2012
12.20

Rule 703. Reports of judges.

(A) Policy Statement.

It is the policy of the unified judicial system that any matter at any stage of a proceeding be brought to a fair conclusion as promptly as possible, consistent with the character of the matter and the resources of the system. The requirements of this rule further specify and implement this policy in keeping with the Court’s constitutionally mandated responsibility to oversee the prompt and proper disposition of the business of the Pennsylvania courts.

(B) General Rule.

(1) Every judge shall keep a record of each matter that has been submitted to the judge for decision and which remains undecided.

(2) Every judge shall compile a semi-annual report stating whether the judge has any matter that has been submitted to the judge for decision and remains undecided for ninety days or more as of the last day of the reporting period. Each report shall include matters listed on prior reports which remain undecided.

(a) Decision includes the grant or denial of a pretrial, post-trial, or post-sentence motion or petition, non-jury verdict or decision, entry of an order or judgment, imposition of a sentence, or the filing of an opinion. A matter is submitted for decision even though briefs, transcripts, or reports have been ordered but have not yet been filed.
(b) Judge means a judge of a court of common pleas or a judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, active or senior, commissioned six months or longer.

(3) If there are no matters submitted to the judge which remain undecided for ninety days or more, the report shall so state.
Official Note: Under this rule, judges must take inventory of matters in chambers, evaluate their status, and determine the steps needed for timely disposition. Judges must also take an active role in ensuring the timely preparation of documents, such as notes of testimony or psychiatric reports.

(C) Form and Content of Report.

(1) The report shall be prepared on a form supplied by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts or generated by the computer system of the judge’s court in the same format as the form supplied by the Administrative Office.

(2) The report shall be signed by the judge.

(3) For each matter which remains undecided ninety days or more, the report shall state:

(a) the type, caption, and number of the case;
(b) the nature of the matter;
(c) the date of submission to the judge;
(d) the specific reason(s) for the delay; and
(e) the specific steps taken to remedy the delay.

Official Note: Specific reasons for a delay might be the filing of additional briefs, a change in the representation of the parties, ongoing settlement negotiations at the request of the parties.

(D) Filing.

(1) The report covering the preceding period of July 1 through December 31 shall be filed on or before January 20, and the report covering the preceding period of January 1 through June 30 shall be filed on or before July 20.

(2) Whenever January 20 or July 20 falls on Saturday or Sunday, or on any day made a legal holiday by the laws of this Commonwealth or of the United States, the date for filing shall be the next business day.

(3) The judge shall file the original report with the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, and shall file copies of the report with the president judge and the district court administrator of the court on which the judge serves.

Official Note: The requirement that judges file copies of their reports with the president judge and district court administrator will better enable those officials to monitor their dockets in order to address problem areas promptly. If decisional delay persists, the president judge should take strong corrective action. Such action may include providing the judge with additional support or educational resources as may be reasonably available; restructuring judicial case assignments, non-decisional assignments, or work schedules; or any other supervisory action designed to assist the reporting judge in becoming current.

(4) Senior judges or active judges serving in more than one judicial district shall file one consolidated report with the Administrative Office, and shall file copies of the consolidated report with the president judge and the district court administrator for each judicial district in which the judge has matters that have been submitted for decision.

(E) Supplemental Statement by President Judge.

(1) A president judge, at the request of the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, shall supplement a judge’s report with a separate statement of any circumstances affecting the matters reported.

(2) Within thirty days of the president judge’s receipt of the request from the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, any supplemental statement shall be filed with the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, the judge who filed the report, and the district court administrator.

(F) Public Inspection.

Copies of all reports and supplemental statements filed pursuant to paragraphs (B) and (E) shall be made available by the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania and the district court administrator for public inspection and copying.

(G) Report to Judicial Conduct Board.

(1) The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania shall immediately notify the Judicial Conduct Board if a judge fails to file a timely report as required by this rule.

(2) The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania shall, where appropriate, forward to the Judicial Conduct Board any report which includes one or more matters which have remained undecided for one year or more.

No Comment.

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