Commission on Judicial Performance is an independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining state judges (see article VI, section 18 of the California Constitution). The commission has authority to impose certain discipline on former judges and has shared authority with local courts over court commissioners and referees (see article VI, section 18.1 of the California Constitution). The commission does not have authority over temporary judges (also called judges pro tem) or private judges. All commission proceedings are required to be public after formal charges are filed.
Under article VI, section 18(d) of the California Constitution, the commission may
The commission also may bar a former judge who has been censured from receiving an assignment, appointment, or reference of work from any California state court. Determinations by the commission to remove, censure, admonish, or retire a judge are subject to discretionary review by the California Supreme Court.
The commission is composed of 11 members: 3 judges appointed by the California Supreme Court, 4 members appointed by the Governor (2 attorneys and 2 nonattorney public members), 2 public members appointed by the Assembly Speaker, and 2 public members appointed by the Senate Rules Committee. Appointments are for four-year terms.
State of California Commission on Judicial Performance - Commission Rules
Article VI, section 18(i) of the Constitution authorizes the commission to make rules for conducting investigations and formal proceedings. The Rules of the Commission on Judicial Performance, rules 101 through 138, were adopted by the commission on October 24, 1996, and took effect December 1, 1996. The rules have been amended periodically thereafter.
State of California Commission on Judicial Performance - Policy Declarations
The Policy Declarations of the Commission on Judicial Performance detail the commission's internal procedures and existing policies. A Code of Ethics for Commission Members is set forth in Division VI of the policy declarations.