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Pa. Supreme Court declares statewide judicial emergency

Pa. Supreme Court declares statewide judicial emergency

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday declared a statewide judicial emergency effective until April 14.

The emergency declaration authorizes county president judges to declare individual county judicial emergencies through April 14 if they deem it necessary, according to a news release issued Monday.

Counties operating under local judicial emergencies have the authority to suspend time calculations or time deadlines, subject to constitutional restrictions, for computation relevant to court cases or other judicial business.

It also allows courts to use advanced technology to conduct court proceedings.

The declaration also gives county president judges permission to take action to operate the court safely. Those actions could include closing or relocating the court, restricting access to the courts and canceling or modifying trials, court calendars or jury duty.

The emergency declaration specifically authorizes president judges to suspend the operation of Rule of Criminal Procedure 600, which sets the time frame in which a defendant must be brought to trial after a complaint is filed, within a judicial district, for the length of the judicial emergency.

The Supreme Court Order, however, does not affect a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial under the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, according to the release.

Judicial Districts operating under the emergency declaration will arrange for the provision of essential judicial services, including arraignments and bail establishment hearings and protection from abuse act proceedings.

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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