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The following notices are from the Office of the Court Administrator of Westmoreland County, Pa. For more information, contact Tami L. Silvis, Assistant Court Administrator, at 724-830-3829.
Any new notices from the Court Administrator or concerning civil and orphans' court motions will be posted on the WBA Blog and the WBA Facebook page. Please adjust your browser's bookmarks accordingly.
Pursuant to the recently revised court appointed attorney guidelines, court appointed counsel is asked to submit Fee Petitions on a timely basis. Unless otherwise ordered, petitions for each case shall be submitted monthly for all capital cases, and quarterly for all other cases until representation is concluded. If you need a copy of the current guidelines, please contact the Court Administrator’s Office, Danielle Frye, at 724.830.3393.
The 2011 Civil Court Calendars are available in the Court Administrator's Office, Civil Division, Room M7.
Court appointed attorneys who want a transcript from a preliminary hearing held in the Magisterial District Judge courts must request that the hearing be recorded regardless of whether a court reporter is present to record the hearing at the request of private counsel. The Court Administrator’s office will prepare the transcript of the preliminary hearing from the recording for court appointed counsel at no charge.
Revised guidelines and forms for submitting Court Appointed Fee Petitions were sent out in May. If you serve as Court Appointed Counsel and received the revised guidelines, please ensure that your verification form has been returned to Danielle Frye in the Court Administrator’s Office. If you serve as Court Appointed Counsel and did not receive the revised guidelines and verification form to submit, please contact Danielle at (724) 830-3393.
Effective December 8, 2009, certain fees charged by the Westmoreland County Register of Wills will be revised. For a copy of the new fees, contact the Register of Wills office.
Effective January 1, 2010, the Westmoreland County Sheriff's office will adopt a new fee structure. For a copy of the new fees, contact the Sheriff's office.
On October 9, 2009, Governor Rendell signed House Bill 1607 which Became Act 49 of 2009. As of December 8, 2009, the JCP fee will Be $23.50.
Effective January 1, 2010:
Judge Richard E. McCormick, Jr., Courtroom #2 will preside over civil court cases assigned to Judge Daniel J. Ackerman.
Judge Anthony G. Marsili, Courtroom #4, will preside over civil court cases assigned to Judge William J. Ober.
Judge-Elect Michele G. Bononi will preside over family court cases assigned to Judge Alfred B. Bell in Courtroom #8.
Judge Elect Christian F. Scherer will preside over family court cases assigned to Judge Anthony G. Marsili in Courtroom #9.
Judges-Elect Michele G. Bononi and Christian F. Scherer will preside over Protection from Abuse cases.
Beginning July 1, 2009, the Register of Wills Office will not be accepting inventories without payment of the balance due on letters. When mailing your Inventory, please submit a check for the total amount due.
We will no longer bill for balance due on letters. Should there be any question regarding the amount due please contact the Register of Wills Office.
Implementation of this procedure will benefit all parties involved. Thank you for cooperating.
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA–CRIMINAL
No. 256 MD 2009
AND NOW, this 30th day of March, 2009, upon recommendation of the Westmoreland County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, it is hereby ORDERED, pursuant to Act 81 of 2008 that a booking center fee of $50.00 per case to be placed on all defendants:
1. placed on probation without verdict,
2. who receive Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for, plead guilty to or nolo contendere to or are convicted of a crime under the following:
a. 18 Pa.C.S. § 106(a) (relating to classes of offenses),
b. 75 Pa.C.S. § 3735 (relating to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence),
c. 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802 (relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance),
d. A violation of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.
The booking center fee shall be paid to Westmoreland County through the Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts and deposited into a special regional center booking center fund established by the Westmoreland County Commissioners. Moneys in the fund shall be disbursed, pursuant to procedures promulgated by the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners, and used solely for the implementation of a countywide booking center plan and the start-up, operation or maintenance of the regional booking centers.
This Order is effective on the first Monday following thirty days after publication in The Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ John E. Blahovec, PJ
/s/ Richard E. McCormick, Jr., J
/s/ Debra A. Pezze, J
/s/ Rita D. Hathaway, J
Effective immediately, the Order appointing a guardian has been revised by the Court. The revised order can be found on the Court's web page, www.co.westmoreland.pa.us, under Forms, Orphans Court or by contacting the Register of Will or the Orphans' Court Administrator for a copy of the same. The order has been changed to require the filing party to provide the Orphans' Court Administrator with copies of the original reports of the guardian of the person and guardian of the estate annually and thereafter.
All Court appointed counsel requesting a transcript from a preliminary hearing, please keep the Court Administrator's transcriptionist updated on the status of the case. If a transcript is no longer needed because the case results in a guilty plea, or other disposition, it is important that you notify the Court Administrator's Office. In this way the office will not be dedicating resources to preparing transcripts unnecessarily.
AND NOW this 24th day of September, 2008, the Westmoreland County Prothonotary's request to increase fees and charges effective January 1, 2009, Pursuant to Act 164 of 1998, is hereby approved.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ JOHN E. BLAHOVEC, P.J.
(For a copy of the New Fee Schedule, please contact the Prothonotary's Office)
Effective March 17, 2008, attorneys and visitors may not bring wallets and purses into the Westmoreland County Prison. When visiting a client, attorneys are advised to bring a photo identification. Case files, portfolios, and brief cases containing case papers may be brought into the county prison.
The Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS) is utilized statewide to schedule criminal cases. All counties are currently using CPCMS for criminal court schedules. You can access criminal court case information and court schedules for every county on the Internet via the state website at www.ujsportal.pacourts.us. There is also a link to this website from the Westmoreland County homepage, www.co.westmoreland.pa.us.
Recent enhancements were made to the CPCMS website that permit users to view, search, and print court schedules and lists. Explanatory documents regarding use of this new important functionality for those who rely upon the Internet to access CPCMS are available in the Criminal Division of the Court Administrator’s office (Room M8) and at the Westmoreland Bar Association office.
Westmoreland County Rule W1301, effective January 1, 2007, requires that the plaintiff filing a case subject to arbitration provide the Court Administrator’s Office with a copy of the complaint at the time of filing. The Court Administrator will then schedule the case for arbitration without further prompting.
The Court Administrator has received very few complaints since the adoption of Rule W1301. If you have filed a complaint for a case subject to arbitration and you have not received notice that your case is scheduled for arbitration, please provide the Civil Court Administrator with a copy of your complaint or a Certificate of Readiness for Arbitration.
When you represent a defendant in a criminal case you must formally enter your appearance with the Clerk of Courts in order for your name to be entered in the state criminal case management system (CPCMS) used to schedule and send notices for criminal court events by the Court Administrator's Office. A Waiver of Arraignment and Entry of Appearance form and an Entry of Appearance form are available in the Court Administrator's Office or online for your use. If you fail to enter your appearance, you will not receive court notice of scheduled events.
Adoption and Termination forms have been revised effective immediately. All parties and practitioners must use the new revised forms. The forms are available on line at co.westmoreland.pa.us or at the Register of Wills office.
Sentencing for state intermediate punishment cases will be conducted with the State Correctional Institute via video conferencing on the defendant's scheduled sentencing date. Defendants will not be transported for SJP sentencing.
The equipment used to record preliminary hearings before Magisterial District Judges will be replaced through the end of the year with Liberty Digital Recorders. Attorneys can obtain a free copy of the Liberty playback software from the following website http://www.libertyrecording.com/ for transcription purposes. A USB foot pedal and PC headset are also required for transcription.
Attorneys can request a copy of preliminary hearing recordings from the Court Administrator's Office. The Court Administrator's Office will provide CDs for copies of digital recordings and charge private counsel a nominal fee for same. Questions regarding preliminary hearing recordings should be directed to Tami Silvis at 724-830-3829.
The following Orphans' Court estate forms have been revised and are available on the County's web page at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us as Microsoft Word documents that may be downloaded for use.
Copies of the forms are also available at the Register of Wills office.
Attorneys who change their business address must notify the Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts or the Court Administrator's office of the new address in addition to notifying the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board. This will help ensure that attorneys receive notice of criminal court hearings on cases for which they have entered their appearance.
Bar members serving as arbitrators for Westmoreland County Court must complete a W-9 form with the Westmoreland County Controller's Office.
The Supreme Court is receiving petitions from criminal defendants alleging that appointed counsel failed to pursue available avenues of appellate review. Effective immediately, in reviewing such petitions the Court will advise the attorney of the allegation and request a response. If the Court Concludes that counsel abandoned the client in violation of the rules and case law, the matter will automatically be referred to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court for consideration. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 122(C)(3) and 904(E) and Comments thereto.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
All qualified providers of custody services for the citizens of Westmoreland County are invited to provide Paul Kuntz, District Court Administrator, 2 North Main St., Greensburg, Pa. 15601 with a description of services provided and a schedule of charges for those available services. This information will be made available at the Custody Office to all litigants.
Effective immediately, when filing a mortgage foreclosure case in the Prothonotary's office, you must include a coversheet. All mortgage foreclosure cases will be assigned to a judge by the Prothonotary upon filing. In the event that the case requires judicial attention, you will present the matter to the assigned judge. Coversheets are available in the Prothonotary's office. Thank you for your attention to this change.
Westmoreland Local Rule W1920.12, which requires Social Security Numbers on divorce complaints, has been rescinded effective August 17, 2004.
Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 576(B)(1), which was effective on July 1, 2004, requires attorneys to serve a copy of all written motions, answers, and notices or documents for which filing is required on the court administrator at the same time the original is filed. This requirement is the same that we have been operating under in Westmoreland County pursuant to Westmoreland County Rule of Criminal Procedure WC 576(a) and (b). Pursuant to the new Supreme Court rule, all parties must continue to serve copies on the court administrator. In addition, the Comment suggests that counsel send a copy of the motion to the judge if a judge is assigned to the case.
Upon receipt of its copy of the motion, the court administrator will forward the copy to the assigned judge for a determination pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 577(A)(1) of whether an answer or argument is required. In the event an argument is required, the court administrator will provide Notice pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 577(A)(2).
New Westmoreland County Rule of Criminal Procedure WC 576 permits the option provided by Pa.R.Crim.P. 576(B)(2)(f) for service of any document on the court administrator by facsimile transmission.
All criminal practitioners should review Motions, Filing, and Service procedures found in Pa.R.Crim.P. 575, 576, and 577.
All attorneys must notify the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board of address changes. The new statewide Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS), which has been implemented in Westmoreland County for Criminal Court, utilizes the Disciplinary Board information for attorney mailing addresses. To make certain that our Criminal Court system has current address information, attorneys should fax all address changes directly to the Disciplinary Board at 1-717-731-7080.
Because of budgetary constraints, the Office of District Attorney can only provide discovery in criminal cases upon advance payment of twenty-five ($.25) cents per page effective March 15, 2004.
As a reminder, pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 120(c), you can only withdraw your appearance as counsel for a defendant with leave of court. You will receive court notices as the attorney of record on a case, unless and until the Clerk of Courts receives an order permitting your withdrawal. A withdrawal order once filed will assure that your name is removed as the lead attorney on the case and that you will not get any future court notices.
Criminal cases are now given a date certain for trial during each trial term. Attorneys who have entered appearances on criminal cases will receive a notice and a list of cases for each trial term. The Trial date set for every case is identified on your list. Attorneys are responsible for notifying their clients of the assigned trial date.
Most trial cases are scheduled for trial readiness conferences prior to the trial term. Any problem with your trial date certain must be brought to the Court's attention at this conference.
In case of inclement weather, you are asked to monitor the local television and radio stations. If Greensburg-Salem School district is closed, then Westmoreland County jury trials will be cancelled and we will not have jurors report for jury duty.