Subordinate Judicial Officers – Statistics
Since June of 1998, the commission has shared authority with the superior courts for the discipline of subordinate judicial officers (SJO’s), attorneys employed by California’s state courts to serve as court commissioners and referees. In 2016, there were 251 authorized subordinate judicial officer positions in California.
Complaints Received and Investigated
In 2016, the commission reviewed 96 new complaints about subordinate judicial officers. Because the superior courts were required to conduct the initial investigations, the commission’s function primarily entailed reviewing the local courts’ actions to determine whether there was any basis for further investigation or action by the commission.
In 2016, the commission commenced two staff inquiries and four preliminary investigations.
In 2016, the commission concluded its review of 95 complaints involving subordinate judicial officers. The commission closed 90 of these matters after initial review because it determined that the superior courts’ handling and disposition of the complaints were adequate and that no further proceedings were warranted. Following investigation, the commission imposed one private admonishment, issued one advisory letter, closed two of the cases without discipline, and closed one case after formal proceedings were instituted when the commissioner resigned with the agreement not to serve or seek to serve in a judicial capacity (Inquiry Concerning Commissioner Taylor Culver, No. 199). At the end of the year, three matters remained pending before the commission.