Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct
The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct is a constitutionally mandated judicial disciplinary agency in Arizona. It was established in 1970 after state voters approved an amendment to the Arizona Constitution. The Commission has oversight over all state judges in regard judicial conduct.
Composition of the Commission
The Commission consists of eleven members: six judges, two lawyers, and three members of the public. All members have six-year terms.
- The judges include two from the Court of Appeals, two from the Superior Court, one from the Justice Court, and one from the Municipal Courts. All are appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court.
- The two lawyers, who must be members of the State Bar, are appointed by the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Arizona.
- The three members of the public, who must not be active or retired judges or members of the State Bar, are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate
Members of the Commission do not receive compensation other than travel allowance. They meet regularly and are supported by professional staff.
Members of the Commission
A current list of the members can be found on the Arizona Judicial Branch website.
Case flow description
In general, the a case regarding a complaint happens as follows:
- A complaint is filed against a judge to the commission's office.
- The complaint is screened and investigated.
- When the investigation is complete, the judge will be notified of the commission’s decision.
- If the commission seeks discipline, they may either issue an informal reprimand, or file formal charges and hold a public hearing. In the case of formal charges, a public hearing is held. Recommendations are then given to the Supreme Court for final actions, including censure, suspension without pay, and removal from office, and involuntary retirement.
- A judge may file a motion for reconsideration within fifteen days if they disagree with the commission’s decision.
|1. Composition; appointment; term; vacancies|
Section 1. A. A commission on judicial conduct is created to be composed of eleven persons consisting of two judges of the court of appeals, two judges of the superior court, one justice of the peace and one municipal court judge, who shall be appointed by the supreme court, two members of the state bar of Arizona, who shall be appointed by the governing body of such bar association, and three citizens who are not judges, retired judges nor members of the state bar of Arizona, who shall be appointed by the governor subject to confirmation by the senate in the manner prescribed by law.
Rules of Procedure
- Rule 1. Scope of authority
- Rule 2. Purpose and jurisdiction
- Rule 3. Organization
- Rule 4. Administration
- Rule 5. Purpose of judicial discipline
- Rule 6. Grounds for discipline
- Rule 7. Misconduct distinguished from error
- Rule 8. Right to counsel
- Rule 9. Public access and confidentiality
- Rule 10. Notification to complainant
- Rule 11. Administration of oaths
- Rule 12. Service
- Rule 13. Subpoena power
- Rule 14. Prohibition against retaliation
- Rule 15. Immunity from civil suit
- Rule 16. Dispositions in general
- Rule 17. Informal sanctions
- Rule 18. Formal sanctions
- Rule 19. Mitigating and aggravating factors
- Rule 20. Commencement
- Rule 21. Initial screening
- Rule 22. Investigation
- Rule 23. Commission review
- Rule 24. Formal charges
- Rule 25. Response
- Rule 26. Discovery
- Rule 27. Hearings
- Rule 28. Recommendations
- Rule 29. Supreme court review
- Rule 30. Discipline by consent
- Rule 31. Interim reassignment
- Rule 32. Medical examination
- Rule 33. Incapacity proceedings
- Rule 34. Compliance proceedings
A compiled summary of major cases can be found here.
- In Re Avalos, JUD-2 (June 26, 1980)
- In Re Soto, JUD-3 (September 26, 1980)
- In Re Haddad, 128 Ariz. 490, 627 P.2d 221 (1981)
- In Re Weeks, 134 Ariz. 521, 658 P.2d 174 (1983)
- In Re Scott, JUD7 (November 6, 1984)
- In Re Hendrix, 145 Ariz. 345, 701 P.2d 841 (1985)
- In Re Rubi, 148 Ariz. 167, 713 P.2d 1225 (1985)
- In Re Haines, JQ-86-0001 (March 18, 1986)
- In Re Goodman, JQ-86-0002 (April 8, 1986)
- In Re Walker, 153 Ariz. 307, 736 P.2d 790 (1987)
- In Re Biggins, 153 Ariz. 439, 737 P.2d 1077 (1987)
- In Re Ackel, 155 Ariz. 34, 745 P.2d 92 (1987) and CV-88-0002-SA (January 26, 1988)
- In Re Weisenburger, JQ-88-0001 (January 20, 1988)
- In Re Garcia, JQ-88-0003 (October 14, 1988)
- In Re Marquardt, 161 Ariz. 206, 778 P.2d 241 (1989)
- In Re Lockwood, 167 Ariz. 9, 804 P. 2d 738 (1990)
- In Re Lehman, 168 Ariz 174, 812 P. 2d 992 (1991)
- In Re Anderson, 168 Ariz. 432, 814 P.2d 773 (1991)
- In Re Gumaer, 177 Ariz. 280, 867 P.2d 850 (1994)
- In Re Peck, 177 Ariz. 283, 867 P.2d 853 (1994)
- In Re Lorona, 178 Ariz. 562, 875 P.2d 795, (1994)
- In Re Jett, 180 Ariz. 103, 882 P.2d 414 (1994)
- In Re Goodfarb, 179 Ariz. 400, 880 P.2d 620 (1994)
- In Re Braun, 180 Ariz. 240, 883 P.2d 996 (1994)
- In Re Garcia, JC-94-0005, 180 Ariz. 294, 884 P.2d 180 (1994)
- In Re Mirretti, Case 94-017, 181 Ariz. 288, 889 P.2d 1086 (1995)
- In Re Koch, 181 Ariz. 352, 890 P.2d 1137 (1995)
- In Re Nichols, JC-96-0001 (March 21, 1996)
- In Re Harris, JC-96-0002 (September 20, 1996)
- In Re Lerma, JC-97-0002 (April 14, 1997)
- In Re Bradshaw, JC-97-0001 (June 6, 1997)
- In Re Fleischman, 188 Ariz. 106, 933 P.2d 563 (1997)
- In Re Manuz, JC98-0001 (April 10, 1998)
- In Re Morales, JC-980002 (September 11, 1998)
- In Re Pearlman, JC-98-0003 (December 10, 1998)
- In Re Guzman, JC-99-0001 (January 25, 1999)
- In Re Lamb, Case 99-041 (June 19, 2000)
- In Re Curfman, JC-98-0004 (April 20, 1999)
- In Re Montiel, JC-97-0003 (May 26, 1999)
- In Re Flournoy, 195 Ariz. 441, 990 P.2d 642 (1999)
- In Re Ventre, JC-00-0001 (January 2000)
- In Re Scholl, JC-96-0004 (February 18, 2000)
- In Re Carpenter, JC-00-0002 (January 18, 2001)
- In Re Irwin, JC-00-0003 (November 29, 2000)
- In Re Dobronski, JC-01-0001 and JC-01-0002 (February 22, 2002)
- In Re Villegas, JC-02-0002 (November 18, 2002)
- In Re Watkins, JC-03-0001 (December 16, 2003)
- In Re Nelson, JC-03-0002 (April 22, 2004)
- In Re Thomson, JC-04-0001 (April 19, 2004)
- In Re Forgach, JC-04-0002 (April 22, 2004)
- In Re Romney, JC-04-0003 (June 29, 2004)
- In Re Johnson, JC-04-0004 (August 16, 2004)
- In Re Hatch, JC-04-0005 (November 26, 2004)
- In Re McVay, JC-05-0002 (March 22, 2005)
- In Re Overson, JC-05-0003 (September 8, 2005)
- In Re Colglazier, JC-06-0003 (December 29, 2006)
- In Re Malka, JC-06-0004 (December 29, 2006)
- In Re D. Morales, JC-07-0001 (January 22, 2007)
- In Re R. Morales, JC-07-0002 (January 24, 2007)
- In Re J. McVay, JC-07-0003 (September 25, 2007)
- R. Bruce Overson, CJC Case No. 07-039 (December 28, 2007)
- In Re Quentin Tolby, CJC Case No. 08-161 (December 2, 2008)
- In Re G. Michael Osterfeld, CJC Case No. 08044 (January 28, 2009)
- In Re Howard D. Hinson, Jr., JC-09-0002 (June 2009)
- In Re Patty Nolan, JC-10-001 (June 30, 2010)
- In Re Clyde Andress, JC-10002 (October 26, 2010)
- In Re Carmine Cornelio, JC-10-003 (December 9, 2010)
- In Re Mark Chiles, JC-11-002 (May 18, 2011)
- In Re Theodore Abrams, JC-11-001 (June 3, 2011)
|Year||# of Judges in Jurisdiction||# of Inquiries||Cases Filed||Cases Dismissed||Informal Sanctions||Formal Sanctions||Consolidated Cases||Unresolved Cases|
Statistics via The Commission of Judicial Conduct: Annual Reports. Reports are available back to 1971.
|1970||Proposition 103 adds Article VI.I to the Arizona Constitution, creating the Commission on Judicial Qualifications.|
|1971||The Commission begins to operate.|
|1988||Proposition 102 renames the Commission to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, provides for two additional members, increases terms from four to six years, expands oversight to municipal court judges, and allows for suspension without pay as a discipline option.|
|1993||The Arizona Supreme Court adopts a Code of Judicial Conduct.|
|2009||The Arizona Supreme Court adopts a Code of Judicial Conduct.|
Code of Judicial Conduct
Below is the summary of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct (of 2009). Full documentation is available at the Arizona Judicial Branch website.
|Canon 1: A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.|
|Canon 2: A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.|
|Canon 3: A judge shall conduct the judge’s extrajudicial activities so as to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.|
|Canon 4: A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.|
Commission on Judicial Conduct
1501 W. Washington Street, Suite 229
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Fax: (602) 452-3201
(Note:Complaints may not be filed via email)
- State judge disciplinary agencies
- Arizona Commission on Judicial Qualifications Amendment, Proposition 103 (1970) (on Ballotpedia)
- Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct Amendment, Proposition 102 (1988) (on Ballotpedia)
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "Commission on Judicial Conduct"
- The Arizona Constitution, Article 6.1
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "Commission on Judicial Conduct: Overview"
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "The Commission of Judicial Conduct: Annual Reports"
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct Correlation Table: 1993 Code to 2009 Code"
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "Commission on Judicial Conduct: Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinions"
- Arizona Judicial Branch, "Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct 2009"