The following are general guidelines relating to the Commission’s investigations. You may wish to review the Complaint Process and FAQs pages (which may be accessed through the Home Page) for additional information relating to the Commission’s procedures.
Anyone can file a complaint against a judicial officer in Michigan. Just click on the "Request for Investigation Form and Instructions" tab at the left to be directed to the page which contains the form (you will then have to click on "Request for Investigation" in the body of the text to open a PDF version of the form). Please note that only judges, magistrates, and referees who serve in the Michigan state court system fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission, so it may not act concerning federal judges, administrative law judges, and attorneys.
Further, regardless of the resolution of the matter, the Commission will not return or photocopy materials that are provided to it by the grievant, or produce documents that are otherwise obtained in the course of the investigation process. The grievant should maintain copies of the materials submitted to the Commission.
The Commission may institute an investigation at the request of the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court or the State Court Administrator. The Commission may also consider complaints made anonymously, if submitted in writing including an explanation why the person is not disclosing his or her identity. It may open a file on its own if it learns of facts in other ways, such as news articles or information received in the course of an independent investigation.
After a request for investigation is filed, the Commission and its staff act as expeditiously as possible yet give every complaint careful attention. The Commission determines the scope of the staff’s investigation. If the Commission needs additional facts or information from the grievant, a member of the staff will contact the grievant. Once the staff's investigation is complete, the matter is forwarded 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. As the Commission lacks authority to change a judicial decision, a grievant who is a litigant should not postpone a review of appellate options while waiting for the outcome of a Commission investigation.
After the Commission's decision, the grievant will be advised of the resolution in writing (but not details about the investigation or decision, based on the confidential nature of the Commission's operations). For additional information on the Commission procedures, including common questions asked about its investigations, please refer to the Investigation and Complaint Process and FAQs ("Frequently Asked Questions") pages of this site, which may be accessed through the Home Page.
Please be reminded that the Commission is not a court, so it may not review legal or factual decisions of judicial officers, and it may not intervene in cases. The Commission does not have authority to direct judicial officers to take any action in a case.