The commission shall prosecute any case of misconduct or permanent disability in which it files a formal complaint or a petition.
Insofar as practicable, the procedures applicable to civil actions apply to proceedings under ss. 757.81
after the filing of a complaint or petition.
See also JC
, Wis. adm. code.
Request for jury; panel. 757.87(1)(1)
After the commission has found probable cause that a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner has engaged in misconduct or has a permanent disability, and before the commission files a formal complaint or a petition under s. 757.85 (5)
, the commission may, by a majority of its total membership not disqualified from voting, request a jury hearing. If a jury is not requested, the matter shall be heard by a panel constituted under sub. (3)
. The vote of each member on the question of a jury request shall be recorded and shall be available for public inspection under s. 19.35
after the formal complaint or the petition is filed.
If a jury is requested under sub. (1)
, the hearing under s. 757.89
shall be before a jury selected under s. 805.08
. A jury shall consist of 6 persons, unless the commission specifies a greater number, not to exceed 12. Five-sixths of the jurors must agree on all questions which must be answered to arrive at a verdict. A court of appeals judge shall be selected by the chief judge of the court of appeals to preside at the hearing, on the basis of experience as a trial judge and length of service on the court of appeals.
A judicial conduct and permanent disability panel shall consist of either 3 court of appeals judges or 2 court of appeals judges and one reserve judge. Each judge may be selected from any court of appeals district including the potential selection of all judges from the same district. The chief judge of the court of appeals shall select the judges and designate which shall be presiding judge.
A record shall be kept of any hearing on a formal complaint or a petition. The allegations of the complaint or petition must be proven to a reasonable certainty by evidence that is clear, satisfactory and convincing. The hearing shall be held in the county where the judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner resides unless the presiding judge changes venue for cause shown or unless the parties otherwise agree. If the hearing is by a panel, the panel shall make findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations regarding appropriate discipline for misconduct or appropriate action for permanent disability and file the findings, conclusions and recommendations with the supreme court. If a jury hearing is requested under s. 757.87 (1)
, the presiding judge shall instruct the jury regarding the law applicable to judicial misconduct or permanent disability, as appropriate. The presiding judge shall file the jury verdict and his or her recommendations regarding appropriate discipline for misconduct or appropriate action for permanent disability with the supreme court.
Supreme court; disposition.
The supreme court shall review the findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations under s. 757.89
and determine appropriate discipline in cases of misconduct and appropriate action in cases of permanent disability. The rules of the supreme court applicable to civil cases in the supreme court govern the review proceedings under this section.
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1983 a. 378
Confidentiality of proceedings. 757.93(1)(a)
All proceedings under ss. 757.81
relating to misconduct or permanent disability prior to the filing of a petition or formal complaint by the commission are confidential unless a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner waives the right to confidentiality in writing to the commission. Any such waiver does not affect the confidentiality of the identity of a person providing information under par. (b)
Any person who provides information to the commission concerning possible misconduct or permanent disability may request that the commission not disclose his or her identity to the judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner prior to the filing of a petition or a formal complaint by the commission.
If prior to the filing of a formal complaint or a petition an investigation of possible misconduct or permanent disability becomes known to the public, the commission may issue statements in order to confirm the pendency of the investigation, to clarify the procedural aspects of the disciplinary proceedings, to explain the right of the judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner to a fair hearing without prejudgment, to state that the judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner denies the allegations, to state that an investigation has been completed and no probable cause was found or to correct public misinformation.
The petition or formal complaint filed under s. 757.85
by the commission and all subsequent hearings thereon are public.
This section does not preclude the commission, in its sole discretion, from:
Referring to the director of state courts information relating to an alleged delay or an alleged temporary disability of a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner.
Referring to an appropriate law enforcement authority information relating to possible criminal conduct or otherwise cooperating with a law enforcement authority in matters of mutual interest.
Referring to an attorney disciplinary agency information relating to the possible misconduct or incapacity of an attorney or otherwise cooperating with an attorney disciplinary agency in matters of mutual interest.
Disclosing to the chief justice or director of state courts information relating to matters affecting the administration of the courts.
See also s. JC 3.01
, Wis. adm. code.
Privilege; immunity. 757.94(1)(1)
A complaint or communication alleging judicial misconduct or permanent disability with the commission, executive director, commission staff or panel and testimony in an investigation under this section is privileged.
A presiding judge, executive director or a member of the commission, commission staff or panel is immune from civil liability for any conduct in the course of the person's official duties under ss. 757.81
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1983 a. 27
Temporary suspension by supreme court.
The supreme court may, following the filing of a formal complaint or a petition by the commission, prohibit a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner from exercising the powers of a judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner pending final determination of the proceedings.
The commission shall issue an annual report on or before April 1 of each year which provides information on the number and nature of complaints received and their disposition, and the nature of actions it has taken privately concerning the conduct of judges or court commissioners. Information contained in the annual report shall be presented in a manner consistent with the confidentiality requirements under s. 757.93
. The report shall be filed with the chief justice of the supreme court, the governor and the presiding officers of the senate and the assembly.
A judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner against whom a petition alleging permanent disability is filed by the commission shall be reimbursed for reasonable attorney fees if the judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner is found not to have a permanent disability. A judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner against whom a formal complaint alleging misconduct is filed by the commission and who is found not to have engaged in misconduct may be reimbursed for reasonable attorney fees. Any judge or circuit or supplemental court commissioner seeking recovery of attorney fees authorized or required under this section shall file a claim with the claims board under s. 16.53