What the Commission CAN Do

Authority

The Judicial Tenure Commission is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity, and for recommending discipline of judges by the Michigan Supreme Court. Its jurisdiction includes all active judicial officers, as that term is defined in the Michigan Court Rules.

The Commission's authority over judicial officers extends beyond the person's tenure in office if one of two requirements is met. First, if a Request for Investigation is filed while the individual holds the judicial position, the Commission retains jurisdiction even after the person leaves office. Second, if the conduct in question is related to a person's judicial office, the Commission has jurisdiction over the individual regardless of when the Request for Investigation is filed.

Judicial Misconduct

The Commission’s authority is limited to investigating alleged judicial misconduct and, if warranted, recommending the imposition of discipline by the Michigan Supreme Court.  Judicial misconduct usually involves conduct in conflict with the standards set forth in the Code of Judicial Conduct.  Some examples of judicial misconduct include intemperate courtroom conduct (such as yelling, rudeness, or profanity), improper communication with only one of the parties in a case, failure to disqualify in cases in which the judge has or appears to have a financial or personal interest in the outcome, delay in performing judicial duties, and public comment about the pending case.  Judicial misconduct also may involve improper off-the-bench conduct such as driving under the influence of alcohol or even soliciting money on behalf of charitable organizations.  The allegations made in each grievance are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Additional Resources

Please refer to the "Complaint Process," "FAQs," and "Legal Authority" tabs on the Home Page for more detailed information on the Commission's jurisdiction and procedures.