As part of the commission’s 2022 rules review, the commission has determined to seek public comment on amendments to rules rules 102 (Confidentiality and Disclosure), 110 (Staff Inquiry; Advisory Letter after Staff Inquiry), 111 through 116 (selected rules regarding the procedures to contest an Advisory Letter), 119.5 (Filing with the Commission During Formal Proceedings), and 126 (Procedural Rights of Judge in Formal Proceedings). The public comment period ended September 13, 2022.
Copies of comments submitted during the public comment period are available to the public upon request. Responses to comments may be submitted until October 13, 2022.
See policy declaration 3.5 for the commission’s rules review procedures.
- 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 honoraria, and limits on gifts, as set forth in Code of Civil Procedure section 170.9. On February 23, 2021, the commission adopted the gift limitation amount of $470 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
At its meeting on March 23, 2022, pursuant to commission policy declaration 3.5(3), the commission amended interim rule 102(s) (Disclosure to respondent in formal proceedings) on an interim basis. The interim amendments expand the interim rule to allow discovery of some items, to which a judicial officer may be entitled should an investigation proceed to formal proceedings, that might otherwise still remain confidential under the rule as currently written.
At its meeting on February 2, 2022, pursuant to commission policy declaration 3.5(3), the commission amended rule 119.5 (Filing with the Commission During Formal Proceedings) on an interim basis. The interim amendment eliminates the requirement that the original of documents filed electronically in formal proceedings must be delivered to the commission office by mail or hand delivery within five calendar days of the electronic filing. The amendment also eliminates facsimile, hand delivery, and mail filings in formal proceedings.
At its meeting on March 24, 2021, pursuant to commission policy declaration 3.5(3), the commission adopted rule 102(s) on an interim basis. Interim rule 102(s) provides:
(Disclosure to respondent in formal proceedings) In compliance with discovery obligations in formal proceedings, the commission may provide to a judicial officer who is the respondent in formal proceedings pursuant to rule 118 et seq., or the judicial officer’s counsel, the written or oral statements of another judicial officer made or obtained during a staff inquiry or preliminary investigation of that judicial officer. To the extent possible, steps will be taken to protect the confidentiality of the judge who provided the relevant information (e.g., by redacting or sealing documents).
Before any interim rule is enacted, amended, or repealed on a permanent basis, the commission will circulate the rule for public comment, pursuant to the provisions of policy declaration 3.5(3).
Code of Civil Procedure & Government Code
On February 23, 2021, the commission adopted the gift limitation amount of $470 for purposes of CCP section 170.9.