Misconduct by a judge is largely defined by the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, also known as Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:09. Judicial misconduct under this Code can include (but is not limited to) a judge creating an appearance of bias, treating a party discourteously, failing to give all interested parties a full opportunity to make their arguments, or failing to make a decision in a prompt, efficient, and fair manner.
The CJC also has jurisdiction to investigate allegations that a judge has a physical or mental disability which affects the judge's performance.
If you believe that a judge has a disability affecting his or her performance or has violated one or more of the Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, it is appropriate to file a complaint with the CJC. Please describe as specifically as possible what the judge did or said that causes you to believe he or she has a disability or has committed misconduct.
If someone wishes to file a complaint but fears reprisal or simply wishes to keep his or her name out of the complaint, the CJC's rules permit a complaint to be filed anonymously.
Please note that a judge is not required to recuse himself or herself from a particular matter merely because a party involved in that matter has filed a complaint with the CJC.
Before filing a complaint against a judge, it may be helpful to review the Code of Judicial Conduct, examples of past complaints dismissed by the CJC or in which the judge was disciplined, and the CJC's Annual Reports:
- Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:09: Code of Judicial Conduct
Standards of ethical conduct for judges
- Case Summaries
Examples of past complaints that have come before the CJC for consideration
- Annual Reports
Annual Reports of CJC activity including the statistics on the number of complaints filed, the subject matter of complaints, and the disposition of complaints