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October 17, 2014

Statement of Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor William P. Fedullo

William P. Fedullo, Chancellor of the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association, today issued the following statement regarding emails involving sexually explicit material sent by or to Justice Seamus P. McCaffery:

"Conduct of this nature, at a minimum, causes the appearance of impropriety and potentially questions Justice McCaffery's impartiality having to do with any number of cases," Fedullo said.

"According to Canon 3, Rule 3.1 of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct, 'Judges shall regulate their extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with their judicial duties and to comply with all provisions of the Canon. However, a judge shall not participate in activities that would reasonably appear to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality,'" the Chancellor said.

"We urge that a special master or special counsel be appointed as soon as possible to assist the Court and undertake a full and fair investigation of this matter. In addition, the issue should be referred to the Judicial Conduct Board for immediate review. Certainly, Justice McCaffery is entitled to due process. But the Court, in the meantime, should consider whether the interests of justice require it to take action immediately to prevent any further erosion of public confidence in the judiciary so that this matter can be put behind us and the Court can move on with its work of dispensing justice," Fedullo added.
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