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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 8238 (December 30, 2023).

207 Pa. Code Rule 8.0. Panel Advice and Board Review.

Rule 8.0. Panel Advice and Board Review.

 Judicial Officers must submit Requests to the Board in writing under Section 6.0. A Request must contain a statement of the facts regarding the intended conduct and a concise question of judicial ethics, with references to the relevant section(s) of the Codes, case law, and other authority the inquiring Judicial Officer already has consulted. A Request must relate to the inquiring Judicial Officer’s own prospective conduct or conduct of the inquiring Judicial Officer that has occurred in the past and is ongoing. A Request may not relate to hypothetical situations or to facts that are the subject of past or pending litigation, disciplinary investigation, or disciplinary proceedings. Judicial Officers must submit Requests at least 14 days prior to the event or action giving rise to the question. The Board Chair or the Chair’s designee may, in his or her discretion, waive this 14-day requirement for good cause and if the inquiry can be addressed in the time available.

   8.1. Request Intake.

 The Executive Director is designated and authorized to receive any and all Requests seeking an Advisory Opinion.

   8.2. Jurisdictional Closure.

 Any request for an Advisory Opinion from someone other than a Judicial Officer may be closed by the Executive Director for lack of jurisdiction without Board approval.

   8.3. Insufficient Request.

 If the JEAB receives a jurisdictionally appropriate Request but lacks sufficient information to render Advice, Staff will obtain additional facts from the Judicial Officer. Staff may close the Request if the Judicial Officer fails or refuses to provide the requested information within fourteen (14) days.

   8.4. Panel Determination and Assignment.

 Following receipt of a Request, the Executive Director shall identify the level of the judicial system of the inquiring Judicial Officer. The Executive Director shall assign the Request to a pre-determined Panel approved by the Board.

   8.5. Panel Member Assignment.

 In an effort to foster diversity and workload equality, each Member will rotate Panel assignments. Upon completion of a two (2) year cycle, each Member will have served with every other Member of the Board to the extent practical. Each Panel shall contain at least one Member of the same judicial level as the inquiring Judicial Officer. Panel makeup shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except to Members and Staff of the JEAB. Individual Panel assignments shall rotate on a quarterly basis.

   8.6. Identity Redaction.

 The Judicial Officer’s Request shall be redacted by Staff so the identity of the Judicial Officer shall not be known to the Panel or Board. Only Staff will have access to the identity of the inquiring Judicial Officer. The identity of an inquiring Judicial Officer may be disclosed to the Chair when, in the Chair’s opinion, there is a clear and convincing need to know. At no time shall the Chair or staff intentionally disclose the identity of the inquiring Judicial Officer absent an explicit and express waiver by the inquiring Judicial Officer in writing, or the Chair believes disclosure is necessary for a clear and convincing reason.

   8.7. Panel Action.

 The Essential Member of a Panel shall act as director of the Panel.

 8.7.1. Communication.

 Communication among the Panel, and between the Panel and Staff, shall be through or as authorized by the Essential Member.

   8.8.  Advice.

 A Panel determination shall be deemed achieved upon a two-thirds (2/3) or greater consensus of the Panel. Once a consensus is reached, the determination of the Panel shall constitute the Advice, and Staff shall communicate the Advice to the inquiring Judicial Officer in writing. The Panel membership shall remain confidential to the Requesting Judicial Officer.

   8.9. Reconsideration of Advice.

 After a Panel issues an Advice following a Request by a Judicial Officer, the Judicial Officer shall have the ability to seek reconsideration of the Panel Advice.

 8.9.1. Timing.

 A request for reconsideration of Panel Advice must be in writing and must be received by Staff within fourteen (14) days of Service of the Panel Advice.

   8.10. Board Review.

 After issuing Advice to the inquiring Judicial Officer, Staff shall circulate the Advice to the Board for review. Members shall respond in writing within twenty days of circulation by addressing any agreement, disagreement, or comment to Staff, and sending a copy thereof to each Member of the Board. A Member who does not respond within the stated timeframe shall be presumed to agree with the Advice rendered. If there is no disagreement with the Advice, the Advice shall be deemed the Board Opinion, so long as no request for reconsideration is pending. A deemed Opinion shall be ratified by vote of the Board at the next meeting.

 If a majority of the Board (five or more Members) register disagreement with an Advice, Staff shall notify the inquiring Judicial Officer promptly, and the matter shall be timely scheduled for Board resolution. The Board shall reach a Board Decision as to the Advice as soon as possible.

   8.11. Opinion Publication.

 The Board may adopt, modify, or reverse any Advice. Once a Board Decision has been reached under Regulation 4.5.1, the Board Decision shall constitute the Opinion of the Board. Staff shall promptly serve the Opinion of the Board upon the inquiring Judicial Officer. Publication by the Board of any Opinion shall occur only after the period for Board Reconsideration has expired.

   8.12. Dissenting Members.

 Any Member of the Panel or Board shall retain the right to dissent from the majority decision of either a Panel or the Board. A Member may, but is not required to, express an opposing view in writing. Any written dissent shall be part of the issued Advice or Opinion. A dissent shall not identify the Member-author by name.

   8.13. Reconsideration.

 8.13.1. Under Pa.R.J.E.A.B. Rule 207, an inquiring Judicial Officer may submit a written request for reconsideration within twenty days of the Board’s Opinion adopting, modifying, or reversing an Advice. The inquiring Judicial Officer shall present a detailed explanation setting forth the reason(s) why the Board should reconsider the Opinion.

 8.13.2. If the Board declines to issue an Opinion, the inquiring Judicial Officer may seek reconsideration of the inaction within 20 days of Service of notice of the Board’s inaction.

 8.13.3. A Request for reconsideration must be in writing and must be received by Staff before 5:00 p.m. (EST) on the twentieth day following Service of an Opinion or Notice of Inaction. The twenty-day period shall be calculated from the date of Service upon the inquiring Judicial Officer and shall be so computed as to exclude the first and include the last day of such period. Whenever the last day of any such period shall fall on Saturday or Sunday, or on any day made a legal holiday by the laws of the Commonwealth or of the United States, such day shall be omitted from the computation.

 8.13.4. A request for reconsideration filed with the Board will delay the publication of an Opinion but will not affect the Rule of Reliance unless the Board grants reconsideration.

 8.13.5. If the Board grants reconsideration, the Board may take one or more of the following actions:

   (a)  Adopt the Advice as originally issued.

   (b)  Modify the issued Opinion.

   (c)  Withdraw the Opinion and take no further action; or

   (d)  Other action as the Board deems appropriate.

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