Illinois Courts Commission: What Makes for a Serious Case

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The Courts Commission is the seven-member body that decides on what, if any, discipline to impose for judicial misconduct, once it is charged by the Judicial Inquiry Board.

The commission has the power to:

  • Dismiss the complaint
  • Reprimand the judge
  • Censure the judge
  • Suspend the judge for a period of time
  • Remove the judge from office

The factors the commission weighs in deciding what if any discipline to impose:

Likely to lead to less severe discipline:

  • One-time isolated impropriety or part of a pattern
  • The nature, extent and frequency of the impropriety was not severe
  • The impropriety occurred outside the courtroom
  • The impropriety occurred in the judge’s private life
  • The judge acknowledges/recognizes the impropriety
  • Evidence the judge is changing his/her conduct
  • Does not impact judicial actions
  • Past reputation for integrity
  • Lack of past complaints about the judge
  • The misconduct has little impact on the respect/integrity of the judiciary
  • The judge has not exploited his/her position to satisfy personal desires
  • Likely to lead to more severe discipline:
  • The impropriety was part of a pattern
  • The nature, extent and frequency of the impropriety was more severe
  • The impropriety involved conduct inside the courtroom
  • The impropriety involved actions the judge took in his/her official capacity
  • The judge denies any misconduct
  • Evidence the judge continues to engage in conduct deemed inappropriate
  • Past complaints about the judge
  • The misconduct has great impact on the respect/integrity of the judiciary
  • The judge has exploited his/her position to satisfy personal desires

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