When the Board receives a complaint, the Board’s staff makes a preliminary inquiry. During this stage, you and other witnesses may be interviewed, and documents other than those provided with your complaint may be reviewed. Once there is sufficient information to conclude the preliminary inquiry, the full Board will review the complaint.
At this stage, the Board generally chooses to:
- Dismiss the complaint because it is clear that the allegations do not warrant disciplinary action against the accused judge; or
- Authorize a full investigation to determine if there is “clear and convincing evidence” of misconduct that warrants disciplinary action against the accused judge
After a full investigation has been conducted, the Board makes another choice:
- Dismiss the complaint because there is not “clear and convincing evidence” of judicial misconduct; or
- If the Board believes that there is “clear and convincing evidence” of judicial misconduct, it may file formal charges against the accused judge with the Court of Judicial Discipline.
The Complaint Process:
- Citizen’s Complaint
- Judicial Conduct Board
- The Board investigates the complaint. If warranted, it files charges against the accused judge in the Court of Judicial Discipline.
- Court of Judicial Discipline
- The Court hears formal charges brought against a judge by the Board, and decides whether or not to impose discipline.
- The judge subjected to discipline may appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, or if he/she is a Supreme Court Justice, to a Special Tribunal.
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court/Special Tribunal