D. Interviewing judges
Judges are required to abstain from making public comments regarding a pending or impending proceeding. But, the Code of Judicial Conduct does not generally prohibit a judge from making a public statement in the course of her official duties “or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court.” Idaho Code of Jud. Conduct, Canon 3(B)(9). Additionally, a judge may comment on proceedings in which she is a litigant in a personal capacity but may not comment if she is a litigant in an official capacity, such as in a mandamus action. Id. Commentary.
The Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct states “a judge should abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in any court….” Pa. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3A(6). This subsection does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining, for public information, the procedures of the court. Id.
In Commonwealth v. Druce, 848 A.2d 104 (Pa. 2004), the court held that a judge’s statements to the media concerning a defendant’ sentencing violated Pa. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 3A(6), but did not per se require him to recuse himself from the case. While recognizing the Code “does not have the force of substantive law,” the court emphasized its approval of the Code’s standards of conduct and found a Code of Judicial Conduct violation. Id. at 109. The court also stated it “d[id] not approve of members of the judiciary speaking to the press about cases pending before them . . . .” Id.