In re Private Complaint Filed by Ajaj

In the case of In re Private Complaint Filed by Ajaj, the Commonwealth appealed from the trial court’s order overturning the Commonwealth’s disapproval of a private complaint. Ajaj filed the private complaint seeking charges against his children’s mother for violations of 18 Pa.C.S. § 2904(a) and § 2909(a). The Commonwealth issued its disapproval of the complaint, citing “evidentiary issues”. Ajaj filed a petition for de novo review of the disapproval. On the day of the hearing, the Commonwealth filed an answer to the petition. It asserted for the first time that the complaint was properly disapproved, not only for evidentiary issues but also for policy considerations. The Commonwealth then argued policy considerations at the hearing. The trial court granted Ajaj’s petition and reversed the disapproval of this private criminal complaint. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed. First, it held that the trial court did not err when it ruled that, Commonwealth’s evidentiary claims lacked merit. Second, the Court opined that the Commonwealth raised the issue of policy considerations in an untimely manner and raised policy considerations that “deviate from moral rectitude and sound thinking”. Commonwealth v. Brown, 708 A.2d 81, 86 (Pa. 1998). Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found the Commonwealth failed to advance sufficient policy reasons to support disapproval of the complaint.

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