The Judicial Conduct Commission is the only entity authorized under the Kentucky Constitution to take disciplinary action against a sitting Kentucky judge. The Commission investigates and reviews complaints against judges and, when warranted, conducts hearings regarding the alleged misconduct where evidence is presented.
Possible sanctions for misconduct range from confidential reprimands for minor technical violations to removal from office for major misconduct. While the great majority of Kentucky's judges are committed to maintaining the high standards expected of the judiciary, an effective method of imposing sanctions on judges who engage in misconduct or wrongdoing is essential to the efficient operation of our judicial system. Commission proceedings provide a fair and objective means to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.
Since its inception, the Commission's actions have resulted in numerous judges being removed from the bench, being involuntarily retired or being publicly disciplined. The Commission has privately disciplined many more.
The Commission is composed of six voting members who serve four-year terms. The members include one representative and one alternate from District Court, Circuit Court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Bar Association, and two citizen representatives appointed by the Governor who are neither judges nor attorneys.
The Commission functions under rules established by the Supreme Court of Kentucky and has authority over judges, trial commissioners, domestic relations commissioners, master commissioners and attorneys who are candidates for judicial office.