Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct Report of Activities for First and Second Quarter of 2016
BOSTON, MA (July 27, 2016) – On July 27, 2016, the Commission on Judicial Conduct’s Executive Director, Howard V. Neff, III, published this interim report of Commission activities, covering the Commission’s activities for the first two quarters of calendar year 2016, from January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016. During that period, 152 complaints were filed with the Commission, and out of those complaints, twenty-nine were docketed for investigation or preliminary inquiry, as they alleged conduct that, if true, would constitute judicial misconduct. Of the 152 complaints filed with the Commission, 79 were filed electronically using the Commission’s online complaint form.
During the first two quarters, the Commission held five meetings and considered thirty-seven complaints that had been docketed in 2016 and in previous years.
Of those thirty-seven complaints, thirty-four were dismissed by the Commission after investigation or preliminary inquiry. In two of those dismissed complaints, the Commission found that the evidence did not rise to the level of judicial misconduct but expressed its concern to the judge that he or she should avoid the same or similar conduct in the future.
One of the thirty-seven complaints before by the Commission in the first two quarters was still being considered as of June 30, 2016.
Two of the complaints before the Commission in the first two quarters were resolved through a confidential Agreed Dispositions. During the first two quarters of 2016, the Commission monitored the conduct of the judges who were the subject of those Agreed Dispositions. The Commission successfully closed one of those complaints in the first two quarters of 2016.
Pursuant to the Commission’s statute and rules, an Agreed Disposition may take the form of an Informal Adjustment in which the Commission informs or admonishes the judge that certain conduct is or may be cause for discipline, or an Agreed Disposition may take the form of a reprimand. This form of disposition requires agreement by the judge. In most cases, this type of disposition has a valuable, favorable effect on a judge’s conduct. The terms of such a disposition usually include a period of monitoring by the Commission and conditions imposed on the judge that are designed to prevent a repetition of the misconduct. The conditions may include counseling, education, assignment of a mentor judge, monitoring by the Commission for a specified period of time, voluntary retirement, or other appropriate conditions.
The Commission’s statute, rules, and a copy of the Commission’s 2015 Annual Report are available on the Commission’s website: www.mass.gov/cjc.