Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct

Formal Opinions

Digests of Informal Opinions The digests of inquiries before 2014 are based on the version of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct that was in effect before July 1, 2014

Subject headings used in the formal opinions and digests of informal opinions

Canons involved in the formal opinions and digests of informal opinions

Members of Judicial Ethics Committee

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Elections

Retention Manual

For links to other judicial ethics web sites go to www.ncsc.org/cje

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline web site address is http://www.pacourts.us/courts/court-of-judicial-discipline

The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board web site address is http://judicialconductboardofpa.org/

JUDICIAL ETHICS COMMITTEE OF THE

PENNSYLVANIA CONFERENCE OF STATE TRIAL JUDGES

INTRODUCTION AND CAVEAT

The Judicial Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges is pleased to present this web site with the summaries of informal advisory opinions issued since 1999 and the Formal Opinions published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin since 1999.

The Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct, Preamble, paragraph [8] provides that although the advisory opinions of the Judicial Ethics Committee are not binding upon the Judicial Conduct Board, the Court of Judicial Discipline, or the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the opinions will be taken into account in determining whether discipline should be recommended or imposed. This "rule of reliance" applies only to the specific judge who has sought the Committee's opinion. The digests which are on this web site are intended to provide information to interested persons and are based upon the specific facts submitted to the Committee, all of which may not be disclosed in the digest. Moreover, the digests that are dated before July 1, 2014 unless otherwise stated were opinions based on the version of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct that was in effect before July 1, 2014. On July 1, 2014 a new Code of Judicial Conduct went into effect. In many instances the new Code uses the language of the 2007 American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The "rule of reliance" will not apply to anyone who follows the advice set forth in the digests. A judge who desires to benefit from the "rule of reliance" should ordinarily submit an inquiry to the member of the Committee serving the judge's zone. A list of the members of the Committee and the zone each serves may be found at Members of Judicial Ethics Committee (The digests are intended to be and should be read as gender neutral. The use of the masculine form of the pronoun shall be deemed to include both the masculine and feminine genders.)

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has designated the Judicial Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges as the approved body to render advisory opinions regarding ethical concerns involving judges and judicial candidates subject to the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct. The Committee renders advisory opinions as to future conduct or to past conduct related to future conduct or continuing conduct. The Committee does not render advisory opinions solely regarding past conduct. The Committee will respond to inquiries about the inquiring judge's or judicial candidate's own conduct, not about the conduct of another.

An inquiring judge or judicial candidate seeking advice from the Committee should submit all material facts and if there is any doubt whether a fact is material, the fact should be disclosed. If a fact is not material, the Committee will not consider it in rendering an opinion.

Judge Vito P. Geroulo

Chair

Please direct any questions about this web site to:

Gary Lee, Esquire

(215) 922-3232