234 Pa. Code § 720

Current through Register Vol. 51, No. 48, November 27, 2021
Rule 720 - Post-Sentence Procedures; Appeal
(A) TIMING.
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (C) and (D), a written post-sentence motion shall be filed no later than 10 days after imposition of sentence.
(2) If the defendant files a timely post-sentence motion, the notice of appeal shall be filed:
(a) within 30 days of the entry of the order deciding the motion;
(b) within 30 days of the entry of the order denying the motion by operation of law in cases in which the judge fails to decide the motion; or
(c) within 30 days of the entry of the order memorializing the withdrawal in cases in which the defendant withdraws the motion.
(3) If the defendant does not file a timely post-sentence motion, the defendant's notice of appeal shall be filed within 30 days of imposition of sentence, except as provided in paragraph (A)(4).
(4) If the Commonwealth files a timely motion to modify sentence pursuant to Rule 721, the defendant's notice of appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the entry of the order disposing of the Commonwealth's motion.
(B) OPTIONAL POST-SENTENCE MOTION.
(1) Generally.
(a) The defendant in a court case shall have the right to make a post-sentence motion. All requests for relief from the trial court shall be stated with specificity and particularity, and shall be consolidated in the post-sentence motion, which may include:
(i) a motion challenging the validity of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or the denial of a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or nolo contendere;
(ii) a motion for judgment of acquittal;
(iii) a motion in arrest of judgment;
(iv) a motion for a new trial; and/or
(v) a motion to modify sentence.
(b) The defendant may file a supplemental post-sentence motion in the judge's discretion as long as the decision on the supplemental motion can be made in compliance with the time limits of paragraph (B)(3).
(c) Issues raised before or during trial shall be deemed preserved for appeal whether or not the defendant elects to file a post-sentence motion on those issues.
(2) Trial Court Action.
(a) Briefing Schedule

Within 10 days after a post-sentence motion is filed, if the judge determines that briefs or memoranda of law are required for a resolution of the motion, the judge shall schedule a date certain for the submission of briefs or memoranda of law by the defendant and the Commonwealth.

(b) Hearing; Argument

The judge shall also determine whether a hearing or argument on the motion is required, and if so, shall schedule a date or dates certain for one or both.

(c) Transcript

If the grounds asserted in the post-sentence motion do not require a transcript, neither the briefs nor hearing nor argument on the post-sentence motion shall be delayed for transcript preparation.

(3) Time Limits for Decision on Motion.

The judge shall not vacate sentence pending decision on the post-sentence motion, but shall decide the motion as provided in this paragraph.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (B)(3)(b), the judge shall decide the post-sentence motion, including any supplemental motion, within 120days of the filing of the motion. If the judge fails to decide the motion within 120 days, or to grant an extension as provided in paragraph (B)(3)(b), the motion shall be deemed denied by operation of law.
(b) Upon motion of the defendant within the 120-day disposition period, for good cause shown, the judge may grant one 30-day extension for decision on the motion. If the judge fails to decide the motion within the 30-day extension period, the motion shall be deemed denied by operation of law.
(c) When a post-sentence motion is denied by operation of law, the clerk of courts shall forthwith enter an order on behalf of the court, and, as provided in Rule 114, forthwith shall serve a copy of the order on the attorney for the Commonwealth, the defendant's attorney, or the defendant if unrepresented, that the post-sentence motion is deemed denied. This order is not subject to reconsideration.
(d) If the judge denies the post-sentence motion, the judge promptly shall issue an order and the order shall be filed and served as provided in Rule 114.
(e) If the defendant withdraws a post-sentence motion, the judge promptly shall issue an order memorializing the withdrawal, and the order shall be filed and served as provided in Rule 114.
(4) Contents of Order.

An order denying a post-sentence motion, whether issued by the judge pursuant to paragraph (B)(3)(d) or entered by the clerk of courts pursuant to paragraph (B)(3)(c), or an order issued following a defendant's withdrawal of the post-sentence motion, shall include notice to the defendant of the following:

(a) the right to appeal and the time limits within which the appeal must be filed;
(b) the right to assistance of counsel in the preparation of the appeal;
(c) the rights, if the defendant is indigent, to appeal in forma pauperis and to proceed with assigned counsel as provided in Rule 122; and
(d) the qualified right to bail under Rule 521(B).
(C) AFTER-DISCOVERED EVIDENCE.

A post-sentence motion for a new trial on the ground of after-discovered evidence must be filed in writing promptly after such discovery.

(D) SUMMARY CASE APPEALS.

There shall be no post-sentence motion in summary case appeals following a trial de novo in the court of common pleas. The imposition of sentence immediately following a determination of guilt at the conclusion of the trial de novo shall constitute a final order for purposes of appeal.

234 Pa. Code § 720

The provisions of this Rule 720 amended August 21, 2003, effective January 1, 2004, 33 Pa.B. 4436; amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1547; amended June 4, 2004, effective November 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 3105; amended June 8, 2005, effective August 1, 2005, 35 Pa.B. 3543; amended February 2, 2007, effective August 1, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 523.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with the Court's Order at 23 Pa.B. 1699 (April 10, 1993).

Report explaining the December 17, 1993 amendments published with the Court's Order at 24 Pa.B. 334 (January 15, 1994).

Final Report explaining the September 13, 1995 amendments concerning bail published with the Court's Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

Final Report explaining the September 26, 1996 Comment revision on Rule 1409 procedures published at 26 Pa.B. 4900 (October 12, 1996).

Final Report explaining the August 22, 1997 amendments to paragraphs (A)(4) and (B)(3) published with the Court's Order at 27 Pa.B. 4553 (September 6, 1997).

Final Report explaining the Comment references to Rule 1124A (Challenges to the Weight of the Evidence) and to Commonwealth v. Dougherty published with the Court's Order at 27 Pa.B. 5594 (November 1, 1997).

Final Report explaining the July 9, 1999 amendments to paragraphs (A)(2) and (B)(4) concerning time for appeal and contents of the order entered following withdrawal of post-sentence motion, and revision of the Comment adding the citation to Commonwealth v. Lord, published with the Court's Order at 29 Pa.B. 3836 (July 24, 1999).

Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court's Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

Final Report explaining the August 21, 2003 changes to Rule 720 concerning the timeliness of filings and the order published at 33 Pa.B. 4438 (September 6, 2003).

Final Report explaining the March 3, 2004 amendments updating the cross-references correlative to the March 3, 2004 changes to the motions rules published with the Court's Order at 34 Pa.B. 1561 (March 20, 2004).

Final Report explaining the June 8, 2005 changes concerning ineffective counsel claims and concerning after-discovered evidence published with the Court's Order at 35 Pa.B. 3545 (June 25, 2005).

Final Report explaining the January 18, 2007 revision of the last paragraph of the Comment clarifying the time for appeal following a trial de novo published with the Court's Order at 37 Pa.B. 526 (February 3, 2007).