Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline
|Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline|
The Court of Judicial Discipline has authority to impose sanctions over Magisterial District Judges, Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas, the Commonwealth Court and the Superior Court, and Justices of the Supreme Court.
Composition of the court
According to the Pennsylvania Constitution the Supreme Court appoints one judge from either the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court; one magisterial district judge; one lawyer; and three non-lawyer electors.
Case flow description
- The case begins when a misconduct complaint is filed by the Judicial Conduct Board
- The President Judge then appoints a Conference Judge to conduct all pre-trial activities.
- The accused judge may file an Omnibus Motion to challenge the validity or sufficiency of the complaint.
- From there the Conference Judge may dismiss the charges, defer the ruling to the Court, or dismiss the motion.
- A pretrial conference is then conducted by the Conference Judge and agreements, objections and rulings may be made.
- Rulings made at the conference control future proceedings.
Rules of Procedure
The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline adopted the Rules of Procedure November 1, 1994 and became effective January 1, 1995.
There are 8 Chapters making up 3 main Articles:
- Article 1 PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
- Article 2 PROCEEDINGS BASED ON THE FILING OF FORMAL CHARGES
- Article 3 OTHER PROCEEDINGS
- In re: Senior District Justice James Martin Kelly --- No. 1 JD 00
- In re: Judge Norman Callan --- No. 2 JD 00
- In re: District Justice Richard H. Zoller --- No. 3 JD 00
- In re: District Justice Richard H. Zoller -- No. 1 JD 01
- In re: District Justice Ronald Amati -- No. 2 JD 01
- In re: Former District Justice Gigi Sullivan--No. 3 JD 01
- In re: Former Judge Francis P. Eagen--No. 4 JD 01
- In re: Senior Judge Eric Lilian -- No. 1 JD 02
- In re: Judge Patrick McFalls -- No. 2 JD 02
- In re: District Justice Richard K. McCarthy -- No. 3 JD 02
- In re: Judge Patrick McFalls -- No. 4 JD 02
- In re: District Justice George Clark -- No. 5 JD 02
- In re: Judge Joseph A. Jaffe -- No. 6 JD 02
- In re: District Justice Joseph Toczydlowski, Jr. - No. 1 JD 04
- In re: District Justice Stephen H. Silverman - No. 2 JD 04
- In re: Judge Mark Peter Pazuhanich - No. 3 JD 04
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Allan Clifford Berkhimer - No. 4 JD 04
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Edward E. Hartman - No. 5 JD 04
- In re: Former Magistrate Moira C. Harrington - No. 6 JD 04
- In Re: Judge Willis W. Berry - No. 1 JD 09
- In Re: Magisterial District Judge Susan E. McEwen - No. 3 JD 09
- In Re: Magisterial District Judge Gerard L. Alonge - No. 4 JD 09
- In re: Former Magisterial District Judge David J. Murphy - No. 1 JD 10
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Thomas Carney - No. 2 JD 10
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Maryesther S. Merlo - No. 3 JD 10
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Maryesther S. Merlo – No. 1 JD 11
- In re: Former Magisterial District Judge Gerald Carl Liberace – No. 2 JD 11
- In re: Former Judge Michael T. Joyce – No. 3 JD 11
- In re: Magisterial District Judge Issac H. Stolzfus – No. 4 JD 11
- In re: Former Judge Michael T. Toole – No. 5 JD 11
Eight judges first took an oath of fidelity as the judges of the newly established Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline on November 23, 1993. The event marked the creation of the first court since 1968 in the state. The Court of Judicial Discipline is the fourth established court in state history, following: the state Supreme Court, the Courts of Common Pleas, the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court.
|1776||Constitution of 1776 - states that judges of the Supreme Court could be removed for "misbehavior." Authority was granted to the General Assembly.|
|1790||Amendment - adds judges of several Courts of Common Pleas; and for cases of insufficient ground for impeachment, the governor was granted the authority to remove the judge at the address of two-thirds of each legislative branch.|
|1968||Amendment - The Judicial Inquiry and Review Board (JIRB) was established via an amendment to Article V of the Constitution. The board served as the "prosecutor and as the adjudicator."|
|1993||Amendment - based on the findings of the "Beck Commission" the JIRB was divided among to autonomous bodies: the Judicial Conduct Board and the Court of Judicial Discipline.|
|Nov. 23, 1993||Eight judges took an oath of fidelity as the judges of the newly established Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline.|
First members of the court
- Republican William F. Burns Appointed on October 25, 1993
- Republican William C. Cassebaum Appointed on October 25, 1993
- Republican Peter DePaul Appointed on August 25, 1993
- Democrat Christine L. Donohue Appointed on October 25, 1993
- Democrat Justin M. Johnson Appointed on October 25, 1993
- Democrat Joseph F. McCloskey Appointed on August 25, 1993
- Democrat Carol K. McGinley Appointed on August 25, 1993
- Republican Dawson R. Muth Appointed on August 25, 1993
For a full list of current and former judges, please see: Current and former judges
Code of Judicial Conduct
Below is an excerpt of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct. For the full document, click here.
CHAPTER 33. CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
CANON 2. JUDGES SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL THEIR ACTIVITIES.
B. Judges should not allow their family, social, or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. They should not lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others; nor should they convey or knowingly permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. Judges should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
... Continued ...
The Court of Judicial Discipline of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
601 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 5500
P.O. Box 62595, Harrisburg, PA 17106-2595
Phone: (717) 772-3771
Fax: (717) 772-3774
Court of Judicial Discipline
- The Superior Court of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Home Page
- Special Court Judges Association of Pennsylvania
- American Judicature Society
- Pennsylvania Bar Institute
- Pennsylvania Bulletin Online
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Manual
- Disciplinary Board of the Supreme court of the Pennsylvania
- Court of Judicial Discipline,"Brief History of the Judicial Disciplinary Process in PA," retrieved July 27, 2011
- Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline,"Typical Case Flow Description," retrieved July 27, 2011
- "Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, Rules of Procedure," retrieved July 29, 2011
- Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline,"History and Background Information," retrieved July 21, 2011