All New York State judges are required to observe the high ethical standards set out in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct is the independent state agency that reviews complaints of ethical misconduct against the 3,500 judges and justices of the State Unified Court System and, where appropriate, renders public disciplinary Determinations.
The Commission’s authority to investigate and hear complaints against judges and justices of the New York Uniform Court System is set out in the New York State Constitution and the New York Judiciary Law.
The Commission has no authority to investigate complaints against non-judges, federal judges, administrative law judges, judicial hearing officers, referees or New York City Housing Court judges.
The Commission is not an appellate court and cannot reverse a court decision or order a new trial. The Commission does not issue advisory opinions, give legal advice or represent litigants. Thus, a litigant's unhappiness with the results of a case, without more, is not a basis for the Commission to act.
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The types of complaints that may be investigated by the Commission include improper demeanor, conflicts of interest, violations of defendants’ or litigants’ rights, intoxication, bias, prejudice, favoritism, gross neglect, corruption, certain prohibited political activity and other misconduct on or off the bench.
The Commission's Procedures for investigating complaints are set out in our Operating Rules and written Policies. The Commission maintains Confidentiality in all our proceedings unless there is a public determination of misconduct or the judge chooses to make the process public.
The Commission may dismiss a complaint, before or after a hearing, if it determines that the judge has not committed judicial misconduct. If the Commission determines that disciplinary action is warranted, it may render a public determination to admonish or censure the judge, to remove the judge from office or to retire the judge for disability. The Commission may also issue a confidential letter of dismissal and caution to a judge, when it is determined that the circumstances so warrant.
All public Commission determinations are subject to review by the Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court – upon timely request by the respondent-judge. If review is not requested within 30 days of service of the determination upon the judge, the determination becomes final.
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If you believe a judge has committed misconduct, you can File a Complaint online or by mail. The Commission maintains Office Locations in New York, Albany and Rochester.
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