RESPONSE TO NEWS MEDIA INQUIRIES

Opinion No. 95 (1987)*


QUESTION: May a justice of the peace respond to news media inquiries concerning inquest proceedings prior to a final ruling on the death certificate?

ANSWER: Canon 3A(8) states, "A judge shall abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court...." Canon 3A(8) does permit a judge to explain court procedure. The Committee is of the opinion that a news media inquiry about the court's procedure may be answered. However, the committee is of the opinion that it would be unethical to discuss the facts or other aspects of the case with the news media during the investigation, or while the matter is pending in his court or any other court.

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*Canon 3A(8) was amended effective December 19, 1989.