Public Confidence and Confidentiality
Although the Supreme Judicial Court has the responsibility to supervise judges, it created the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability as an independent entity with the authority to investigate complaints against judges. Except for those judges who are members of the Committee, members of the judiciary do not participate in the review or investigation of complaints. Once a complaint is filed, the Committee compares the allegations made with the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct and decides if further information, more detailed investigation, or a hearing is needed.
To protect the privacy of individuals, including people who filed complaints and witnesses, all proceedings before the Committee, including hearings and deliberations are confidential. The complainant will be advised as to the outcome of the Committee’s investigation at its conclusion.
The confidentiality requirement does not in any way restrict the right of the complainant from publicly disclosing that he or she has made a complaint and the substance of their complaint.
When the Committee believes that a violation of the Code has occurred and decides to report a judge to the Supreme Judicial Court, all subsequent proceedings before the Court are not confidential and are open to the public.
In connection with the consideration of the reappointment of a person who is or has been a judge, the Committee provides information on any complaints made against that person and the Committee's disposition of those complaints upon written request from the Governor or the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary or other appropriate legislative committee, or from a United States governmental agency or official authorized to consider and act upon the nomination or appointment of the judge to United States government positions.
Each year, the Committee produces a report for the Supreme Judicial Court concerning its activities, general information about the types of investigations that were conducted, and statistical information. That report is published and will appear on this website.