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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2016 01:51 PM
From: Representative Kerry A. Benninghoff
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibit ARD Program for Sex Offenses against Children
I intend to re-introduce HB 623 (2015-16) which will prohibit someone charged with Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse or Aggravated Indecent Assault against a child from being placed into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD).

The ARD program is designed to give a first time offender a “second chance” by avoiding the consequences of being convicted of a crime. Under the ARD program, if a defendant successfully completes a period of supervision and follows the requirements imposed by the court, the case is dismissed. Though most Pennsylvania prosecutors judiciously reserve ARD for those who are truly deserving, the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure currently allow prosecutors complete discretion to recommend any defendant for placement into the program regardless of the crime.

I believe ARD serves a valuable rehabilitative purpose, but there are some offenses which, by their nature, should never result in probation without conviction if the evidence is sufficient to bring charges in the first place. In particular, I believe an adult who commits one of these most serious sexual offenses against a child should never be given the “second chance” of ARD.

I welcome your support on this bill.

Former Cosponsors: Baker, Barrar, Bizzarro, Brownlee, Caltagirone, Causer, Cohen, D. Costa, Davis, DeLuca, Diamond, Evankovich, Gabler, Gillen, Gingrich, A. Harris, Heffley, Helm, Kauffman, Mahoney, Maloney, Millard, Murt, Pickett, Readshaw, Rozzi, Schweyer, Stephens, Tallman, Toepel, and Watson

Introduced as HB594