On Monday, April 3, 2023, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced through a press release that the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct (CJC) is inviting the public to comment on the proposed amendments to Judicial Conduct Rules 1, 6, and 13.

The term “impounded” as used in the CJC’s Rules would be defined by the proposed amendment to Rule 1 and would read as:

As used herein, “impounded” shall have the same definition as “impoundment” in Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:15, Section 1(a)(i): “the act of keeping some or all of the papers, documents, or exhibits, or portions thereof, in a case separate and unavailable for public inspection.”

Rule 6 would do away with the requirement that a judge receives notice of a complaint against him or her via certified or registered mail, and instead call for the Commission to send notice of a complaint to a judge via regular mail and email, the regular mail will be sent to the judge’s last-known address and the email to the judge’s last-known official judicial email address.

Current Rule 6 provides:

Except as provided in Rules 6(D), 6(E), 6(F) and 6(G), the Executive Director shall notify the judge of the complaint promptly after it is docketed. Notification shall be by certified mail or registered mail, addressed to the judge’s last known place of residence, unless the judge has requested a different mailing address or the use of regular mail. Except where notice of the complaint is delayed or withheld pursuant to Rule 6(G), the Executive Director shall not conduct any inquiry into or investigation of the complaint until notice has been sent to the judge.

Rule 13A Direct Submission to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) would need to be impounded rather than submitted under seal in accordance with the proposed changes to Rule 13. Additionally, the suggested changes to Rule 13 would make it clear that any submissions made to the SJC in accordance with Rule 13A or Rule 13B are immediately impounded until further order from the SJC.

Any feedback on the suggested changes is welcome, according to the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Written comments should be sent to the Commission at [email protected]. Comments must be submitted on or before May 12, 2023.

The Commission will make all comments available to the public. The Commission on Judicial Conduct must submit the proposed amendments and any comments it receives to the Supreme Judicial Court for approval after the public comment period.

The current Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct Rules can be found on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts official website, while the proposed amendment can be found here.

 

Source: Commonwealth of Massachusetts website