Commission Submits Comments to Court on Proposed Criminal Procedural Rules re Reduction, Waiver of Court Fines and Costs

On April 22, 2024, the Commission submitted comments on proposed statewide rules published by the PA Supreme Court’s Criminal Procedural Rules Committee. The rules were proposed in response to the passage of Act 163 (2022). Among other things, the Act gives courts in both summary (e.g., minor) and criminal cases the explicit authority to reduce or waive nearly all legal financial obligations (“LFOs”) when the court finds that the defendant is unable to pay them.

In its comments, the Commission supported many of the proposed provisions, including those that mirrored the model rules the Commission and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (“PMC”) presented to the Rules Committee in 2023 following the passage of Act 163. The Commission also recommended several amendments to the proposed rules, including the insertion of a rule explicitly prohibiting “mandatory
minimum” installment payments, so that all defendants have access to payment plans they can actually afford.