Commonwealth v. Atkinson

For the second time in 10 months, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered the compulsory-joinder rule. In February 2021, an en banc panel ruled that the Commonwealth did not violate the compulsory-joinder rule by first prosecuting the defendant for violations of the Motor Vehicles Code in the since-eliminated Traffic Court of Philadelphia and then prosecuting the defendant for DUI in Philadelphia Municipal Court. But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated that order and remanded with instructions to reconsider in light of Commonwealth v. Johnson.¬†After a byzantine history of the Philadelphia Traffic Court and the case’s procedural posture, this en banc panel found that the compulsory joinder principles did not apply and affirmed. The Court ruled that when the defendant was found guilty of her summary traffic violation in the now-eliminated Traffic Court, it was statutorily impossible for the Commonwealth to consolidate her offenses for prosecution.

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