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SQUIRES AND CONSTABLES ASSOCIATION PENNSYLVANIA (03/25/71)

decided: March 25, 1971.

SQUIRES AND CONSTABLES ASSOCIATION OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., ALLEGHENY COUNTY CHAPTER ET AL., PETITIONERS


Petition for assertion of original jurisdiction seeking review and clarification of Pennsylvania Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Procedures for Justices of the Peace, No. 3283, Miscellaneous Docket No. 16, in case of Squires and Constables Association of Pennsylvania, Inc. et al.

COUNSEL

Andrew N. Farley, with him Eric P. Reif, Gerald C. Paris, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for petitioners.

Thomas D. Caldwell, Jr., for respondents.

Marvin Comisky, with him Blank, Rome, Klaus & Comisky, for intervening respondent.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Roberts concur in the result. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy.

Author: Bell

[ 442 Pa. Page 503]

On January 6, 1969, our Court appointed the Minor Court Civil Procedural Rules Committee, pursuant to Article V, Sec. 10(a) and 10(c) of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, adopted in 1968, effective (with some nonrelevant exceptions) January 1, 1969. The Committee drafted and duly recommended to this Court the Pennsylvania Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Justices of the Peace, which we adopted.*fn1

[ 442 Pa. Page 504]

The Squires and Constables Association of Pennsylvania, Inc., Allegheny County Chapter, represents the interest of the various justices of the peace, magistrates, aldermen, constables and deputy constables within Allegheny County and is affiliated with other similar Chapters throughout Pennsylvania.

The individual petitioners were all members of the Minor Judiciary System (a) who were elected to a term of office prior to the General Election on November 4, 1969, and prior to the effective date of the Rules of Conduct, and (b) were duly commissioned by the Governor of Pennsylvania pursuant to his authority under Article V, Section 11, as amended, November 2, 1909, of the old Constitution of Pennsylvania of 1874. Petitioners did not choose to stand for re-election in the General Election conducted November 4, 1969, and as authorized by the Constitution of 1968 are therefore "holdover" justices of the peace or aldermen who were elected and commissioned under the old Constitution of 1874.

On May 29, 1970, this Court denied the Petition for Assertion of Original Jurisdiction for Review and Clarification of the Pennsylvania Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Procedure for Justices of the Peace. On July 2, 1970, upon reconsideration of this matter, we granted Petitioners' Petition for Re-Hearing of Its Original Petition, and the Chairman of the Minor Court Civil Procedural Rules Committee was directed to act as Respondent therein. Oral argument was granted and heard on this matter during the 1970 Fall Session of the Court in Pittsburgh. Petitioners raise several important Constitutional questions (1) respecting their status as "holdover" justices of the peace under our

[ 442 Pa. Page 505]

    new Constitution of 1968, and (2) their broad rights under the 1874 Constitution which were not and could not be changed, and (3) the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Justices of the Peace (hereinafter "Rules"), especially Rules 1 through 7.*fn2 Before we discuss these issues, it is important to first examine the pertinent provisions of Article V of the 1968 Constitution and, secondly, examine the Rules and the far-reaching changes pertaining to our Minor Judiciary which were adopted as authorized thereunder.

We begin with examining Section 8 of the Schedule to Judiciary Article (V) of our new Constitution. Section 8 provides: "Justices, Judges and Justices of the Peace

"Section 8. Notwithstanding any provision in the article, a present justice, judge or justice of the peace may complete his term of office."

Article V, Section 1, of the Constitution specifically provides: "The judicial power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a unified judicial system*fn3 consisting of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, courts of common pleas, community courts, municipal and traffic courts in the City of Philadelphia, such other courts as may be provided by law, and justices of the peace. All courts and justices of the peace and their jurisdiction shall be in this unified judicial system."

Article V, Section 10(a) provides that the judicial administration of the unified judicial system shall be vested in the Supreme Court which "shall exercise general supervisory and administrative authority ...


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