CHAPTER 872a
REMOVAL, SUSPENSION AND CENSURE OF JUDGES

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Sec. 51-51l. Investigation of conduct of judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate.
Sec. 51-51q. Recommendation of council re appointment or reappointment of judge and reappointment of family support magistrate and compensation commissioner. Information required to be made available to General Assembly judiciary committee.

      Sec. 51-51l. Investigation of conduct of judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate. (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), the Judicial Review Council shall investigate every written complaint brought before it alleging conduct under section 51-51i, and may initiate an investigation of any judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate if (1) the council has reason to believe conduct under section 51-51i has occurred or (2) previous complaints indicate a pattern of behavior which would lead to a reasonable belief that conduct under section 51-51i has occurred. The council shall, not later than five days after such initiation of an investigation or receipt of such complaint, notify by registered or certified mail any judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate under investigation or against whom such complaint is filed. A copy of any such complaint shall accompany such notice. The council shall also notify the complainant of its receipt of such complaint not later than five days thereafter. Any investigation to determine whether or not there is probable cause that conduct under section 51-51i has occurred shall be confidential and any individual called by the council for the purpose of providing information shall not disclose his knowledge of such investigation to a third party prior to the decision of the council on whether probable cause exists, unless the respondent requests that such investigation and disclosure be open, provided information known or obtained independently of any such investigation shall not be confidential. The judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate shall have the right to appear and be heard and to offer any information which may tend to clear him of probable cause to believe he is guilty of conduct under section 51-51i. The judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate shall also have the right to be represented by legal counsel and examine and cross-examine witnesses. In conducting its investigation under this subsection, the council may request that a court furnish to the council a record or transcript of court proceedings made or prepared by a court reporter, assistant court reporter or monitor and the court shall, upon such request, furnish such record or transcript.

      (b) The Judicial Review Council shall, not later than three business days after the termination of such investigation, notify the complainant, if any, and the judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate that the investigation has been terminated and the results thereof. If the council finds that conduct under section 51-51i has not occurred, but the judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate has acted in a manner which gives the appearance of impropriety or constitutes an unfavorable judicial or magisterial practice, the council may issue an admonishment to the judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate recommending a change in judicial or magisterial conduct or practice. If an admonishment is issued, the council shall (1) notify the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary that an admonishment was issued and provide said committee with the substance of the admonishment, including copies of the complaint file, and (2) inform the complainant, if any, that an admonishment was issued if the admonishment is the result of misconduct alleged in the complaint. Except as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the substance of the admonishment shall not be disclosed to any person or organization.

      (c) If a preliminary investigation indicates that probable cause exists that the judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate is guilty of conduct under section 51-51i, the council shall hold a hearing concerning the conduct or complaint. All hearings held pursuant to this subsection shall be open. A judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate appearing before such a hearing shall be entitled to counsel, to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses. The council shall make a record of all proceedings pursuant to this subsection. The council shall not later than thirty days after the close of such hearing publish its findings together with a memorandum of its reasons therefor.

      (d) No complaint against a judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate alleging conduct under section 51-51i shall be brought under this section but within one year from the date the alleged conduct occurred or was discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered, except that no such complaint may be brought more than three years from the date the alleged conduct occurred.

      (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the council shall disclose any information concerning complaints received by the council on and after January 1, 1978, investigations, and disposition of such complaints to the legislative program review and investigations committee when requested by the committee in the course of its functions, in writing and upon a majority vote of the committee, provided no names or other identifying information shall be disclosed.

      (f) On and after December 19, 1991, any judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate who has been the subject of an investigation by the Judicial Review Council as a result of a complaint brought before such council may request that such complaint, investigation and the disposition of such complaint be open to public inspection.

      (g) Whenever a complaint against a judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate is pending before the Judicial Review Council within the final year of the term of office of such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate, the Judicial Review Council shall designate such complaint as privileged and shall conduct an expedited investigation and hearing so that its duties with respect to such complaint are completed in sufficient time to enable the Judicial Review Council to make its recommendation concerning any such judge to the Judicial Selection Commission and the Governor under section 51-51q in a timely manner.

      (P.A. 77-494, S. 6, 18; P.A. 82-248, S. 40; 82-338, S. 5; P.A. 86-402, S. 4, 13; P.A. 89-360, S. 32, 45; P.A. 91-22; Nov. Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-5, S. 1, 3; P.A. 92-160, S. 3, 19; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-11, S. 44, 70; P.A. 96-79, S. 2; P.A. 97-132, S. 4; P.A. 05-114, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 82-248 rephrased section, divided section into Subsecs. and deleted reference to Sec. 1-20; P.A. 82-338 added provision requiring investigation of every written complaint, notification of judge and complainant, confidential preliminary investigation, right of judge to be heard and to be represented by legal counsel, notice of results, issuance of admonishment recommending change in judicial conduct, public hearing upon preliminary finding of probable cause and publication of findings and reasons therefor, deleting provisions which specified that hearings are to be private unless public hearing is requested by judge and which declared that records of council are not public records; P.A. 86-402 amended Subsec. (a) permitting council to initiate investigation of judge if council has reason to believe judicial conduct under Sec. 51-51i has occurred; P.A. 89-360 added references to family support magistrates; P.A. 91-22 amended Subsec. (a) by adding "Except as provided in Subsec. (d)" and added statute of limitations for bringing complaint against judge or family support magistrate under Sec. 51-51i in new Subsec. (d); Nov. Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-5 added Subsec. (e) to permit disclosure of nonidentifying information re complaints received by the council on and after January 1, 1978, to legislative program review and investigations committee and added Subsec. (f) concerning public disclosure of complaint, investigation and disposition upon request of judge or family support magistrate who was the subject of the complaint; P.A. 92-160 added provisions (1) requiring council to initiate investigation if previous complaints indicate pattern of behavior that would lead to reasonable belief of judicial misconduct, (2) prohibiting disclosure of information re investigation prior to probable cause decision and (3) permitting disclosure of information known or obtained independently of investigation and added references to compensation commissioner; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-11 made a technical change in Subsec. (a) by replacing "commission" with "council"; P.A. 96-79 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize the council in conducting its investigation to request a court to furnish it with a record or transcript of court proceedings and to require the court to fulfill such request; P.A. 97-132 amended Subsec. (c) by changing "fifteen" to "thirty" days and added new Subsec. (g) re expedited investigation and hearing for complaint against judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate pending within final year of term of office; P.A. 05-114 amended Subsec. (b) by adding requirements re notification to General Assembly judiciary committee of issuance of admonishment and providing committee with substance of admonishment and copies of complaint file, by adding exception to disclosure prohibition and inserting "to any person or organization" and by making technical changes.

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      Sec. 51-51q. Recommendation of council re appointment or reappointment of judge and reappointment of family support magistrate and compensation commissioner. Information required to be made available to General Assembly judiciary committee. (a)(1) The Judicial Review Council shall submit its recommendations concerning the nomination for appointment to a different court of any judge or nomination for reappointment of any judge whose term of office is about to expire, including a report of any complaint filed against any such judge and the disposition of any such complaint, and including any investigation of any such judge by the council, to the Governor, to the Judicial Selection Commission and to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, provided the Judicial Selection Commission shall not consider any investigation of the Judicial Review Council which resulted in the exoneration of a judge.

      (2) In addition to the information required to be submitted under subdivision (1) of this subsection, the Judicial Review Council shall make all complaint files concerning any such judge available to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary. Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, if the disposition of a complaint filed against any such judge involved the issuance of an admonishment to or the public censure or suspension of such judge, (A) no information pertaining to the complaint and the investigation and disposition of such complaint may be removed, redacted or otherwise withheld by the Judicial Review Council prior to making such complaint files available to said committee as required by this subdivision, and (B) the Judicial Review Council shall provide to said committee any information, including, but not limited to, any confidential information, in its possession concerning such judge that may be requested in writing by the cochairpersons of said committee. Such information shall be provided to said committee not later than three business days following the date the request is received by the Judicial Review Council. Any confidential information provided to said committee as required by this subdivision shall not be further disclosed to any person or organization.

      (3) If the Judicial Review Council has reason to believe any such judge is guilty of conduct under section 51-51i, material neglect of duty or incompetence in the conduct of his office, it may refuse to recommend such judge for nomination for appointment to a different court or for reappointment. The Judicial Review Council shall not recommend a judge for nomination for appointment to a different court or for reappointment if the council finds such judge has wilfully violated section 51-39a or has been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.

      (b) The Judicial Review Council shall submit its recommendations concerning the reappointment of any family support magistrate whose term of office is about to expire, including a report of any investigation of any such magistrate by the council, to the Governor.

      (c) The Judicial Review Council shall submit its recommendations concerning the nomination for reappointment of any compensation commissioner whose term of office is about to expire, including a report of any investigation of such compensation commissioner by the council, to the Governor and to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary. The Judicial Review Council shall provide information to said committee concerning any complaint filed against such compensation commissioner and the investigation and disposition of such complaint, including, but not limited to, confidential information, in the same manner and subject to the same requirements as information provided under subdivisions (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of this section.

      (d) If a complaint against any such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate is received by the Judicial Review Council and the Judicial Review Council is unable to make its findings and complete its duties with respect to such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate prior to the expiration of the term of office of such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate, the Judicial Review Council shall not refuse to recommend such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate for reappointment based on such complaint, but shall report the fact of such complaint to the Governor and to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary.

      (P.A. 77-494, S. 12, 18; P.A. 85-586, S. 2, 3; P.A. 86-402, S. 7, 12, 13; P.A. 88-259; P.A. 89-238, S. 2, 4; 89-360, S. 37, 45; P.A. 92-160, S. 5, 19; P.A. 97-132, S. 6; P.A. 05-114, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 85-586 added provision re council's action when it has reason to believe a judge is guilty of misconduct, material neglect of duty or incompetence, effective upon certification by secretary of the state of the vote approving the constitutional amendment re establishment of commission to recommend candidates to governor for nomination as judges; P.A. 86-402 added provisions requiring recommendation to include report of any investigation of judge by council and prohibiting recommendation if council has reason to believe judge is guilty of judicial conduct under Sec. 51-51i and changed effective date of P.A. 85-586, S. 2 to June 9, 1986; P.A. 88-259 replaced prohibition on the council recommending a judge it has reason to believe is guilty of judicial conduct, material neglect of duty or incompetence with provision that it "may refuse to" recommend such judge, and added provision prohibiting recommendation if the council finds the judge has wilfully violated Sec. 51-39a or has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; P.A. 89-238 required judicial review council to submit recommendations and investigation reports to the judicial selection commission, provided commission shall not consider investigations which resulted in exoneration of judge; P.A. 89-360 added Subsec. (b) requiring judicial review council to submit recommendations and report of investigation re family support magistrate to the governor; P.A. 92-160 added provisions requiring judicial review council to (1) include any complaint filed against judge and its disposition in its recommendation re appointment or reappointment of judge, (2) make all complaint files available to chairman and ranking members of judiciary committee and (3) submit recommendation re reappointment of compensation commissioner to governor and judiciary committee; P.A. 97-132 added Subsec. (d) re inability of Judicial Review Council to make findings and complete duties re complaint prior to expiration of term of office of judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate, prohibition of refusal to recommend such judge, compensation commissioner or family support magistrate based on such complaint and report of such complaint to Governor and judiciary committee; P.A. 05-114 divided Subsec. (a) into Subdivs. (1), (2) and (3), amended Subsec. (a)(1) by replacing provision re report to House and Senate standing committees with provision re report to General Assembly judiciary committee, amended Subsec. (a)(2) by replacing provision re complaint files to be made available to committee chairmen and ranking members with provision re complaint files to be made available to General Assembly judiciary committee and adding requirements re information to be provided to said committee in cases involving admonishment, public censure or suspension of judge, made a technical change in Subsec. (a)(3), amended Subsec. (c) by replacing provision re report to House and Senate standing committees with provision re report to General Assembly judiciary committee and adding requirement re information to be provided to said committee under Subsec. (a)(1) and (2), and made technical changes in Subsec. (d).

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