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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 96-282




[207 PA. CODE CHS. 101 AND 117]

Proposed Amendments to Judicial Conduct Board Rules of Procedure

[26 Pa.B. 862]

   The Judicial Conduct Board proposes to adopt amendments to Rule 2 and Rule 31 of the Rules of Procedure that govern practice before the Board. All communications in reference to the proposed amendments should be sent not later than April 15, 1996 to Vincent J. Quinn, Chief Counsel, Judicial Conduct Board, 225 Market Street, Suite 500, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

Annex A




Rule 2. Rules of Construction.

   (A)  As used in these rules, unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1)  Words in the singular number include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular.

   (2)  The word ''person'' shall include corporations, societies, associations, partnerships, and organizations.

   (3)  ''Shall'' is mandatory and ''may'' is permissive.

   (4)  ''Knowingly'' includes reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of a statement.

   (B)  These rules shall be construed to secure just and reliable determinations of probable cause in all matters considered by the Board.

   (C)  An error or defect of procedure shall not confer any substantive rights on any party.


Rule 31. Disposition of Complaint[; Continuances].

   (A)  Except as provided in paragraph (C), within 180 days of [a Board decision to proceed with the full investigation, the Board shall take one of the following actions:] the Board's receipt of the Judicial Officer's written response pursuant to Rule 30(B)(2)(c) or written response to any subsequent letter requesting information by the Board, the Board shall:

   (1)  dismiss the complaint upon a finding that there is no existing probable cause to file formal charges;

   (2)  dismiss the complaint with the issuance of a letter of counsel upon a determination that, even if the alleged conduct occurred, it was not conduct which requires that formal charges be filed, provided that the Judicial Officer:

   (a)  consents in writing;

   (b)  stipulates that the letter of counsel may be used during proceedings involving new complaints against the Judicial Officer; and

   (c)  agrees to and satisfies any conditions required by the Board; or

   (3)  [file] authorize the filing of formal charges with the Court of Judicial Discipline.

   (B)  If the Board dismisses a complaint following a full investigation, Chief Counsel shall promptly notify the Judicial Officer and the complainant.

   [(C)  Continuances

   The Board may continue a matter:

   (1)  upon a determination that further investigation is necessary; or

   (2)  upon notice that additional allegations have been received which may result in another full investigation.]

   (C)  Exceptions.

   (1)  The Board may continue a full investigation of a matter beyond the 180-day period set forth in paragraph (A) upon a good faith belief that further investigation is necessary.

   (2)  The Board may defer disposition of a complaint pursuant to paragraph (A) upon discovery or receipt of additional, corollary, or cognate allegations which may necessitate an investigation.

   (3)  The receipt of the Judicial Officer's written response to any Rule 30(B) notice or supplemental or investigatory letter is a necessary prerequisite to the tolling and calculation of the 180-day period set forth in paragraph (A). Thus, the 180-day time period is wholly inapplicable if the Judicial Officer fails to file a written response and the investigation will continue to conclusion.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 96-282. Filed for public inspection March 1, 1996, 9:00 a.m.]

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