The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance was created in 1979 by the Mississippi Legislature, and voters, by constitutional amendment to enforce judicial standards.
It was created for the following purpose:
- To enforce the standards of judicial conduct, (see Code of Judicial Conduct)
- To inquire into judicial liability and conduct,
- To protect the public from judicial misconduct and disabled judges, and
- To protect the judiciary from unfounded allegations.
All proceedings before the Commission are of a civil nature, not criminal, as the purpose of the Commission is to be rehabilitative and educational, as well as disciplinary.
What is judicial misconduct?
Actual conviction of a felony in a court other than a Mississippi court; willful misconduct in office; willful and persistent failure to perform his duties; habitual intemperance in the use of alcohol or other drugs; conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute; physical or mental disability seriously interfering with the performance of duties and such disability is or is likely to become permanent; any willful violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct; and any violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Some examples of judicial misconduct include abuse of contempt power, failure to disqualify when required by law, ex parte communication, and improper demeanor.
Who can file a complaint?
Any citizen, litigant, attorney, law enforcement official, judge, public official, or other individual who has knowledge of possible judicial misconduct may file a complaint with the Commission. Complaints may also be filed anonymously. Additionally, the Commission may file a complaint on its own motion based upon matters it learns of in other ways, such as from mass media and information obtained during the course of an investigation.
What information should I submit with my complaint?
You may attach any documentation and/or evidence you believe may be pertinent, such as court documents, witness statements, correspondences, audio/video tapes, etc. Please do not send originals. Additionally, please include the names of any witnesses that may be able to substantiate the allegations contained in your complaint.
Matthew Thompson is Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and believes all persons within our legal system are subject to accountability.