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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 14-2051




[ 207 PA. CODE CH. 33 ]

Amendment of Rules 4.2 and 4.4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct; No. 427 Judicial Administration Doc.

[44 Pa.B. 6204]
[Saturday, October 4, 2014]


Per Curiam

And Now, this 18th day of September, 2014, It Is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that Rules 4.2 and 4.4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct of 2014 are amended in the following form.

 To the extent that notice of proposed rulemaking would otherwise be required by Pa.R.J.A. No. 103, the immediate promulgation of the amendments is found to be in the interests of justice and efficient administration.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective immediately.

Annex A




Subchapter A. CANONS

Canon 4. A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.

Rule 4.2. Political and Campaign Activities of Judicial Candidates in Public Elections.

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 (C) A judge who is a candidate for elective judicial office shall not:

[(1) personally solicit or accept campaign contributions other than through a campaign committee authorized by Rule 4.4;

(2)] (1) use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the candidate or others;

[(3)] (2) use court staff, facilities, or other court resources in a campaign for judicial office except that a judge may use court facilities for the purpose of taking photographs, videos, or other visuals for campaign purposes to the extent such facilities are available on an equal basis for other candidates for such office;

[(4)] (3) knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth, make, or permit or encourage his or her campaign committee to make, any false or misleading statement; or

[(5)] (4) make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court.


General Considerations

 (1) Paragraphs (B) and (C) permit judicial candidates in public elections to engage in some political and campaign activities otherwise prohibited by Rule 4.1. Candidates may not engage in these activities earlier than immediately after the General Election in the year prior to the calendar year in which a person may become a candidate for such office.

 (2) Despite paragraph (B) and (C), judicial candidates for public election remain subject to many of the provisions of Rule 4.1. For example, a candidate continues to be prohibited from soliciting funds for a political organization, knowingly making false or misleading statements during a campaign, or making certain promises, pledges, or commitments related to future adjudicative duties. See Rule 4.1(A), paragraphs (4) and (11), and Rule 4.2(C), paragraph [(4)] (3).

 (3) In public elections for judicial office, a candidate may be nominated by, affiliated with, or otherwise publicly identified or associated with a political organization, including a political party. This relationship may be maintained throughout the period of the public campaign, and may include use of political party or similar designations on campaign literature and on the ballot.

 (4) Judicial candidates are permitted to attend or purchase tickets for dinners and other events sponsored by political organizations.

 (5) For purposes of paragraph (B)(3), candidates are considered to be a candidate for the same judicial office if they are competing for a single judgeship or for one of several judgeships on the same court to be filled as a result of the election. In endorsing or opposing another candidate for a position on the same court, a judicial candidate must abide by the same rules governing campaign conduct and speech as apply to the candidate's own campaign.

Statements and Comments Made During a Campaign for Judicial Office

 (6) Judicial candidates must be scrupulously fair and accurate in all statements made by them and by their campaign committees. Paragraph [(C)(4)] (C)(3) obligates candidates and their committees to refrain from making statements that are false or misleading, or that omit facts necessary to make the communication considered as a whole not materially misleading.

 (7) Judicial candidates are sometimes the subject of false, misleading, or unfair allegations made by opposing candidates, third parties, or the media. For example, false or misleading statements might be made regarding the identity, present position, experience, qualifications, or judicial rulings of a candidate. In other situations, false or misleading allegations may be made that bear upon a candidate's integrity or fitness for judicial office. As long as the candidate does not violate paragraphs [(C)(4) or (C)(5)] (C)(3) or (C)(4), or Rule 4.1, paragraph (A)(11), the candidate may make a factually accurate public response. In addition, when an independent third party has made unwarranted attacks on a candidate's opponent, the candidate may disavow the attacks, and request the third party to cease and desist.

 (8) Subject to paragraph [(C)(5)] (C)(4), a judicial candidate is permitted to respond directly to false, misleading, or unfair allegations made against him or her during a campaign, although it is preferable for someone else to respond if the allegations relate to a pending case.

 (9) Paragraph [(C)(5)] (C)(4) prohibits judicial candidates from making comments that might impair the fairness of pending or impending judicial proceedings. This provision does not restrict arguments or statements to the court or jury by a lawyer who is a judicial candidate, or rulings, statements, or instructions by a judge that may appropriately affect the outcome of a matter.

Rule 4.4. Campaign Committees.

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 (1) Judicial candidates are prohibited from personally soliciting campaign contributions or personally accepting campaign contributions. [See Rule 4.2(C)(1).] This Rule recognizes that in Pennsylvania, judicial campaigns must raise campaign funds to support their candidates, and permits candidates, other than candidates for appointive judicial office, to establish campaign committees to solicit and accept reasonable financial contributions or in-kind contributions.

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 14-2051. Filed for public inspection October 3, 2014, 9:00 a.m.]

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