According to its website, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct:
Receives and reviews written complaints of misconduct against judges of the state unified court system, which includes State, County, Municipal, Town and Village Courts. Upon review of a complaint, the Commission decides whether to investigate or dismiss it. . . .
The types of complaints that may be investigated by the Commission include improper demeanor, conflicts of interest, intoxication, bias, prejudice, favoritism, corruption, prohibited business or political activity, serious financial and records mismanagement, assertion of the influence of judicial office for the private benefit of the judge or others, and other misconduct on or off the bench. Physical or mental disability may also be investigated.
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After a formal hearing, the Commission may dismiss the complaint or caution the judge privately about the matter. The Commission may also determine that the judge should be publicly admonished or censured, removed from office or, in a case of disability, retired. Determinations to admonish, censure, remove or retire a judge are subject to review by the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court.
The Commission is comprised of 11 Board Members, appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (3), the Governor (4), the Speaker and minority leader of the Assembly, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the State Senate (1 each).
The Commission also has an executive director: Robert H. Tembeckjian.
Not surprisingly, Judge’s groups have criticized the Commission as being too secretive, arrogant and insensitive to judges. Good Government groups, however, have noted that the Commission rarely takes any substantive action against judges, even in the face of outrageous conduct, and almost never recommends removal from the bench.
- Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson Admits Lies, But Stays on Bench, New York Daily News (Oct. 11, 2012)
- A Sex Joke and Other Bad Judicial Behavior, New York Times (Feb. 2, 2011)