Rule 2. Impropriety and Appearance of Impropriety to be Avoided; Voluntary Appearance as Character Witness Prohibited.
A. Magisterial district judges shall respect and comply with the law and shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Magisterial district judges shall not allow their family, social or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. They shall not lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interest of others, nor shall they convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
B. Magisterial district judges shall not testify voluntarily as character witnesses.
This rule is derived from Canon 2, American Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct, and Pa. R.J.A. No. 1701. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by members of the judiciary. Magisterial district judges must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. They must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. They must therefore accept restrictions on their conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.
The testimony of magisterial district judges as character witnesses injects the prestige of their office into the proceeding in which they testify and may be misunderstood to be an official testimonial. Rule 2B, however, does not afford them a privilege against testifying as character witnesses in response to a subpoena the issuance of which has been specifically allowed by the Supreme Court under Pa. R.J.A. No. 1701.
The provisions of this Rule 2 amended February 1, 1973, 3 Pa.B. 275.
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