Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics?

The constitutionally created Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics handles complaints about the ethical conduct of judges in Wyoming. 

The Commission consists of twelve members:

2. What types of complaints can the Commission address?

3. Who can file a complaint?

A complaint may be filed by anyone who believes that a Wyoming judge has violated any Canon(s) of the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct.

4. How is a complaint filed?

To file a complaint, first contact the Commission  to obtain a verification form that must be filed with your complaint. Or you may download the form from the Commission's website. 

The Commission also has authority to initiate its own inquiry into possible judicial misconduct.

5. How is a complaint investigated?

After a complaint has been reviewed and considered by each member of an investigatory panel, the panel votes on whether to commence a formal investigation or dismiss the complaint. 

The investigatory panel may (1) contact the judge complained of and request a response; and if after the judge's response the panel believes further investigation is necessary, (2) instigate a preliminary investigation; and if after the completion of the preliminary investigation the panel believes further action is necessary, (3) refer the complaint to an adjudicatory panel for further proceedings including, if necessary, a formal hearing.

6. What actions can the Commission take?

The commission may: 

7. What actions can the Commission NOT take?

The Commission cannot:

8. What disciplinary actions can the Commission take?

9. What is judicial misconduct?

Judicial misconduct can include, but is not limited to:

improper consideration and treatment of counsel, witnesses, and others; improper bench conduct such as drunkenness

allowing family, social or political relationships to influence any judicial decision or matter relating to the administration of justice; conflict of interest; giving or receiving gifts, bribes, loans, or favors

misappropriation or misuse of public employees, property or funds; improper comments, accusations or associations; interference with or influence on a pending or impending lawsuit; lewd or corrupt personal life; use of judicial position to extort or embezzle private funds

excessive use of alcohol or drugs

failure to require staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction to exercise proper decorum, behavior, and attitudes; failure to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice in the performance of official duties

10. What can a complainant expect?

All verified complaints are assigned to an investigatory panel. This panel is composed of three or more Commission members, including at a minimum one citizen member, one attorney member, and one judge member. All remaining Commission members may serve as the adjudicatory panel for that complaint should further action be necessary. Panel memberships rotate. 

Judges are notified of complaints filed with the Commission only when it is necessary to conduct an investigation. A copy of the complaint is sent to the judge when an inquiry is made by the investigatory panel. 

Individuals who file a complaint with the Commission will receive written correspondence indicating what action the Commission has taken on their complaint.

11. Confidentiality

All matters before the Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics are confidential. 

Any violation of the confidentiality provision constitutes an act of contempt and is punishable as such. 

A recommendation for discipline which is filed by the Commission with the Wyoming Supreme Court loses its confidentiality upon filing.