders a different date for commencement of the sentence.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-1076. Filed for public inspection June 3, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]

_______

1  The Committee's Final Reports should not be confused with the official Committee Comments to the rules. Also note that the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Comments or the contents of the Committee's explanatory Final Reports.

2  Rule 1406 was renumbered Rule 705 as part of the Court's March 1, 2000 Order reorganizing and renumbering the Criminal Rules.

3  See Committee's Final Report, 26 Pa.B. 5694 (November 23, 1996), explaining the 1996 changes to Rule 705.

4  The correspondence also requested the rule provide that the judge should address the defendant receiving credit for time served. As a practical matter, however, the information concerning the defendant's time served is not always available to the judge at the time of sentencing.

5  19 P. S. § 894 was repealed as part of the Judiciary Act Repealer Act and replaced by 18 Pa.C.S. § 1360, which subsequently was transferred to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9760.



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