Orange County attorney files lawsuit against CJP alleging unconstitutional practices

A prominent Orange County attorney has sued the Commission on Judicial Performance, alleging the agency's practices of not informing people about the status of investigations and whether or not referrals were made to the Attorney General/District Attorneys are unconstitutional and violate Marsey's Law. This lawsuit may be joined to the CJP lawsuit against the State Auditor. The California Attorney General is representing the CJP, which seems like a conflict of interest since discovery might be propounded on the AG itself in this one.

This will get interesting. Here is the lawsuit:

 
 

California judge oversight agency files lawsuit to block state auditor

On October 20, 2016, the Commission on Judicial Performance filed a lawsuit attempting to block the State Auditor from accessing complaints against judges and other records necessary for the auditor to evaluate whether the commission is operating effectively as the sole oversight agency of California's court system. The public, Legislature, and State Auditor are pushing back against this lawsuit because adequate judicial oversight is a matter of public safety.

"If not Elaine Howle, then who? There cannot be a state agency of any type that goes without oversight." Mark Stone, Chair Assembly Judiciary Committee. Daily Journal, October 25
"This is a public entity, paid for through public dollars, that has never before been audited in its 56-year history. While I respect the separation of powers, no state agency is above the law, nor above its fundamental responsibility to be accountable and transparent to the public." Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, Chair Senate Judiciary Committee. The Recorder, August 24.
Joseph Sweeney, a longtime critic of the CJP who testified at an Assembly hearing in March, called the suit "a guise just to prevent any scrutiny" on how the CJP handles complaints against judges. "If the CJP were to win this suit, they would be the only government agency that has zero accountability." Joe Sweeney, Founder & CEO Court Reform LLC. Daily Journal, October 25.

MEDIA & PRESS:

Courthouse News, August 21
Judges' commission fights scope of audit

The Recorder, August 24
Judicial discipline commission sues over scope of audit

San Diego Union Tribune, August 24
California judicial watchdog agency sues over state audit

Daily Journal, August 25
Judicial watchdog goes to court to challenge Legislature-ordered audit

10 proposed rule changes submitted to California judge oversight agency.

California's Commission on Judicial Performance has their biennial Rules review meeting coming up. We submitted ten proposed changes to their rules.

Our proposed changes:

  1. Eliminate confidentiality of complaints.
  2. Public reporting of complaint data by judge and county.
  3. File Orders of Dismissal.
  4. Eliminate private disciplines. Three levels of discipline only: Public Admonishment, Public Censure, and Removal.
  5. Live broadcast of public disciplines.
  6. Judicial retaliation aggravating factor, may be separately disciplined even if initial complaint dismissed.
  7. Permanently maintain all complaints and investigative records.
  8. Description and establishment of specific criteria for “Preliminary Check”
  9. Definition and establishment of specific criteria for “Staff Inquiry” or “Preliminary Inquiry”
  10. Definition and establishment of specific criteria for“Preliminary Investigation”