Brief History of the Judicial Disciplinary Process in PA
The Creation of the Two-Tier System of
Judicial Discipline in Pennsylvania - The Judicial Conduct Board
The Judicial Conduct Board is composed of twelve members, of whom six are appointed by the Governor and six by the Supreme Court. The Constitution provides that the Supreme Court shall appoint one judge from either the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court, one magisterial district judge, one lawyer and three non-lawyer electors. The Governor's appointees include one judge from the courts of common pleas, two lawyers and three non-lawyer electors. No more than half of the members appointed by either authority may be registered in the same political party.
Powers and Duties
Article V, §18(a)(7) of the Constitution sets forth the general powers and duties of the Judicial Conduct Board. Among the primary responsibilities of the Board are:
Thus, the Board acts in a manner similar to a prosecutor in a criminal action.
- I. to receive and investigate complaints regarding judicial conduct filed by individuals or initiated by the Board,
- II. to determine whether probable cause exists to file formal charges against a judicial officer, and
- III. to present its case in support of the filed charges before the Court of Judicial Discipline.
All proceedings of the Judicial Conduct Board are confidential until the Board files formal charges with the Court of Judicial Discipline unless the judicial officer under investigation elects to waive confidentiality.1 All proceedings in the Court of Judicial Discipline are open to the public.
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More "General Information"
1Sometimes, despite the confidentiality of the proceedings, there is speculation in the media that a particular judicial officer is under investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board. In such cases the judicial officer may wish to waive confidentiality and confirm that an investigation is underway in order to publicly confront the speculative reports.
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