Friday, May 05, 2006

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Adopts New Procedural Rules to Address Changes to PFA Law

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued new rules of civil procedure to guide implementation of the new amendments to the Protection From Abuse Act. The newly enacted Act 66 of 2005 expands and accelerates PFA victim protections.

Changes to the Protection From Abuse Act that take effect May 9 include those that authorize county judges to order defendants with Protection From Abuse orders against them to surrender all firearms and other weapons within 24 hours - when the court determines such action is necessary to protect a victim. Defendants who do not surrender a firearm when ordered would face a misdemeanor charge. The Act also provides for alternative methods of relinquishment, such as transferring firearms to a licensed dealer.

The new Act also allows the president judge of a Court of Common Pleas to appoint a part-time or full-time master for emergency relief who may hear PFA petitions when a judge is not available. Other changes include an increase in the minimum fine for violation of a PFA order from $100 to $300.

A complete copy of the new rules, along with an explanatory report on the changes, is available on the Pennsylvania Judiciary Web site at the links below.


Full AOPC Press Release