Chief Justice to Attorney General: Release All Judges’ Emails

Ron Castille says Kathleen Kane should release the emails of all judges in Pennsylvania. An open letter is urging the same.


Ron Castille wants Kathleen Kane to release all judges’ emails to the public — whether they’re pornographic or not.

Castille, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s chief justice, says releasing all of the justices’ emails — as well as those of judges in county and appeals courts — will quell fears that judges have gotten too close to prosecutors. “I think the attorney general should release all of them,” Castille told the Inquirer.

Earlier this week, the heads of several groups wrote an open letter saying non-pornographic emails sent by justices were troubling, too. The frat-boy nature of the emails released to reporters might have showed prosecutors and judges were getting too chummy. Lawyers and judges may have engaged in improper ex parte communications.

“We believe that the integrity of both institutions requires a full disclosure of all emails that have been identified, and for any other emails sent or received by justices from attorneys who were representing prosecutor offices or other litigants before the court,” the letter read.

The open letter was signed by State Sen. Daylin Leach, ACLU of Pennsylvania head Reggie Shuford, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers president Jim Swetz and Lawrence Fox, the supervising attorney of the ethics bureau at Yale Law School.

Castille told AG Kathleen Kane she should release not only the emails of justices on the state Supreme Court, but the emails of the 450 county and appeals judges as well. Another group, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, wants the appointment of an independent master to go through the emails and issue a report on the 4,000 messages.

“The volume of emails between the Court and the [Office of the Attorney General] is very troubling, especially in light of recent events,” Lynn Marks, executive director of PMC, said in a statement. “But simply releasing the emails is not an effective way to determine whether misconduct occurred.”

Kane’s office has not made a decision yet on what to do with the emails.

[Inquirer | The Legal Intelligencer]