Contact the Committee

All correspondence to the Committee must be sent to:

Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability
P.O. Box 8058
Portland, ME 04104-8058

To reach the Committee by phone:

(207) 780-4364

PLEASE NOTE: The Committee cannot be contacted by email.

 

The Committee investigates complaints, holds hearings, makes findings, reports misconduct or disability, and recommends disciplinary action to the Supreme Judicial Court. The committee is not a substitute for an appeal or other remedy in the litigation itself.

The Committee cannot intervene in or change court proceedings or decisions in any way, and it should not be relied on for that purpose.

If you disagree with or wish to contest a ruling in your case it may be appropriate for you to file an appeal.

Click here for more information about the appeal process.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability?

  2. If I believe the Judge acted unfairly, can the Committee help me get my case thrown out, heard by another judge, or reversed?

  3. How do I get the decision in my case reviewed?

  4. Who serves on the Committee?

  5. Who appoints the members of the committee?

  6. How can I become a member of the Committee?

  7. Who provides staffing for the Committee?

  8. What is judicial misconduct?

  9. How do I file a complaint?

  10. What happens to a complaint after it is filed?

  11. How long does it take to resolve a complaint?

  12. Will I be contacted about the outcome of my complaint?

  13. How do I contact the Committee?

  14. Can I contact the Committee by email?

  15. Can I submit the complaint form electronically or by email?

What is the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability?

The Committee is the body charged with investigating allegations of judicial misconduct.

The Committee was created by an order of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to receive and investigate complaints of misconduct against Maine judges, with the objective of enforcing high standards of conduct.

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If I believe the Judge acted unfairly, can the Committee help me get my case thrown out, heard by another judge, or reversed?

No. The Committee process does not replace the standard trial and appellate processes available within the court rules of procedure.

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How do I get the decision in my case reviewed?

If you are dissatisfied with an order or judgment (decision) issued by a judge, you may file a motion with the same judge asking him or her to reconsider his or her decision. In addition, most people have a right to appeal the decision to another court. There are time limits for such motions and appeals, so it is best to read the rules of procedure to determine when, where, and how to file and to seek legal advice if you need help. Appeals are filed with the court that issued the original decision, and are then reviewed by an appellate court. If you choose not to ask for reconsideration or take an appeal as allowed by court rules, the decision stands.

More about the Court process can be found in A Citizen’s Guide to Maine Courts and information about appeals can be found in A Citizen’s Guide to Appeals

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Who serves on the committee?

The Committee is composed of seven members and four alternate members. Two of the members are judges (currently, one each from the Superior and District Courts), two are lawyers, and three including the chairperson, are members of the public. The alternates (one Superior Court Justice, one District Court Judge, one lawyer and one public member) participate when a member is unable to participate. All members serve for one six-year term. A Committee List can be found on this site.

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Who appoints the members of the committee?

The judicial members of the Committee are appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court, and the lawyer and public members are appointed by the Court upon the recommendation of the Governor.

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How can I become a member of the Committee?

Individuals should send letters of interest to the appointing authority.

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Who provides staffing for the Committee?

The Committee currently employs a part-time Executive Secretary, who is a lawyer, and an Administrative Assistant: Cabanne Howard, Esq., Executive Secretary and Counsel, and Arthur O. Brown III, Administrative Assistant and Secretary. They can be reached by calling (207)780-4364.

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What is judicial misconduct?

Judicial misconduct is any violation of the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct, which may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • failure to perform duties impartially and diligently,

  • failure to dispose of the business of the court promptly,

  • acting in a case when the judge has a conflict of interest, and

  • other conduct which reflects adversely on the integrity of the judiciary.

Judicial misconduct does not include:

  • rulings on the law and/or the facts,

  • matters within the discretion of the trial court,

  • rulings on the admissibility of evidence,

  • rulings involving alimony, child support, custody or visitation rights,

  • sentences imposed by the Court, and

  • believing or disbelieving witnesses.
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How do I file a complaint?

Write a letter to the Committee, or use the complaint form provided by the Committee. Sign the letter or complaint form. See the Complaint Information page for more details.

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What happens to a complaint after it’s filed?

When the complaint is first filed, the Committee compares the allegations in the complaint with the Code of Judicial Conduct. If there is no violation of the Code, the complaint will be dismissed without further action.

If further investigation is needed, the judge will be asked to provide a response. An investigation will begin and a hearing may be held.

When the Committee finds that there was misconduct serious enough to warrant formal discipline, it reports the complaint to the Supreme Judicial Court, which makes the final determination of whether there was misconduct and what discipline should be imposed.

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How long does it take to resolve a complaint?

It takes approximately three months to resolve most complaints. some complaints require more time.

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How do I contact the committee?

To reach the committee by phone:

(207) 780-4364

All mail should be sent to:

Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability
P.O. Box 8058
Portland, ME 04104-8058

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Can I contact the committee via email?

No. All contact must be via phone or regular mail.

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Can I submit the complaint form electronically?

No. The committee is not permitted to accept electronically filed complaints.

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