Are Judicial Rules Strict Enough on Ex Parte Contact?

March 13, 2015 – In The News
The Legal Intelligencer

Abe Reich was quoted in The Legal Intelligencer article “Are Judicial Rules Strict Enough on Ex Parte Contact?” Full text can be found in the March 13, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

In the wake of the state's Judicial Conduct Board filing charges against three Philadelphia Municipal Court judges over their alleged roles in case-fixing, some are divided on whether the problem of ex parte contact between judges is frequent enough to merit tougher ethics rules.

Municipal Court Judges Dawn Segal and Joseph J. O'Neill and former Judge Joseph Waters were charged for their alleged roles in fixing cases for campaign donors of Waters.

Abraham C. Reich said the Code of Judicial Conduct does a good job of covering the issue of what judges can and cannot say to each other and litigants outside of the courtroom.

This was evidenced, according to Reich, by the relatively few instances of judges attempting to influence one another in Philadelphia's courts.

"The fact of the matter is, I don't think it happens that often. Like any other system, people violate it sometimes," Reich said, adding with regard to the rules, "In this arena, I don't think there's ambiguity."