The state Supreme Court announced changes designed to speed the appellate review of cases where child offenders are placed outside their homes in court delinquency matters.
The changes made to the state’s Appellate Court Procedural Rules make a significant difference in how quickly out-of-home placement cases are reviewed, according to a statement released by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Such cases are ones in which juveniles typically are sent to a detention center or residential facility.
“Although the number of these types of cases may be relatively small, the rules that the court adopted make our juvenile justice system stronger,” Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said in a statement. “The rules should also help appellate courts identify specific instances of sentencing abuse by individual judges. These new rules should boost the confidence Pennsylvanians have in the courts that adjudicate juveniles.”
The changes stem from the “kids-for-cash” scandal in Luzerne County and the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice report that followed. The report identified a procedure to improve the appellate review system because juveniles often complete their detainment in less time than it typically takes to process an appeal from an adjudication of guilt.