The Judicial Conduct Board Tuesday filed formal charges by Board Complaint in the court of Judicial Discipline against Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin alleging violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Pennsylvania Constitution.
The 52-page report posted by the Board said pornographic emails were sent and received by Eakin at a “John Smith” email address he accessed in part using Commonwealth-provided computer equipment giving the appearance of impropriety in violation of the Code of Conduct.
His conduct was so extreme, it brought the judicial office into disrepute.
Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, Justice Eakin, as the subject of the charges is presumed innocent in all proceedings before the Court of Judicial Discipline. The Board has the burden of proving the charges filed in the Court of Judicial Discipline by clear and convincing evidence.
In accordance with the rules which govern proceedings before the Court of Judicial Discipline, Justice Eakin has the right to respond to the charges, to obtain and inspect the evidence which forms the basis of the allegations, and to a public trial before the Court of Judicial Discipline.
Upon completion of the trial, if the court determines that the charges have been proven by clear and convincing evidence, it will schedule a Sanctions Hearing to determine what sanction should be imposed. Possible sanctions include reprimand, suspension or removal from office.
Justice Eakin responded to the charges in a short statement, "Consideration of the ramifications of my private emails by the Court of Judicial Discipline, as indicated in my previous offer to expedite such consideration, brings the opportunity for transparency of process, based on the actual facts and not speculation and mischaracterization."As such, I welcome it. I have cooperated with candor and openness, and will continue to do so as the Constitutional process goes forward."
A copy of the report is available online.
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