|CJP Biennial Rules Review
The Commission on Judicial Performance is in the process of conducting its biennial rules review. All rule proposals submitted to the commission by the deadline of September 30, 2016, are currently being reviewed by the commission. After review, any rule enactment, amendment, or repeal being considered by the commission will be circulated for public comment. Copies of rule proposals submitted to the commission are in the commission’s public rules file and will be provided to any member of the public upon request.
- California Constitution
The Commission on Judicial Performance was established by legislative constitutional amendment approved by the voters in November 1960. The commission’s authority is set forth in article VI, sections 8, 18, 18.1 and 18.5 of the California Constitution. In 1966, 1976, 1988, 1994, 1998 and most recently in 2002, the Constitution was amended to change various aspects of the commission’s work.
- Rules of the Commission on Judicial Performance
Article VI, section 18(i) of the Constitution authorizes the commission to make rules for conducting investigations and formal proceedings. The Rules of the Commission on Judicial Performance, rules 101 through 138, were adopted by the commission on October 24, 1996, and took effect December 1, 1996. The rules have been amended periodically thereafter.
- Policy Declarations of the Commission on Judicial Performance
The Policy Declarations of the Commission on Judicial Performance detail the commission’s internal procedures and existing policies. A Code of Ethics for Commission Members is set forth in Division VI of the policy declarations.
- Government Code
The commission is subject to Government Code sections 68701 through 68756. Additionally, the Government Code controls the commission’s handling of judges’ disability retirement applications, pursuant to sections 75060 through 75064 and sections 75560 through 75564.
- Code of Civil Procedure
The commission is responsible for enforcing the restrictions on judges’ receipt of gifts and honoraria as set forth in Code of Civil Procedure section 170.9. On January 28, 2015, the commission adopted the gift limitation amount of $410 for purposes of CCP section 170.9.
- Code of Judicial Ethics
The Code of Judicial Ethics, adopted by the California Supreme Court, establishes standards for ethical conduct for judges on and off the bench and for candidates for judicial office. All members of the judiciary must comply with the Code. As stated in the Preamble to the Code: “Compliance is required to preserve the integrity of the bench and to ensure the confidence of the public.”
- California Rules of Court
Rules 9.60, 9.61, 10.603, 10.703, and 10.1016 of the California Rules of Court pertain to the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Recent Changes In The Law
Commission Rules and Policy Declarations
The Commission on Judicial Performance is in the process of conducting its biennial rules review. All rule proposals submitted to the commission by the deadline of September 30, 2016, are currently being reviewed by the commission. See top of page for more information.
On December 1, 2015, the commission adopted policy declaration 3.14, due to amendments to Code of Civil Procedure section 2093 and Government Code section 1225.
On May 13, 2015, following public comment and response periods, the commission adopted amendments to rules 102(k) (Disclosure of information to the State Bar upon retirement or resignation) and 102(p) (Disclosure of information to regulatory agencies) and issued a public report.
Code of Judicial Ethics
In August 2015, the Supreme Court of California adopted several amendments to the canons, including amending the commentary to canon 3E(2), amending canons 4D(6) and 5B(3), and adding new canon 4D(7). The Court made several additional amendments to clarify and improve the code, including nonsubstantive formatting changes. See the Supreme Court’s August 25, 2015 press release and the above link to the code.
The Supreme Court of California adopted an amendment to canon 2C of the Code of Judicial Ethics on January 21, 2015, effective January 21, 2016. See the Supreme Court’s January 22, 2015 press release and the above link to the code.
Rules of Court
On April 17, 2015, the Judicial Council adopted nonsubstantive technical changes to rule 10.603, which involves the duties of presiding judges. A number of amendments were made to rule 10.703, relating to the presiding judge’s handling of complaints against subordinate judicial officers.
Code of Civil Procedure & Government Code
In 2015, the Legislature made significant amendments to Code of Civil Procedure section 2093 and Government Code section 1225, which permit former judges and justices to administer oaths and affirmations, so long as there was no formal proceeding against the judge pending before the Commission on Judicial Performance at the time of retirement or resignation. The changes affect judges and justices retired for disability, all retired judges and justices who were certified before January 1, 2016, and all judges and justices who apply for certification after December 31, 2015.
On January 28, 2015, the commission adopted a new gift limitation amount of $410, for purposes of CCP section 170.9.