Washington's Commission on Judicial Conduct was established to investigate allegations of a judge's misconduct or disability. Its membership consists of two lawyers, three judges, and six non-lawyer citizens.
Any person, organization or association may submit written or oral allegations of misconduct. These are reviewed by the Commission to see if the Code of Judicial Conduct was violated or if any permanent disability exists.
Because the Commission has no authority to modify judicial decisions, objections to a particular official judicial action will not normally trigger Commission action. The Commission's power is limited to two areas: (1) misconduct, as defined by the Code of Judicial Conduct, and (2) disability which is, or likely to become, serious enough to interfere with a judge's official duties.
If misconduct is found, the Commission may admonish, reprimand, or censure the judge, or may recommend to the Supreme Court that the judge be suspended or removed. Like a trial, Commission fact-finding hearings are held in public. The Supreme Court has appellate review of the Commission’s decision, or in the case of a Commission recommendation, the Court makes the final decision after reviewing the Commission’s record and taking argument on the matter.
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