Professional Conduct Rules

Rules of the Trial Court Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Court

Professional Conduct Rules Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks Rule 4: Confidentiality

Effective Date: 03/23/2015
Updates: Adopted effective March 23, 2015

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Rule 4

All Committee proceedings prior to the filing of formal charges shall be confidential. Prior to formal charges, records, files and reports of the Committee shall be confidential, and no disclosure shall be made except as follows: (1) upon written waiver of the Clerk; (2) upon inquiry by a state or federal agency conducting an investigation on behalf of the Commonwealth or the United States government after seven days' notice to the Clerk in writing; or (3) upon inquiry by the Supreme Judicial Court or on appeal by the Clerk to the Supreme Judicial Court. 

The Committee may issue public statements and release general information concerning the nature of its jurisdiction and the procedure for filing complaints. In cases where the subject matter has become public, the Committee may issue public statements as it deems appropriate to confirm the pendency of the investigation, clarify procedural aspects and correct misinformation. The Committee may issue public statements and release information concerning its proceedings and reports at the direction of the Supreme Judicial Court and may provide whatever records, files, reports or other information is necessary in an appeal of a decision by the Clerk to the Supreme Judicial Court. If, in the course of its proceedings, the Committee becomes aware of credible evidence that any person has committed a crime, the Committee shall report such evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency. 

Formal charges become public ten days after issuance or upon the filing of the Clerk's response, whichever occurs first. In the case of formal proceedings, only the formal charges, the answer thereto, the evidentiary hearings, the report of the hearing officer, and the final action by the Committee shall become public.

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