Donald Tenn of F4J is on the right track filing complaints against judges who are failing to fairly uphold the law. In our last blog article we urged you to write to Chief Justice Ron George on demanding judicial accountability. He responded back that he appreciates our initiative and he to desires to expose these bad judges that are giving all judges a bad name.
However, Chief Justice George can’t do it without your help. He says, people talk about how bad their family court judge was, but written complaints are rarely submitted. “We need all complaints made against a judge or court must be in writing. All complaints are confidential and the complainant will not be revealed to the judge unless you consent further down in the investigation” says George. Many bad judges go on for years because the public fails to complain thinking there will be retaliation. This is a wrong misconception or fear George would like to dispel. He says “many judges simply need to be corrected and reminded and it is the public’s responsibility to identity these judges so his office can take remedial or recommend removal of a judge.” Judges sometimes forget they are elected officials and they are being paid $200,000 per year to fairly uphold all laws of the state and be unbiased to both parties. It takes a complaint to remind the judge that the public has to power to remove him or her if they fail to uphold the law.
Your complaint no matter how trivial can help keep our judicial system in check and remind judges they are your public servant to serve you and not you serve them.
Here is how you file a complaint:
The compliant form is a simple, straight-forward, and a one-page form. Fill out the form and state why you believe this judge should be investigated for misconduct and attach any supporting documentation. Quickly mail or fax to the address below on the form and keep a copy for your records. If there are other similiar complaints an investigator may contact you for additional information if needed.
If you want to positively make sure that your complaint is acted upon. You can go further to investigate a judge and request a copy of his “oath of office.” In many cases this form is not properly filed or missing. If it is, the judge is not sworn and judgments can be voided. Many scrupleless judges will not sign the “oath of office” as a “get out of jail card” if they are caught doing something illegal or unethical down the road. The “oath of office” is on file at the clerk of the court records office and is open for public inspection. If you discover the judge does not have this document on file, you can get this judge removed from office and he might be subject to re-paying back his salary. Contacting the office of the presiding judge will point you in the right direction of obtaining this very important document that gives the judge his authority.
Another form you should look up is the Statement of Financial Interest. This form is on file at the clerk’s office and is subject to public inspection. If a judge made a decision on your case and referred you to an outside firm that he has a financial interest, he is violating his judicial canons and should be reported as unethical. This is filed annually and must be on file since the judge is an elected official, they can not use their office for personal or financial gain.
Now, you have learned to file a compliant against a judge. Please do this for you and your family so that we have better family court that truly serves the people. Remember nothing gets done unless you take action today. Also please consider making a generous donation to CRISPE so that we can continue the fight for children’s right to share both parents EQUALLY.
Posted by: “donaldtenn” firstname.lastname@example.org donaldtenn
Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:52 am (PST)
I have posted a new file for filing complaints against your judges. I am personally filing complaints against each and every judge I have been before in the Sacramento County ANTI-family courts, I urge you to do the same.
This will be phase 1 of my personal project to IMPEACH Judge Thomas Cecil for his crimes against my daughter Madison Nicole Tenn and society as a whole. I have obtained a copy of his Oath of Office as well as that of most other Judges in Sacramento County as well as the State of Illinois. Contrary to what they want you to believe, these judges are NOT above the law and they will be held accountable for their crimes.
I trust you will join me in this effort, UNITED, we can and will make the changes necessary within our judiciary. I will NEVER quit fighting for my daughters right to share equally in her daddy’s life and I trust that you will do the same for your children and/or grandchildren as the case may be.
It is time for a change!
Frequently Asked Questions About Filing a Complaint Against a Judge
Sample Complaint Against Judge
Rules of the Commission
Statement of Economic Interest Judges are elected officials and income is open for public inspection
Proposed Act to Limit Power of Judges
Judicial Accountability Act Law Initiative
People’s Grievance Against Judges
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Commission on Judicial Performance?
The Commission on Judicial Performance is the independent state agency that handles complaints about California’s judicial officers for judicial misconduct.
Over Whom Does the Commission Have Authority?
The Commission has authority over all active California state court judges and over former judges for conduct while they were active judges. The Commission also has authority over court commissioners and referees as explained in Question 10. In addition, the Director-Chief Counsel of the Commission is designated as the Supreme Court’s investigator for complaints involving State Bar Court judges.
Who Can File a Complaint?
Any individual or group may file a complaint. The Commission has received complaints from litigants, attorneys, jurors, court-watchers, court personnel, prisoners, court administrators, members of the public, judges, legislators, and others. Anyone who has knowledge of possible judicial misconduct may file a complaint. The Commission also considers complaints made anonymously and matters it learns of in other ways, such as from news articles or from information received in the course of a Commission investigation.
What Is Judicial Misconduct?
Judicial misconduct usually involves conduct in conflict with the standards set forth in the Code of Judicial Ethics. Some examples of judicial misconduct are rude or abusive demeanor, conflict of interest, abuse of the contempt power, communicating improperly with only one side to a proceeding, delay in decision-making, and commenting on a pending case.
What Can the Commission Do?
The Commission investigates complaints of judicial misconduct and, when warranted, imposes discipline. The Commission can issue confidential advisory letters, private admonishments, public admonishments and public censures. In the most serious cases, the Commission can order that a judge be removed or retired from office, bar a former judge from receiving judicial appointments or assignments, or find that a court commissioner or referee is ineligible to serve as a subordinate judicial officer.
Can the Commission Change a Legal Ruling?
No. The Commission does not have authority to direct a judge to take legal action or to reverse a judge’s decision or ruling for judicial error, mistake or other legal grounds. These functions are for the state’s appellate courts. Allegations stemming from a judge’s rulings or exercise of discretion ordinarily do not provide a basis for Commission action, and personal dissatisfaction with a legal ruling is not grounds for investigation of a judge.
Can the Commission Help Me with My Case?
No. The Commission cannot provide legal assistance or advice to individuals or intervene in litigation on behalf of a party. If you need advice or assistance about what to do next concerning your case or if you seek to change the outcome of the case, you should consult a lawyer immediately.
How Do I File a Complaint?
Complaints must be submitted in writing. See How to File a Complaint for further information.
Are Complaints Treated Confidentially?
Under the California Constitution and the rules governing the Commission, complaints to the Commission and Commission investigations are confidential. The Commission ordinarily cannot confirm or deny that a complaint has been received or that an investigation is under way. If formal charges are filed, the case becomes public.
Can the Commission Handle Complaints About Court Commissioners or Referees?
Yes. The Commission shares authority with the superior courts to investigate and discipline subordinate judicial officers. Complaints about court commissioners or referees must first be directed to the presiding judge of the court in which the matter was heard. If you want the Commission to review the local court’s final action on your complaint against a court commissioner or referee, you must file a written request with the Commission within 30 days after the date the notice of the local court’s action on the matter was mailed.
Does the Commission Handle Complaints About Attorneys?
No. Complaints about attorneys should be directed to the State Bar of California.
Does the Commission Have Jurisdiction over Temporary Judges?
No. Judges pro tem are attorneys temporarily serving as judicial officers. The State Bar of California has jurisdiction over attorneys. Although temporary judges are not employed by the courts, you may wish to bring a complaint about a judge pro tem to the attention of the presiding judge for consideration in making future appointments.
Can the Commission Consider Complaints About Private Judges?
No. The Commission has no authority over former judges serving as private judges. The Commission’s jurisdiction over former judges is limited to their conduct before retirement.