PURDON'S REVEALED - Part 2!!!

(The Truth About Annotated Law)

 

"Purdon's has [served] the profession well becoming 'the Bible' of the statutory law, but the 'official' statutes are in the Pamphlet Laws and not the Purdon's."

- Judge Robert E. Woodside, Pennsylvania Constitutional Law

307 (1985) (emphasis added)

 

 

"It is routine for lawyers in Pennsylvania to rely upon Purdon's, as opposed to the pamphlet laws, but there are times this routine must be broken. Purdon's is not legal evidence of the official verison of Pennsylvania's pamphlet laws."

- Judge Leavitt in Appeal of Tenet Health systems,

880 A.2d 721(2005)

 

After reading the 2 provided excerpts above, it can easily be determined that each judge is in agreement on two essential facts:

 

1) The "Pamphlet Laws" are the official laws of Pennsylvania, and

 

2) "Purdon's" is not the official laws of Pennsylvania

 

However, you may not quite understand what this all means, so let's take a look at what exactly "Purdon's" and "Pamphlet Laws" are...

 

 

Purdon's, when referred to within the confines of this website, represents the unofficial codifications of law known as 'Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes' and 'Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated, which are the work product of West Publishing Company. It must be duly noted that the West Publishing Company is a private publisher with 'free reign' to interpret and translate the laws of Pennsylvania any way it chooses to. Although the statute text of Purdon's is supposedly supervised by the Legislative Reference Bureau to ensure accuracy, West Publishing Company is not accountable for any errors or inaccuracies in the statute text of Purdon's that may mislead attorneys and civilians because West Publishing Company has no editors employed by the government. 

 

 

"As we have explained, West Publishing Company, not the Legislative Reference Bureau, was responsible for the error in Purdon's version of Section 8(c) of the Assessment Law... By contrast, it has not been demonstrated here that any person in government has misled Tenet."

- Judge Leavitt in Appeal of Tenet Health Systems,

880 A.2d 721(2005)

 



What this basically means is:    Let's say you and a friend decided to start a publishing company whose sole objective is to interpret the law and explain it to the public. Being that your product is being offered to the public through a private publisher that has no official ties to the government, you cannot be held accountable if someone relies on your erroneous interpretation of the law. 

 

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Now, on the other end of the spectrum you have the "Pamphlet Laws", which are the official laws of Pennsylvania and are technically referred to as the LAWS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. These are the actually laws that have been voted on, approved and/or amended or repealed by the General Assembly. Because Pennsylvania's Pamphlet Laws are organized by chronology, not subject, Purdon's has long served legal practitioners by providing a reference to finding statutes on a particular subject. The mere fact that Purdon's has always provided information on statutes, presented in numerical order instead of chronological order, has resulted in Purdon's becoming "the Bible" of statutory law in Pennsylvania --- even though Purdon's itself is not an official version of the law. 

 

 

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However, what is an official codified version of the laws of Pennsylvania is the "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes". The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes are an official codified version of the laws adopted by the General Assembly. The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes was formed in 1970 to " facilitate the codification and compiling of the law of this Commonwealth, as authorized by section 3 of Article III of the Constitution of Pennsylvania..."

 

Before we go any further, here's a quick recap of the 3 different ways that Pennsylvania Statutory Law is cited.

 

1.) "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes" and "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated", which are not the law...

 

2.) "Pamphlet Laws", technically referred to as the LAWS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, which is the law, and

 

3.) "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes" which is the only official codification of the "Pamphlet Laws" that have been adopted by the General Assembly. 

 

 

Now that we've discussed the 3 different ways in which Pennsylvania Statutory Law is cited, it's imperative that we analyze what each form of citation looks like, so that you will be able to recognize the differences...

 

First, let us analyze what a citation to the "Pamphlet Laws" looks like:

 

 

The Act of 1972, December 6, P.L. 1482, No. 334, Section 2501.

 

The above citation of Pamphlet Law is a citation to a Section located in the Act that enacted Pennsylvania's Crimes Code. The citation is written in its proper form so as to be recognizable by the courts and legal practitioners. A citation to Pamphlet Laws always begins with the year and date that an Act was approved. (Some citations start with the year and are followed by the month and day of approval as displayed above, while some citations start with the month and day of approval and are followed by the year. Nevertheless, either way is acceptable).

 

Then, the Pamphlet Law Number is next. (In the citation displayed above, the "P.L. 1482" represents a pamphlet law number of 1482). The Pamphlet Law Number is simply the first page number of the Act being cited. This page number can be found on the upper right or upper left corner of the page in the Act.

 

Next is the Act Number. (In the citation displayed above, the "No. 334" represents an Act number of 334). The Act number is simply the number assigned to a particuliar Act once it has been approved. Being that the above displayed Act has "No. 334" in it's citation, it means that such an act was the 334th Act to be approved by Pennsylvania's General Assembly during the year of 1972.

 

And finally, there is the section. (It is not mandatory that a Section be included in a Pamphlet Law Citation unless you are specifically citing a certain Section in the Act.) The Section is the actual statute from the Act that you are citing. In the above displayed Pamphlet Law Citation, Section 2501 is the specific statute being cited from the Act 

 

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Now that we've analyed what a citation to Pamphlet Law looks like, let's analyze what a citation to the "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes" look like... 

 

18 Pa.C.S. Section 2501

 

 

The  above displayed citation to a "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute" is a citation of the same Statute cited from the Pamphlet Law (which was aforementioned). Nevertheless, the above cited "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statue" is written in it's proper form so as to be understood and referenced by the Courts and legal practitioners.

 

First, you'll notice that the citation starts with the number "18". Well, "18" represents the Title Number in which the cited statute is located. (hence, Title 18). 

 

BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY, Eighth Edition defines "Title" as:

The heading of a statute or other legal document.

 

Second, you'll notice that the Title Number is followed by the initials "Pa.C.S.". These initials stand for "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes" which lets you know which Codified Statute Book this citation is referring to.

 

And finally, you'll notice that "Section 2501" ends the above-displayed citation. This simply means that the specific statute being cited is Section 2501 from Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

 

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Now that we've discussed what a citation to the Pamphlet Laws and the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes looks like, the only thing left to discuss is what a citation to "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes" and "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated" looks like...

 

18 P.S. Section 4701 -or- 18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 2501

 

 

The above displayed citations show the two different ways in which Purdon's cites Pennsylvania statutory law. The citation on the left is from the Penal Code of 1939 and represents a citation of "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes".  (Prior to 1970, Pennsylvania Pamphlet Laws had no official codification that was acknowledged by the General Assembly. Consequently, "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes" had no official counterpart in matters of codification). *** It should be duly noted that the above-cited statute on the left is actually found in the Pamphlet Laws at Section 701 of the Act of 1939, June 24, P.L. 872, No. 375     (which is currently repealed)***

 

The above displayed citation on the right is a statute from the Crimes Code (Technically known as "Title 18 - Crimes and Offenses") and represents a citation of "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated". You'll notice that the above displayed citation on the right looks almost identical to the citation of the "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes" (Pa.C.S) with the only difference being the letter "A" at the end of the initial. Well, the letter "A" in "Pa.C.S.A." stands for "Annotated" ...

 

BLACK'S LAW DICTONARY, FIFTH EDITION defines "Annotated" as:

 

"A remark, note, case summary, or commentary on some passage of a book, statutory provision, or the like, intended to illustrate or explain its meaning.

*(emphasis added)*

 

As a result, it must be understood that the "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated" (Pa.C.S.A) are merely an unofficial codification of the Pamphlet Laws, and simply provide how a private publisher (West Group) interprets the statutory laws of Pennsylvania!!! So in other words, there is no legal difference between "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes", "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated" and a smiley face drawn by a 6-year old child!... Because none of them are the official laws!!!

 

So here's a quick recap:

 

*The "Pamphlet Laws" are the official laws of Pennsylvania and a citation looks like:

 

The Act of 1972, December 6, P.L. 1482, No. 334

 

 

*The "Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes" are the only official codification of the "Pamphlet Laws" that have been adopted by General Assembly and a citation looks like:

 

18 Pa.C.S. Section 2501


 

*The "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes" are an unofficial codification of the "Pamphlet Laws" that existed prior to 1970 and have not been adopted by the General Assembly. A citation looks like:

 

18 P.S. Section 4701


 

*The "Purdon's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated" are an unofficial codification of the "Pamphlet Laws" that are merely a private publishers interpertation of Pennsylvania's laws and have not been adopted by the General Assembly. A citation looks like:

 

18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 2501

 

 

**Be careful of the way you cite Pennsylvania statutory law because it just might be the difference between gaining freedom or remaining incarcerated!!!

 

 

[***EDITOR's NOTE: For an in-depth analysis on the "codifications", "codified statute books", and "subject matter jurisdiction" as they pertain to Pennsylvania's statutory law, see the "SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION IN PENNSYLVANIA" analysis on pages 99-109 of the PAsentencing.com FREEDOM PACKET, 1st Edition, and see the "CODIFIED STATUTES IN PENNSYLVANIA EXPOSED!!!" analysis within the PAsentencing.com FREEDOM PACKET 2nd Edition (available Spring 2014!). ***]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek Truth...Be Aware... Make A Difference...

 

                                                                                                   Signing Off,       
                                                                                                 The Solutionist

 

 

PAsentencing.com was created solely for the purpose of providing the public with accurate information concerning the Pamphlet Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other related subject matter. However, this website was not created by persons licensed to practice law throughout the state of Pennsylvania. PAsentencing.com should not be construed as a substitute for the advice or representation of an attorney, but rather an aid towards addressing specific aspects concerning illegal sentencing procedures throughout the state of Pennsylvania.



 

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