Commission proceedings are confidential, including the fact that there is a complaint or investigation, as provided in Article IV, Section 31 of the Washington State Constitution, RCW 2.64 and Commission on Judicial Conduct Rules of Procedure (CJCRP). Confidentiality is legally binding on the Commission and its staff, court personnel, including judges, and lawyers, as officers of the court.
Confidentiality is intended to encourage complainants to express their concerns without fear of reprisal and to protect a judge's reputation and the integrity of the judicial process from unsubstantiated allegations.
We ask your cooperation in keeping the fact that you have filed a complaint confidential while we conduct the investigation, for the following reasons:
At any time, you can tell anyone about the facts on which you base your complaint or statement. In other words, while you are welcome to speak as you wish about what you think the judge did wrong, we ask that you not discuss the fact that you filed a complaint with our agency while we are investigating the matter.
When the Commission concludes from initial proceedings that there is probable cause to believe a judge has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, a statement of charges is served on the respondent judge and then filed as a public record. Any subsequent fact-finding hearing is public and, at the commencement of the hearing, the records that formed the basis of the finding of probable cause are filed in the hearing record.
For more information on confidentiality, view our confidentiality provisions.