ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 1231 (PN 1296) would create an exception to Pennsylvania’s compulsory joinder rule (18 Pa.C.S. § 110) that would allow prosecutors to try summary offenses separately from misdemeanor or felony offenses that arise from the same criminal episode.
Pennsylvania's compulsory joinder rule, also known as “Rule 110,” is a rule grounded in the constitutional principle against double jeopardy that requires a prosecutor to bring in a single proceeding, all known charges against a defendant. HB 1231 would create an arbitrary exception to that rule for summary offenses, eliminating protections against double jeopardy based on offense type.
If enacted, HB 1231 would have disastrous consequences. HB 1231 proposes to eliminate ENTIRELY the compulsory joinder rule for ALL summary offenses. This would allow someone to be separately prosecuted for a summary offense — which still carries a potential maximum of 90 days of incarceration — and then ALSO be prosecuted for misdemeanors and/or felonies arising from the same incident.
This stands in direct conflict with statutory protections under Rule 110 and constitutional protections against double jeopardy enshrined in our state and federal constitutions: “No person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” Pa. Const. art. I, § 10 and U.S. Const. amend. V.
Check the bill's status here.