Making a Complaint about an Arizona Judge
Anyone can file a complaint against a judge. Click on complaint form for the commission's official complaint form. A letter will be treated as a complaint if it contains the information required on the official form. There is no charge for filing a complaint.
A complaint consists of a statement of facts describing the judge’s alleged misconduct and listing the names of witnesses who can verify the facts. The complainant is not required to provide court files, but may attach copies of documents the complainant believes may help the commission understand the complaint.
Complaints must be mailed or delivered to the commission’s office. All complaints are numbered and screened in the order in which they are received. The commission's investigation may take several months, depending on the complexity of the matter and the commission's caseload.
The commission accepts electronically submitted complaints where the complainant uses the commission's complaint form, attaches a PDF copy of that form to an e-mail, and sends the e-mail to the commission at email@example.com. Staff may reject electronically submitted complaints that do not meet these criteria and require their resubmission in the foregoing format.
The complainant and the judge will be notified by mail of the commission's decision at the conclusion of the investigation. If either disagrees with the commission's decision, he or she may file a motion for reconsideration within fifteen days of the mailing of the commission's order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to use the commission's complaint form?
The commission's complaint form should be used, if possible, but a letter is acceptable as long as it contains all of the information requested on the complaint form.
Will my identity be revealed to the judge?
As a general rule, yes. The commission notifies judges about complaints unless there is good reason to withhold this information.
Will my complaint be made public?
Yes. If your complaint results in discipline or formal charges, your name and the judge’s name and court will be made public. If the complaint is dismissed, however, your name and the judge’s name and court will be removed from the public copy of your complaint.
Will filing a complaint with the commission change the decision in my lawsuit?
No. Commission proceedings have no effect on judicial decisions or appeals.
Will my complaint automatically disqualify the judge from further involvement in my case?
No. Filing a complaint does not automatically disqualify a judge from hearing a case.
Should I wait to hear from the commission before I appeal my case?
No. The time allowed for an appeal may expire, and the commission cannot grant extensions for filing appeals.
Does the commission act on all complaints?
Yes. Every complaint is reviewed by commission staff and the commission.
If my complaint is justified, will the commission tell me how the judge was disciplined?
Yes. A copy of the order containing the commission's decision will be sent to you at the close of the case.
If I have a question about the commission's jurisdiction, authority, or procedures, is there someone I can talk to?
Commission staff can provide general information about the commission and the process used in investigating and resolving complaints about judges. Commission staff cannot provide legal advice; cannot offer an opinion on whether to file a complaint; and cannot offer an opinion as to whether particular conduct amounts to judicial misconduct. The commission, not staff, decides what action to take on any complaint. Commission staff can be reached at 602-452-3200.
Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct
1501 W. Washington Street, Suite 229
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org