When judges blog

Several judicial ethics committees have advised that a judge may maintain a blog but added caveats about being cautious and not violating the code of judicial conduct provisions relevant to communications by judges.  (Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary defines a “blog” as “a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences.”)  The Arizona committee, for example, stated that a judge must ensure that no statements on her blog will negatively affect judicial proceedings, be perceived as prejudiced or biased, or necessitate frequent disqualification.  Arizona Advisory Opinion 2014-1See also New York Advisory Opinion 2010-138 (a judge may maintain an internet blog that comments on current events).

The Florida advisory committee stated that a judge could publish a blog that would alert readers to state appellate decisions as they were released because the judge did not plan to editorialize, criticize, or otherwise evaluate the opinions but only to briefly describe them.  Florida Advisory Opinion 2012-7.  Noting it had frequently approved judges’ speaking, writing, or teaching, the committee stated it would not make a distinction based on the technology used but warned the judge to exercise caution.  Acknowledging it was “not practicable to list all the provisions of the Code that could apply” and reminding the judge to expect “constant public scrutiny,” the committee directed the judge to “carefully examine all provisions of the Code that relate to the blog and its topics, to insure that the judge is not publishing on the blog something the judge could not ethically say in person.”  Finally, noting “that an interactive blog may invite inappropriate comment by the judge,” the committee suggested that the judge consider adding a disclaimer “that clarifies the judge does not endorse or vouch for the comments of others . . ., and that such comments do not represent the views of the judge.”

The Washington advisory committee stated that a judge may have a blog promoting “a more fair, just and benevolent society” and could respond to comments made by others on the essay the judge planned to post on the site.  Washington Advisory Opinion 2009-5.  The committee suggested that the judge should include a disclaimer that the opinions “are only those of the author and should not be imputed to other judges” and should describe the constraints on judges, such as the prohibitions on commenting on pending cases and discussing cases with persons appearing before the judge’s court.  The committee also advised the judge to consider:

  • “[T]he impression that may be conveyed when responding to comments that are posted on the blog;”
  • “[H]ow to tailor those comments to avoid any impression that the judicial officer’s impartiality might be called into question;” and
  • “[W]hether readers might perceive that the judge’s impartiality is impaired by the volume and content of the comments received.”

The committee recommended that the judge, if possible, review any comments from others before they are published on the blog or “regularly monitor the responses to make sure that the thread of the discussion does not change” into something that is prohibited.

The Connecticut advisory committee stated that a judge may be listed, including her judicial position, as an expert on a non-profit, non-partisan organization’s electronic “answer board” established to provide journalists with information on legal and constitutional.  Connecticut Advisory Opinion 2011-14.  However, the committee cautioned, the judge’s answers must be factual and instructive without expressing her opinion, indicating a predisposition with respect to particular cases, or providing legal advice.  The committee directed the judge to:

  • Monitor the web-site to ensure that it does not link to commercial or advocacy groups;
  • Stay abreast of new features on the site; and
  • Retain the right to review and pre-approve the use of biographical information.

See also Utah Informal Advisory Opinion 2012-1 (a judge may follow a blog on legal or political issues that is also followed by lawyers or politicians and need not continually monitor the contents and comments to prevent association with material that might reflect poorly on the judiciary); U.S. Advisory Opinion 112 (2014) (before commenting on a blog, a judge should analyze the post, comment, or blog to take into account the canons that prohibit judges from endorsing political views, demeaning the prestige of the office, commenting on issues that may arise before the court, or sending the impression that another has unique access to the court).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance admonished a judge for abuse of the contempt power. In the Matter Concerning Wagoner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 13, 2011).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a judge for (1) obtaining and consuming marijuana at least once a week from March to May 2010; (2) showing up at the house of his sister-in-law’s estranged husband, identifying himself as a magistrate judge, and kicking in doors to gain access to 2 bedrooms; (3) in the courthouse, pointing a firearm at himself and stating to another magistrate judge, “I am not scared. Are you all scared?”; (4) while on a local cable television talk show, making derogatory remarks about the Chief Magistrate Judge and calling him “spineless;” disclosing that he had filed a complaint with the Commission against the Chief Magistrate Judge; and exposing the identity of a confidential informant and displaying the informant’s photograph; (5) making a phone call to the talk show while the sheriff was being interviewed and, after initially trying to disguise his voice with foreign accents, telling the sheriff that he had “crapped himself’ and that the sheriff was a “spineless jelly spine;” and (6) refusing to work certain hours that had been specifically assigned to him by the Chief Magistrate Judge.  Inquiry Concerning Peters, 715 S.E.2d 56 (Georgia 2011).
  • Based on agreed findings of facts, the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, reprimanded her, and fined her $500 for executing a felony arrest warrant for a man based on an affidavit submitted by his ex-wife while she was serving as the ex-wife’s attorney. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bustin, 71 So. 3d 598 (Mississippi 2011).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for discussing a citation with the game warden who had issued it and unilaterally dismissing the case based on ex parte communications with the defendant and the fear of a potential lawsuit. Public Admonition of Cox (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2011).

 

Disqualification misconceptions

Recent judicial discipline cases reveal several misconceptions that some judges may have about when they are obligated to disqualify themselves from cases or to at least disclose a disqualifying interest or relationship.

Misconception #1

That a judge’s subjective opinion that he can be fair and impartial determines whether disqualification is necessary.  In re Drazewski, Order (Illinois Courts Commission March 11, 2016) (judge presided over cases in which the husband of the judge with whom he was having an affair represented a party without disclosing the relationship).  See also Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868 (2009) (“In lieu of exclusive reliance on that personal inquiry, or on appellate review of the judge’s determination respecting actual bias, the Due Process Clause has been implemented by objective standards that do not require proof of actual bias”).

Misconception #2

That disqualification does not apply if the judge foresees no problems in the case.  In the Matter of Isaac, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary August 8, 2016) (judge failed to disqualify herself from the probate of her father’s estate, stating she would if an issue arose about who was an heir); In re Badeaux, 65 So.3d 1273 (Louisiana 2011) (judge failed to immediately self-recuse from a divorce case despite his long-standing, friendship with both parties because he viewed the matter as amicable).

Misconception #3

That a judge is not disqualified from cases in which a family member represents a party if he will not have to make findings regarding contested facts.  Re Grimes (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct January 11, 2016) (judge disposed of numerous cases in which his wife represented criminal and juvenile defendants).

Misconception #4

That disqualification does not apply if a jury will decide the matter.  In the Matter of Underwood (South Carolina Supreme Court September 14, 2016) (magistrate heard matters involving the sheriff’s department even though her husband was the elected sheriff).

Misconception #5

That the absence of an objection following disclosure of a disqualifying relationship constitutes a waiver even if the parties do not have an opportunity to consider waiver outside the judge’s presence and do not affirmatively agree to waive disqualification on the record.  In the Matter of Underwood (South Carolina Supreme Court September 14, 2016) (magistrate heard matters involving the sheriff’s department even though her husband was the elected sheriff).

Misconception #6

That the end of a relationship immediately eliminates the need for disqualification or disclosure.  In the Matter of Howes, 880 N.W.2d 184 (Iowa 2016) (judge signed an ex parte order presented by an attorney who had recently represented her in a personal matter without charge).

Misconception #7

That a judge can rely on the rule of necessity without affirmatively determining that a matter is urgent and no other judge is available.  In the Matter of Howes, 880 N.W.2d 184 (Iowa 2016) (judge signed an ex parte order presented by an attorney who had recently represented her in a personal matter without charge).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Approving a recommendation based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, reprimanded him, and fined him $5,000 for (1) entering and sitting in the public defender’s office in the county courthouse in his robe during breaks in trials; (2) requiring a defendant to attend church as a condition of probation; (3) being late to hearings and trials; (4) putting a young mother in a holding cell for most of the day because she could not recall her address; (5) at a meeting with Department of Children and Families personnel, offering milk rather than coffee to 1 woman because, he said, she was so young; (6) in some dependency cases, asking the parent if they were using drugs and if the parent said “no,” ordering a drug test on the spot and holding the person in contempt and having them immediately jailed if the test came back positive; (7) going hunting with an attorney; (8) asking an attorney to get him an invitation to a Christmas party and attending the party; (9) telling the attorney to throw him a party when he was leaving the county; (10) calling an attorney up to the bench and stating, to the effect, “You heard they’re giving me a party. We need people to donate money and you need to give $100,” and mentioning money to her a second time; (11) accepting a $150 gift certificate from the party contributors; (12) telling 2 defense attorneys at lunch to draft an order requiring the Department of Children and Families to directly pay them because he did not like the case DCF had brought; (13) telling an attorney in chambers that there was an objection he thought the attorney should have made, stating “I intend for DCF to prove their case;” and (14) asking an attorney, “Ms. Simpson, are you taking us to lunch today?”  Inquiry Concerning Albritton, 940 So. 2d 1083 (Florida 2006).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court censured a judge who had pled guilty to driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of Williams, 905 A.2d 866 (New Jersey 2006).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and arguments as to sanction, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge who had (1) lost his composure and angrily left the bench to confront a defendant; (2) released a criminal defendant despite a law requiring that the defendant be remanded because of his prior felony record; and (3) in a flippant comment to a police officer, suggested the use of physical violence towards a defendant. In the Matter of Carter, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 25, 2006).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct warned a judge for proceeding to trial in a criminal case in the absence of a prosecutor, finding the defendant guilty when no prima facie proof was presented by a prosecutor, failing to advise the defendant of her constitutional rights, and failing to reduce the judgment of conviction to writing. Public Warning of Santoya and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 2006).

 

Law clerks’ and future employers

Because judicial clerkships are generally short-term opportunities with the end date known before the clerkship starts, clerks usually look for and accept other employment before the clerkship ends if they have not done so even before the clerkship starts.  That future employment presents judges and clerks with several ethical questions.  Canon 5 of the Texas Supreme Court Code of Conduct for Law Clerks and Staff Attorneys, for example, states that “[l]aw clerks and staff attorneys may seek and accept other employment to commence after the completion of their employment here,” but provides that they “may participate only in such recruiting activity as would not detract from the dignity of their position or lend itself to an appearance of impropriety.”

Bonuses

Law firms frequently give signing bonuses to all newly hired attorneys and sometimes give clerkship bonuses when the new hire is a judicial law clerk.  Canon 5E of the Delaware code of conduct for law clerks, however, prohibits a law clerk from accepting “any bonuses . . . until the end of the clerkship.”

Canon 5 of the Texas Supreme Court code of conduct for law clerks and staff attorneys provides that law clerks and staff attorneys may not accept an employment benefit from a prospective employer “after they report for work with the Court and until their employment with the Court is ended” even if the benefit is one that is “equally offered by a prospective employer to all prospective employees.”  Further, the rule provides:

In negotiating for other employment, the law clerk or staff attorney may not ask for or accept compensation or other employment benefit or the promise of compensation or other employment benefit that is not made equally available by the prospective employer to other prospective employees based on similar academic achievement and work experience whether obtained through government or private sector employment.

The amendment followed a controversy about whether a clerk’s acceptance of a signing bonus from a law firm violated the state’s penal code provision that a public servant commits a criminal offense if he or she “solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any matter before the public servant or tribunal.”

The advisory committee for federal judges stated that a law clerk may not, during his or her employment, accept any bonus given in anticipation of services to be provided for the clerk’s future employer.  U.S. Advisory Opinion 83 (2011).  The federal committee advised, however, that a prospective law clerk may accept a bonus before beginning the clerkship because the code of conduct for judicial employees applies only to “employees of the Judicial Branch,” not to prospective employees.  Noting that “some judges may prohibit their future or present law clerks from accepting bonuses that are permissible under this opinion,” the committee advised present or future law clerks to consult with their judges before accepting any bonuses.


Reimbursement

Reimbursement from a law firm of the expenses for traveling to and from an interview may be accepted under the Delaware code, although the clerk is required to “promptly inform the appointing judge” of such payments.  Delaware Advisory Opinion 2011-2.  The Texas code directs law clerks and staff attorneys to “limit reimbursement to those expenses reasonably related to the recruiting process” and to “restrict their recruiting travel to the home office or office of potential employment . . . .”.

Whether and when a law clerk may accept reimbursement for various other expenses from the law firm where the clerk will be working after the clerkship varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  For example, a clerk in Delaware may not accept a salary advance to assist with moving and living expenses from a law firm/future employer (Delaware Advisory Opinion 2011-2), but regulations specifically permit a federal judicial employee “who has obtained employment to commence after judicial employment ends” to accept “reimbursement of relocation . . . expenses customarily paid by the employer.”  U.S. Advisory Opinion 83 (2011).

Delaware allows a clerk to be reimbursed by a future employer for the expenses of taking a bar review course and the bar examination (Delaware Advisory Opinion 2011-2), and federal clerks may accept “bar-related expenses customarily paid by the employer.”  U.S. Advisory Opinion 83 (2011).  In Arizona, before a clerkship begins, a recent law school graduate who has accepted a law firm’s offer of employment to begin post-clerkship may accept reimbursement from the firm for expenses incurred in taking the bar examination (Arizona Advisory Opinion 2002-2), but an appellate court clerk’s mandatory bar dues may not be paid by a law firm.  Arizona Advisory Opinion 2000-3.


Disqualification

A judge has an obligation to keep informed about a law clerk’s job search, and a law clerk has an obligation to keep the judge informed.  The federal advisory committee, for example, stated, “the judge should take reasonable steps to require that law clerks keep the judge informed of their future employment plans and prospects.”  U.S. Advisory Opinion 74 (2009)Accord Arizona Advisory Opinion 2002-2; D.C. Advisory Opinion 1 (1991); New York Advisory Opinion 2015-14.

A judge is not disqualified from cases in which a law clerk’s future employer or prospective future employer represents a party, but, under most authority, the judge should exclude the law clerk from any participation in the firm’s cases.  For example, the Arizona advisory committee stated that, “[w]hile nothing prohibits a law clerk from accepting an offer of employment by a law firm to commence upon the completion of the clerkship, the acceptance creates a relationship requiring that the law clerk be screened from all cases involving her future employer.”  Arizona Advisory Opinion 2002-2But see Canon 5E, Delaware Code of Conduct for Law Clerks (a “law clerk is not disqualified per se from working on a case in which a prospective employer is involved,” but the clerk is required to promptly inform the judge if any lawyer, law firm, or entity with whom a law clerk is seeking or has obtained future employment appears in any matter pending before the appointing judge who will determine the extent of the law clerk’s involvement).

The exclusion of the law clerk from cases involving a potential future employer must start at least as soon as an offer of employment has been made.  For example, the advisory committee for federal judges stated that the obligation “arises whenever an offer of employment has been extended to the law clerk and either has been, or may be, accepted by the law clerk,” adding “the formalities are not crucial.”  U.S. Advisory Opinion 74 (2009).  The committee noted that, in appropriate circumstances, the judge may decide to disclose to the parties that the law clerk may have a prospective employment relation with counsel in a case and that the policy of excluding the clerk from involvement in the case is being followed.  According to the committee, the occasion for precautionary measures “does not arise merely because the law clerk has submitted an application for employment,” but the nature of the litigation or the likelihood that future employment may render it advisable for the judge to exclude the clerk at a preliminary stage of the employment discussion.

Adopting a stricter rule, the New York committee advised that a judge must internally insulate a clerk from all cases involving a prospective employer not only after the judge learns the prospective employer offered employment to the law clerk but also when the law clerk and prospective employer are actually discussing or negotiating a position and that the judge should consider doing so as soon as the interview.  New York Advisory Opinion 2015-14.  The judge may discontinue insulating the law clerk after learning that the clerk will not join the firm.  See also New York Advisory Opinion 2007-174; New York Joint Advisory Opinions 2007-87 and 2007-95.

Adopting an even stricter rule, an invitation to interview that the clerk has not declined was identified as the “precipitating event” for excluding a clerk by the D.C. advisory committee.  D.C. Advisory Opinion 1 (1991).  The D.C. committee explained, “Any incentive on the part of the law clerk to attempt to act favorably towards the prospective employer might reasonably be viewed as being at least as strong during active negotiations for employment as it would be after an offer has been made and accepted,” and, therefore, the clerk’s disqualification should begin with “an offer of an employment interview or an offer of employment, whichever comes first.”

Finally, at least 1 state suggests a judge should insulate a clerk from cases involving a law firm as soon as the clerk applies for a position with the firm.  In Connecticut Emergency Staff Advisory Opinion 2009-20, a judge was advised that he was not required to prohibit a court employee from applying for a position with a law firm that was in the midst of a trial before the judge or that had recently had a trial before the judge but that, “should the court employee apply for the position with the law firm, whether the firm is appearing presently before the court or not, the Judicial Official should not allow the employee to work on any cases involving that law firm and should ensure that the employee has no further dealings on the Judicial Official’s behalf with that firm for a reasonable period of time under the circumstances.”

The D.C. advisory committee created an exception to the requirement of isolation when a law clerk’s prospective employer is a high-volume litigator in the judge’s jurisdiction such as the U.S. attorney for D.C., the city corporation counsel, or the public defender service.  D.C. Advisory Opinion 1 (1991).  Noting that those offices “cumulatively account for a very substantial percentage of the litigation” before the D.C. courts and that each superior court judge has only 1 law clerk, the committee concluded that “[u]nder these circumstances, the disqualification of a law clerk from so great a part of a judicial officer’s caseload would be extremely burdensome,” and advised that a law clerk may, in the judge’s discretion, continue to work on cases in which those offices appear even after an offer of employment has been proffered.  However, the committee emphasized, in those cases, the judge must “closely supervise[ ] the clerk and scrutinize[ ] the clerk’s work product to ensure that no conscious or unconscious bias on the part of the clerk has affected or may impair the impartiality of the court.”

In contrast, the federal advisory committee required isolation of a law clerk even when the prospective employer is the U.S. attorneys’ office.  U.S. Advisory Opinion 81 (2009).  The committee recognized that the U.S. attorney’s office is not a law firm and a law clerk would have no financial interest in cases handled by that office, but concluded that there would be an appearance of impropriety unless the judge isolated the clerk from cases involving the particular U.S. attorney’s office that will employ the clerk after the clerkship.

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • In attorney discipline proceedings, the Florida Supreme Court reprimanded a former judge for his disruptive, scandalous, improper, and contemptuous attitude and actions during the Judicial Qualifications Commission proceedings that led to his removal. Florida Bar v. Graham, 679 So. 2d 1181 (Florida 1996).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court reprimanded a part-time judge and fined him $4,933 for failing to resign as a judge after qualifying to run for the board of supervisors. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Haltom, 681 So. 2d 1332 (Mississippi 1996).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Commission censured a judge who had failed to remit court funds to the state comptroller on a timely basis. In the Matter of Erway, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 17, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge who had failed to remit court funds promptly to the state comptroller and failed to cooperate in the Commission’s investigation. In the Matter of Carney, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 19, 1996).

Recent cases

  • Based on an agreement between the judge and the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for beginning a Facebook relationship with a woman whom he had met in his official capacity and exchanging sexually explicit messages and photos with her, often during office hours and from the offices of the probate court. In the Matter of Archer, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary August 8, 2016).
  • Based on an agreement between the judge and the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary ordered a judge to retire immediately and never serve in judicial office again for failing to disqualify herself from a case involving the probate of her father’s estate in which she and her siblings were heirs and related misconduct. In the Matter of Isaac, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary August 8, 2016).
  • Accepting the recommendation and findings of the Commission on Judicial Conduct based on the judge’s admission of culpability, the Alaska Supreme Court censured a judge for 5 statements he made in the courtroom. In the Matter Involving Dooley, Order for censure (Alaska Supreme Court August 12, 2016).
  • Based on a conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court reprimanded a judge who had been convicted of “operating while intoxicated endangering a person,” had asked a police officer to “just take [him] home and forget about the drinking and driving,” and had told the officer that he was a senior judge for the Court of Appeals. In the Matter of Garrard (Indiana Supreme Court August 3, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for (1) during a sentencing hearing, criticizing the victims for writing in their victims’ impact statement that their 3-year-old daughter expressed fear of black men following the defendant’s invasion of their home and, in Facebook posts while the defendant’s probation was still pending, making several comments about the victims’ impact statement and on his decision to grant probation; (2) publishing on Facebook comments that accused the county commonwealth attorney of advocating for all-white jury panels, comments that criticized the public defender and criminal defense attorneys in general for not publicly supporting him in his dispute with the commonwealth attorney, and comments regarding a motion to certify the law while the case was pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court, and making similar comments in a presentation to the Louisville Bar Association; and (3) publicly criticizing a court of appeals decision. In re Stevens, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission August 8, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline reprimanded a judge for (1) informing another judge that he would not abide by an agreement for her to become chief judge, based in part on his belief that the mayor wanted him to continue as chief judge; (2) taking positions or making decisions regarding the administration of the court based on his perception of what the mayor or city administration wanted, not on the best interests of the court (or allowing it to appear that he had done so); (3) failing to cooperate with the other judge on his court regarding administrative matters and refusing to meet or speak with her or respond to her correspondence; and (4) failing to bring the other judge’s treatment of court staff, her treatment of city deputy attorneys, and her improper dismissal of valid warrants to the Commission’s attention. In the Matter of Hoeffgen, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a judge for 3 months without pay and ordered that she not seek re-election in 2017 to the municipal court seat that she currently holds for (1) her treatment of court staff, which created an atmosphere of fear and apprehensive; (2) her handling of cases, including amending or dismissing charges sua sponte; and (3) hostile, combative, arbitrary, unreasonable, and demeaning behavior toward deputy city attorneys. In the Matter of Ramsey, Stipulation and consent to discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline reprimanded a judge for discussing his son’s criminal case with another judge. In the Matter of Kalleres, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline reprimanded a former hearing master for unprofessional conduct in a hearing about a bench warrant, including telling the deputy district attorney that an appeal would make him look like an “idiot” and a “baby” and be “pathetic,” “dumb,” “silly,” and a waste of court resources. In the Matter of Beller, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on factual stipulations, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline censured a former judge who pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension or prosecution by providing false statements to law enforcement. In re Shaner, Opinion (June 14, 2016), Order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 16, 2016).