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State of Washington

What We Do - Jurisdiction

Judicial Officers

The Commission has jurisdiction over justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of appeals,superior courts or any court organized under Titles 3 or 35 RCW, judges pro tempore, court commissioners and magistrates. This includes full-time, part-time, attorney and non-attorney judges as stated in RCW 2.64.010(4).

The Commission only investigates and acts on complaints of judicial misconduct or disability.

The Commission may impose admonishment, reprimand and censure. After imposing censure, the Commission may recommend suspension or removal of a judge to the supreme court. If the Commission finds disability, it may recommend to the supreme court that a judge be retired.

Judicial Branch Employees

In 1994, the Washington State Legislature enacted the Ethics in Public Service Act (Chapter 42.52 RCW) which strengthened and clarified the ethical standards applying to all state officers and employees. RCW 42.52.370 directs the Commission to enforce Chapter 42.52 RCW and rules adopted under it with respect to state officers and employees of the judicial branch of state government. The substantive provisions of Chapter 42.52 RCW became effective on January 1, 1995. Training and informational materials for judicial branch employees were provided through the Executive Ethics Board.

Under the Ethics in Public Service Act, the Commission considers complaints alleging ethics violations by state employees and officers of the judicial branch. The Commission developed procedural rules under Chapter 292-09 WAC and substantive rules under Chapter 292-11 WAC to implement the provisions of Chapter 42.52 RCW. Complaints concerning judges will be considered exclusively under the state Constitution and Commission on Judicial Conduct Rules of Procedure (CJCRP).

The Commission does not have jurisdiction over administrative law judges or federal judges. Complaints against administrative law judges should be made to:

Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 42488
Olympia, WA 98504-2488

Complaints against federal judges should be made to:

Clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals
P.O. Box 193939
San Francisco, CA 98119-3939

See the Governing Provisions section of this site for more info on the Commission's jurisdiction.

Visit the Washington Courts website for more info on the State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.