Although a form is not required to file a complaint against a judge in most states, using a form increases the chances a judicial conduct commission will get the information it needs to evaluate whether an investigation is justified. Most judicial conduct commissions have complaint forms on their web-sites, many the fillable PDF type, that can be mailed, faxed, or, in some states, e-mailed to the commission.
n addition, 8 judicial conduct commissions now allow complaints to be filed on-line. Those 8, linked to the on-line forms, are:
- Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission
- D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities & Tenure
- Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct
- New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct
- North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission
- Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability
- Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct
- Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct
In response to a recent inquiry, the commissions recommended the on-line process, noting no confidentiality or security breaches or any more problems than with written complaints. One commission stated that about half of the complaints it receives now come through its on-line portal, and another said that 3/4 of the complaints on its next agenda had been filed electronically. Several reported an increase in the number of complaints since they added the on-line option but concluded that increase was outweighed by the benefits, such as more legible complaints, reduced costs for processing, and more comprehensive information. One commission noted that, “Members of the public seem to appreciate the ease of use and accessibility of the online form,” and another stated, “it is convenient for complainants and is not an overall problem. It’s the way of the future and nice to deal with less paper.”
The Center for Judicial Ethics has links to the web-sites of all judicial conduct commissions.