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Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline

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Note: State judicial disciplinary agencies do not have appellate jurisdiction or authority over federal court judges and justices.

Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline
Pennsylvania

The court
Composition of the court
Case Flow Description
Rules of Procedure
Court Decisions (1994-Present)
History
First members of the court
Code of Judicial Conduct
Contact information

Other state agencies
External links
The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline is the agency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with hearing and ruling on charges of judicial misconduct within the state judiciary.

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

The board is composed of 12 members. Six are appointed by the Governor and six by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.[1]

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.[1]

The Governor appoints one judge from the court of common pleas; two lawyers; and three non-lawyer electors.[1]

Case flow description

  • 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.[2]

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:[3]

Court decisions

[edit]

  • 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

History

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.[4]

Date Developments
1776 Constitution of 1776 - states that judges of the Supreme Court could be removed for "misbehavior." Authority was granted to the General Assembly.[4]
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.[4]
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."[4]
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.[4]
Nov. 23, 1993 Eight judges took an oath of fidelity as the judges of the newly established Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline.[4]

First members of the court

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 1. JUDGES SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY.
An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. Judges should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should themselves observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.

CANON 2. JUDGES SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL THEIR ACTIVITIES.
A. Judges should respect and comply with the law and should conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

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 ...


Contact information

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

See also

Pennsylvania

External links

Court of Judicial Discipline

Other courts and links

References

PennsylvaniaSupreme Court of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Superior CourtPennsylvania Commonwealth CourtPennsylvania Court of Common PleasPennsylvania Magisterial DistrictsPhiladelphia Municipal CourtPhiladelphia Traffic CourtPittsburgh Municipal CourtUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Western District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Middle District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of PennsylvaniaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitPennsylvania countiesPennsylvania judicial newsPennsylvania judicial electionsJudicial selection in PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaTemplate.jpg