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State of Washington

Governing Provisions - Overview

Washington's judicial conduct commission was constitutionally created when voters passed the amendment to Article IV, Section 31 of the Washington State Constitution in November 1980. The enabling legislation was effective May 18, 1981 and is now codified as RCW 2.64. There have been three amendments to Article IV, Section 31:

  1. December 4, 1986, voters' passage of SJR 136 became effective, changing the name from Judicial Qualifications Commission to Commission on Judicial Conduct. Two additional citizen members increased the Commission from seven to nine. This amendment also provided for public fact-finding hearings after the Commission files charges against a judge.
  2. December 6, 1989, voters' approval of ESSJR 8202 became effective, adding two more citizen members to the Commission. The Commission's authority was expanded, allowing it to impose all discipline except suspension or removal (for misconduct) and retirement (for disability). The Commission can recommend suspension, removal or retirement of a judge to the Supreme Court.
  3. January 1, 2006, was the effective date of SJR 8207, permitting municipal court judges to be selected as members of the Commission. Previously only district court judges could be selected from courts of limited jurisdiction to serve on the Commission. This amendment did not change the total number of judge representatives on the Commission.

The Commission has adopted rules to insure due process and confidentiality of proceedings. The Commission's rules, first adopted in October 1981, have been revised over the years and now appear as Commission on Judicial Conduct Rules of Procedure (CJCRP) in the Washington Rules of Court. Please see the following sections for more detail.

Washington State Constitution

Article IV, Section 31 - the constitutional amendment that resulted in the creation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Revised Code of Washington Chapter 2.64

The RCW's which codified the constitutional amendment to Article IV, Section 31 and outline the Commission's structure, disciplinary powers, limitations, membership terms, etc.

Rules of Procedure (CJCRP)

The Commission's adopted rules of procedure and rules for confidentiality. More information on how the CJCRPs are made and changed can be found on the Commission's rule making page.

Code of Judicial Conduct

The ethical rules that judges must follow.

Ethics in Public Service Act: WAC 292-09

The rules for filing a complaint against a state employee of the judicial branch.

Public Records: WAC 292-10

The rules for accessing public records.

Members' Conduct Policies and Procedures

The policies and procedures that apply to the members of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.