The Commission on Judicial Performance has recently adopted a new interim rule 121(f).
The Commission on Judicial Performance has issued its biannual invitation for proposed rules changes.


Legal Authority

  • 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, 2023, the commission adopted the gift limitation amount of $530 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

At its meeting on February 1, 2024, pursuant to commission policy declaration 3.5(3), the commission adopted rule 121(f) on an interim basis.  Interim rule 121(f) provides:

(Remote testimony during hearing) Prior to the commencement of the hearing, the respondent judge or the examiner may request that a witness whom the party intends to call be allowed to testify at the hearing via remote video technology.  The commission, if the hearing is before itself, or the special masters, after considering any objection by the other party, may, upon good cause shown, permit the testimony of the witness to be taken via remote video technology, provided that the place of the hearing can reasonably accommodate the request; that all parties can simultaneously see and hear the witness; that the witness is in a private, enclosed space with no one else present during their testimony; and that the witness has immediate access to exhibits or other records that might be used during the examination of the witness.  If these conditions are not met during the remote testimony, the commission or the special masters may require the witness to appear in person at a hearing and may strike the witness’s remote testimony if the witness does not appear in person.

In a hearing regarding a disability application, remote testimony may be taken only by stipulation of the parties.

Before rule 121(f) 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

On February 23, 2023, the commission adopted the gift limitation amount of $530 for purposes of CCP section 170.9.