Commonwealth v. McMullen J-186-2008
Topic: Limits on the Right to a Jury Trial – Criminal Contempt
Summary: Any statute passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature that interferes with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s procedural rule-making power is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court held that issues involving the right to a jury trial and issues involving punishments for contempt of court are procedural.
Illustration: 42 Pa.C.S.A § 4136(a) gave defendants the right to demand a jury trial. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 4136(b) limits the punishment for contempt of court. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that both statutes unconsitutionally impinged upon the role of the Court to make rules regarding jury trials as well as the role of the Court to determine the punishment for contempt of court.
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