The Commission on Judicial Performance, established in 1960, is the
independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial
misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges, pursuant to
article VI, section 18 of the California Constitution.
The Commission's mandate is to protect the public, enforce rigorous standards
of judicial conduct and maintain public confidence in the integrity and
independence of the judicial system. While the majority of California's judges
are committed to maintaining the high standards expected of the judiciary, an
effective method of disciplining judges who engage in misconduct is essential to
the functioning of our judicial system. Commission proceedings provide a fair
and appropriate mechanism to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.
The Commission's jurisdiction includes all judges of California's superior courts
and the justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The Commission
also has jurisdiction over former judges for conduct prior to retirement or
resignation. Additionally, the Commission shares authority with the superior
courts for the oversight of court commissioners and referees. The
Director-Chief Counsel of the Commission is designated as the Supreme
Court's investigator for complaints involving the judges of the State Bar Court.
The Commission does not have authority over federal judges, judges pro tem
or private judges. In addition to its disciplinary function, the Commission is
responsible for handling judges' applications for disability retirement.
The Commission's authority is limited to investigating allegations of judicial
misconduct and, if warranted, imposing discipline. Judicial misconduct usually
involves conduct in conflict with the standards set forth in the Code of Judicial
Ethics. The Commission cannot change a decision made by any judicial officer;
this is a function of the state's appellate courts. After investigation, and in some
cases a public hearing, the Commission may impose sanctions ranging from
confidential discipline to removal from office.
Anyone may submit a complaint to the Commission. See How to File a
Complaint and The Complaint Process.
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California Commission on Judicial