JRC: Complaints and Council Procedures

Complaints and Council Procedures

From the Information Handbook

V.

COMPLAINTS

The following is a brief description of the complaint process. A more detailed technical description is set forth in Section VIII, Council Procedures.

A complaint may be filed by anyone or initiated by the Council itself. There is no fee for filing complaints. The complaint must be on a form provided by the Council, and it must be sworn to before a notary or other officer. A complaint must contain the full name of the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate complained of, the specific court involved, the name of the case, if any, and specific dates on which conduct allegedly occurred. The complainant may attach to the complaint any documents or material thought to be relevant.

The complaint should set forth with particularity the facts upon which the claim of misconduct is based. The complaint should contain any other information that would assist an investigator in checking the facts, such as the presence of a court reporter or other witness and their names and addresses.

Documents such as excerpts from transcripts may be submitted as evidence of the behavior complained about; if they are, the statement of facts should refer to the specific pages in the documents on which relevant material appears.

If the Council receives a complaint that does not use a form or is not sworn to, it will not be accepted. It will be returned to the complainant with advice as to the proper procedure to be followed.

Complaints should be typewritten, if possible. If not typewritten, they must be legible.

Complaint forms may be obtained by writing or telephoning the Council office.

Judicial Review Council
505 Hudson Street, Room 116
Hartford, CT 06126-0099
Phone: (860) 566-5424
Toll Free In-State 1-866-222-6075

Once a complaint, in proper form, is received, it is acknowledged and forwarded to each member of the Council.

The investigation of a complaint may include the review of transcripts and other documents, interviews of the complainant and other witnesses, and a confidential hearing.

All proceedings of the Council, except a public hearing, are confidential and not open to the complainant, public, or press.

A complaint may be dismissed at any time during the investigation. A decision to issue a private admonishment may be made after a hearing where no probable cause is found. More serious penalties are imposed only after a guilty finding has been made following a public hearing.

A complainant and the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate are notified of a dismissal or admonishment. More serious penalties are made public.

All decisions of the Council are final and not subject to review, except rights of appeal granted to the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate by statute.

A sample complaint form is included in Section X.


VIII.

COUNCIL PROCEDURES

The following are procedures followed by the Council in handling complaints. The procedures are required by statute or regulation or adopted to provide a fair and just consideration of each complaint.

1. Complaints made to the Council shall be on forms available at each Superior Court Clerk's Office, each Workers' Compensation Commission District Office, or from the office of the executive director, Judicial Review Council.

2. The complaint shall be typewritten or hand-printed, shall be signed under oath by the complainant, and shall be sent to the Council at its address, P.O. Box 260099, Hartford, Connecticut 06126-0099.

3. All complaints shall be specific as to the full name of the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate, dates of occurrences of alleged conduct, conduct complained of, name of the case, if any, and location of the court.

4. The Council shall, not later than five days after receipt of a complaint, notify the complainant of its receipt.

5. The Council shall, not later than five days after receipt of a 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.

6. The judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate may elect, within 20 days after receipt of the notice, to send a written reply to the Council and shall elect (a) that any investigation of probable cause shall be open to the public rather than closed as provided by statute and (b) whether to appear to be heard and to offer information in accordance with section 51-51l of the General Statutes.

7. Each member of the Council shall be furnished a copy of each complaint and supporting documents, if any, within five days of its receipt.

8. The Council shall review the complaint, including any attachments, and determine (a) whether it alleges conduct under section 51-51i of the General Statutes by a judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate, as defined in section 51-51h, and (b) whether such complaint has been brought within the time limited by section 51-51l (d), 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.

9. The Council shall review its records of other complaints against the respondent to determine whether there is a pattern of conduct which may warrant the need for further investigation as to whether or not conduct under section 51-51i of the General Statutes has occurred.

10. The executive director may, under the direction of the Council, investigate any complaint filed pursuant to section 51-51l of the General Statutes and present evidence obtained pursuant to any such investigation to the Council, and shall seek whatever further documentation or information as may be directed by the Council.

11. The investigation shall consist of a review of the complaint, any supporting documents accompanying the complaint, transcripts, if any, or other information or evidence presented to the Council, and the judge's, compensation commissioner's, or family support magistrate's reply to the complaint, if any.

12. If, during the investigation, the Council decides that the facts disclose that a specific or particular act or conduct under section 51-51i of the General Statutes may have occurred, the complaint shall be the subject of a confidential hearing to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that said act or conduct occurred, otherwise it shall be dismissed.

13. Probable cause for these purposes shall be defined as reasonable grounds to believe that conduct as defined by section 51-51i of the General Statutes has occurred and a particular judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate has committed such conduct.

14. The hearing shall be confidential, i.e. not open to the public or the complainant unless waived by the respondent.

15. The hearing shall be scheduled at a time and place to be determined by the Council, but only after reasonable notice to the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate.

16. Such notice shall be sent to the respondent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, with a copy of said notice being sent to any counsel for the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate.

17. Such notice shall notify the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate that he or she may attend the hearing, be represented by counsel, may elect to testify, may call witnesses, present evidence and may examine or cross examine witnesses, and shall contain the areas of conduct that will be the subject of the hearing.

18. A record shall be made of the hearing.

19. Any reporter or language interpreter present at the hearing shall be sworn as to confidentiality.

20. If probable cause is not found, the complaint shall be dismissed.

21. If probable cause is not found, but the Council finds that 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 inform the complainant, if any, that an admonishment was issued, provided the admonishment is the result of misconduct alleged in the complaint, and the substance of the admonishment shall not be disclosed.

22. If, after the confidential hearing, probable cause is found, the complaint shall be the subject of a public hearing conducted in accordance with section 51-51k-8 of the Council's regulations. (See Section XI)

23. Upon completion of the investigation, the Council shall, not later than three business days after such termination, notify the complainant, if any, and the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate that the investigation has been terminated and the results thereof. Such notice shall contain the reasons for the termination with as much specificity as the confidentiality requirements allow.

24. If, after a public hearing, the Council finds the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate not guilty of such conduct, it shall exonerate him or her.

25. If the Council exonerates a judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate, a copy of the proceedings and decision of the Council shall be furnished to the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate and the complainant.

26. If the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate is found guilty of such conduct, the Council may (1) publicly censure the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate, (2) suspend the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate for a definite term not to exceed one year, (3) refer the matter to the supreme court with a recommendation that the judge or family support magistrate be suspended for a period longer than one year, (4) refer the matter to the supreme court with a recommendation that the judge or family support magistrate be removed from office or to the governor with a recommendation that the compensation commissioner be removed from office.

27. If public censure is recommended, the chairperson shall prepare and forward the censure in writing to the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate being censured, the chief justice, the chief court administrator, the joint standing committee on judiciary, and the complainant, at least ten days prior to the publication of the censure. The censure shall be a public record as defined in section 1-19. An appeal from the decision of the Council for public censure shall automatically stay the publication of the censure.

28. The Council shall make its findings and decisions in writing and all such findings and decisions shall be compiled and indexed.

29. The Council shall, not later than thirty days after the close of a public hearing, publish its findings together with a memorandum of its reasons therefore.

30. Any decision of the Council, made at any stage of the proceedings, shall be final and shall not be reviewable, except that a judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate may appeal any decision of the Council as provided in sections 51-51r and 51-51n(b) of the General Statutes.





Content Last Modified on 7/29/2019 10:11:17 AM