The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission was established in 1973 to consider complaints of misconduct or disability against judges of the state’s General Court of Justice and, where appropriate, to make recommendations for public discipline of:
- District court judges
- Superior court judges
- Appellate court judges and justices
The offices of commissioner and deputy commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission are also under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission.
The Commission also serves as the judicial ethics advisory committee with respect to the Code of Judicial Conduct and is authorized to provide formal and informal advisory opinions regarding application of the Code to specific situations.
The Commission is not authorized to consider complaints against:
- Administrative law judges
- Clerks of court
- Court employees or personnel
- District attorneys
- Federal judges
- Private attorneys
ProcessThe Commission is authorized to receive written complaints from citizens concerned with misconduct or disability of a judge and to investigate those complaints. After a complaint has been investigated and the judge has been given a due process hearing, the Commission may recommend to the Supreme Court of North Carolina that the judge be disciplined.
Based on the Commission's recommendation, the Supreme Court may remove a judge for mental or physical incapacity interfering with performance of duties when the incapacity is, or is likely to become, permanent.
All proceedings before the Commission are confidential, and all papers and pleadings filed with the Commission remain confidential unless the Supreme Court issues an order of public discipline, or in the case of disability, order of suspension or removal.
The CommissionThe 14-member Commission is composed of:
- Six judges appointed by the Chief Justice
- Two Court of Appeals judges
- Two Superior Court judges
- Two District Court judges
- Four judges appointed by the General Assembly: one District Court and one Superior Court judge upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and one District Court and one Superior Court judge upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- Four citizen members who are not judges or lawyers
- Two appointed by the Governor
- Two appointed by the General Assembly: one upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and one upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
Term of ServiceMembers serve a six-year term with the exception of the Court of Appeals judges who operate as the chair and vice-chair of the Commission and serve at the pleasure of the Chief Justice.