FAQ


1. What is the JCC?
2. What does the JCC do?
3. What can the JCC do with my complaint?
4. What can’t the JCC do?
5. What if the Judge makes a wrong or erroneous decision?
6. How do I prove a judge is biased against me?
7. Can I appeal a JCC determination?
8. What will happen to my court case during the JCC process?
9. What is the Code of Judicial Conduct?
10. How do I file a complaint with the JCC?
11. How long does the JCC process take?
12. Are the JCC proceedings and files public?
13. Who are the members of the JCC?

What is the JCC?
The Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) is an 11-member independent fact-finding body established by Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution of Utah.
What does the JCC do?
The JCC investigates allegations of judicial misconduct by state, county and municipal judges. The JCC cannot impose discipline -- it can only recommend that the Utah Supreme Court impose discipline. The JCC can recommend the reprimand, censure, suspension, removal, or involuntary retirement of a judge for any of the following reasons:
  • action which constitutes willful misconduct in office;
  • final conviction of a crime punishable as a felony under state or federal law;
  • willful and persistent failure to perform judicial duties;
  • disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties;
  • conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings a judicial office into disrepute.
What can the JCC do with my complaint?
The JCC may take the following actions on the complaints it receives.

a. If the complaint is not proper complaint for the JCC, the JCC may return it to the complainant without taking further action.

b. After a preliminary investigation, the JCC may dismiss a complaint. Notice of the dismissal is sent to the complainant.

c. After a preliminary investigation, the JCC may dismiss a complaint with a warning. A dismissal with a warning, as allowed by footnote 5 of In re Anderson, 2004 UT 7, and Rule 595-4-1 of the Utah Administrative Code, is for circumstances where the Commission determines that the judge engaged in troubling but relatively minor misconduct for which no public sanction is warranted. Although no public sanction is warranted, dismissals with warnings are summarized in the JCC’s annual report without inclusion of the judge’s name or court. Also, dismissals with warnings may be discussed during ethics presentations at judicial conferences, again without identifying the judge or the judge’s court, to help other judges avoid similar violations. A dismissal with a warning is in fact a dismissal.

d. After a preliminary investigation, the JCC may decide to open a full investigation.

e. A full investigation may result in dismissal, a dismissal with warning or a formal proceeding as to some or all allegations.

f. A formal proceeding may result in a dismissal, a dismissal with warning or recommendation to the Utah Supreme Court for a reprimand, censure, suspension, removal from office or involuntary retirement.
What can’t the JCC do?
The JCC cannot:
  • assist a person in removing a judge from a particular court case;
  • direct a judge to take a particular action in a court case;
  • overturn a judge’s decision(s);
  • recommend discipline based on a judge’s decision(s);
  • recommend or require that a particular court case be stayed pending the outcome of JCC proceedings;
  • investigate federal judges, attorneys, court commissioners, court employees or other government employees;
  • provide legal assistance.
What if the judge makes a wrong or erroneous decision?
In a 1996 opinion, the Utah Supreme Court stated that a judge’s decisions, even if erroneous, do not provide an adequate basis for a finding of judicial misconduct and that such claims are more appropriate to the appeal process.
How do I prove a judge is biased against me?
To find judicial misconduct based on bias, you must provide evidence other than the judge’s ruling or decisions. No determination of bias and prejudice may be made from adverse rulings by a judge. Dahl v. Dahl, 2015 UT 23, ¶52.
Can I appeal a JCC determination?

You may request that the Commission reinstate these proceedings. Any such request must:

(1) be in writing;

(2) be mailed or delivered to the Commission’s office;

(3) be received by the Commission within 30 days of the date of JCC decision letter;
(4) include the specific grounds upon which you seek to have these proceedings reinstated.

Requests that do not meet all four of these criteria may not be considered.”

What will happen to my court case during the JCC process?
The JCC cannot recommend or require that a court case be stayed (or halted) pending the outcome of JCC proceedings. You must consider and are responsible for time restrictions and time requirements (such as appeals) associated with your court case.
What is the Code of Judicial Conduct?

The Code of Judicial Conduct, adopted by the Utah Supreme Court, consists of four general principles (called “canons”) of ethical behavior. All state, county and municipal judges are obligated to comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct. Each canon includes several specific rules. The full text of the Code of Judicial Conduct is available here.

  • Canon 1 addresses independence, integrity, impartiality and impropriety
  • Canon 2 addresses judges’ on-bench activities
  • Canon 3 addresses judges’ off-bench activities
  • Canon 4 addresses political activity by judges
How do I file a complaint with the JCC?
The JCC can only commence an investigation upon receipt of a written complaint. To submit a written complaint, click on the “Complaint Form” link, complete the complaint, print it, sign it, and mail it to the JCC at the address provided on the form. You should receive an acknowledgment letter within 7 to 10 business days.
How long does the JCC process take?
Most preliminary investigations are completed within 90 days from the date the complaint is received by the JCC. Complaints that go beyond the preliminary investigation stage take longer to resolve.
Are JCC proceedings and files public?
Per Utah statute, JCC proceedings are not open to the public. This protects the anonymity of the complainant, so the judges are not biased about who appears in their court. It also protects the judges from unfounded or dismissed allegations of misconduct. Accordingly, except in certain limited circumstances, all complaints, papers, and testimony received or maintained by the JCC, and the records of any confidential hearings conducted by the JCC, are confidential, and cannot be publicly disclosed. However, if the JCC determines judicial misconduct occurred and makes a recommendation of discipline to the Utah Supreme Court, then the JCC’s recommendation becomes public. All other materials may become public only upon Utah Supreme Court order.
Who are the members of the JCC?
Mr. Neal Cox, Public member
Mr. Mark Raymond, Public member
Vacant, Public member
Mr. James Jardine, Attorney member
Mr. Terry Welch, Attorney member
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, Legislative member
Sen. Jani Iwamoto, Legislative member
Rep. Craig Hall, Legislative member
Rep. Elizabeth Weight, Legislative member
Hon. David Mortensen, Judicial member
Hon. Todd Shaughnessy, Judicial member

Contact Us:

Judicial Conduct Commission offices at:

1385 South State St. Suite 143, Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Phone (801) 468-0021