Preliminary Investigation

Commission Review of Complaints
Upon receipt, the staff carefully reviews each properly executed and notarized Request for Investigation form, along with any supporting documents or other evidence. (If a form or other submission is not correctly prepared based on requirements of the Michigan Court Rules, the staff will issue a letter to the person who made the submission explaining the deficiencies.) The staff also reviews the court file if necessary, and requests from the grievant any additional information needed to evaluate the allegations, including but not limited to transcripts or videos of court proceedings. The staff may not pursue any further investigation without authorization by the Commission.

Based on an assessment of the initial information, the staff prepares a report for the Commission recommending a course of action. Each grievance is considered and voted upon by the Commission. It determines whether the matter is within its jurisdiction and whether sufficient facts exist to warrant further investigation.

Timing of submissions and consideration by Commission:  Requests for Investigation must be processed by the Commission staff, and investigated by a staff attorney, before forwarding to the Commission for consideration. As that can take several weeks (or longer), the Commission usually does not consider Requests for Investigation at the meeting immediately after they are submitted by a grievant.

Investigation at the Commission’s Direction
When the Commission determines that a complaint warrants review beyond the initial investigation, the Commission directs the staff to investigate the matter and report back. The Commission will give the staff specific instructions on how to conduct the additional investigation. It may include contacting witnesses, reviewing court records and other documents, observing courtroom proceedings, and conducting such other inquiry as the issues may warrant. 

At times the judge may be asked to comment on the allegations, in which case the judge is given a copy of the grievance as part of the investigation. The Commission may limit the inquiry to the judge to a particular aspect of the grievance. The judge’s response is then considered along with all other information. A judge's comment is required under MCR 9.223(B) prior to the disposition of a grievance as provided in MCR 9.223(A)(2)-(5).