Proposed Amendments to Canon 3B, Code of Judicial Conduct
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B. Adjudicative Responsibilities
(9) A judge shall not, while a proceeding is pending or impending in any court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its fairness or make any nonpublic comment that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing. The judge shall require* similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control. This Section 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. This Section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in a personal capacity.
(10) A judge shall not, with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial* performance of the adjudicative duties of the office.
 Section 3B(9) and (10) restrictions on judicial speech are essential to the maintenance of the integrity, impartiality*, and independence of the judiciary. See also limitations imposed under
Section 5A(3)(d). A pending proceeding is one that has begun but not yet reached final disposition. An impending proceeding is one that is anticipated but not yet begun. The requirement that judges
abstain from public comment regarding a pending or impending proceedings continues during any appellate process and until final disposition.
This Section does Section
3B(9) and (10) do not prohibit a judge from commenting on proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in a personal
capacity, but in cases such as a writ of mandamus where the judge is a litigant in an official capacity, the judge must not comment publicly. The conduct of lawyers relating to trial publicity is governed
by Rule 3.6 of the North Dakota Code Rules of Professional Conduct.
(10)(11) A judge shall not commend or criticize jurors for their verdict other than in a court order or opinion in a proceeding, but may express appreciation to jurors for their service to the judicial system and the community.
 Commending or criticizing jurors for their verdict may imply a judicial expectation in future cases and may impair a juror's ability to be fair and impartial in a subsequent case.
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