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Professional Conduct Rules

Rules of the Commission on Judicial Conduct

Professional Conduct Rules Commission on Judicial Conduct Rule 1: Definitions

Effective Date: 03/01/2015
Updates: Amended, effective October 1, 1999 Amended May 8, 2007, effective July 1, 2007


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Rule 1

In these rules, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

A. "Anonymous Complaint"

means a complaint, written or oral, received by the Commission, in which the identity of the complainant is not revealed.

B. "Chairman" and "Vice Chairman"

refer to members of the Commission elected as such by vote of the Commission. Whenever used in these rules, the word "Chairman" shall include, in the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman or other member acting as Chairman.

C. "Commission"

means the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

D. "Complainant"

"means a person or entity who has communicated to the Commission a complaint against a judge. The Commission may also, in its discretion, treat as a complainant, for purposes of notice and any other rights afforded to a complainant under these rules, a person or entity who has reported judicial conduct to a third party, although not directly to the Commission, provided that such person or entity is or was directly affected by the conduct.

E. "Complaint"

means any oral or written statement which alleges judicial misconduct or physical or mental disability of a judge.

F. "Conditions on the Judge's Conduct,"

for purposes of G.L. c. 211C, section 8(1)(c), shall include but not be limited to:








foreclosing eligibility for recall;


an agreed-upon press release to be issued, with no other public comment on the matter by either party;


requiring that a decision in a court case be issued by a certain date;


periodic status reports;


meeting with Commission members and/or staff;


writing an apology to a person or to the public;


requiring the judge to caution the judge's family members regarding misuse of their relationship to the judge;


agreeing never to mediate, hear or rule on any matters involving the attorneys who investigated and prosecuted the matter, or their firms;


insuring that official audio equipment is recording at all times during court proceedings;


holding conferences on the record;


otherwise requiring a judge to comply with the law, the Code of Judicial Conduct and other rules, regulations, orders and procedures.


If the Commission finds that a condition not specified herein would be appropriate, the Commission may file under seal a request with the Supreme Judicial Court to rule within fourteen days as to whether that condition is permissible in this category, without disclosing the identity of the judge.

(a) If the Court does not rule within fourteen days, the Commission may assume that the condition is permissible in this category.

G. "Executive Director"

means the Executive Director of the Commission or a member of the Commission's staff acting under the Executive Director's supervision.

H. "Judge"

means a judge or justice of any court of this Commonwealth.

I. "Notoriety"

means broad public knowledge.

J. "Reasonable Information"

means any information, including reports in the news media, which comes to the attention of the Commission and which contains credible allegations about a judge that, if true, would constitute misconduct or disability under Chapter 211C.

K. "Shall"

is mandatory; "may" is permissive.

L. "Special counsel"

means an attorney, appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court at the request of the Commission, to conduct investigations, to make recommendations to the Commission, and/or to present evidence at a hearing, with respect to a complaint or charges against a judge, and to take any other action related thereto which the Commission may direct.

M. "Statement of Allegations"

means a clear statement of the allegations against a judge and the alleged facts forming their basis.

N. "Sworn Complaint"

means a detailed written complaint which the complainant signs under oath and files, at the request of the Commission.


Updates: Amended, effective October 1, 1999 Amended May 8, 2007, effective July 1, 2007