The Courts Commission is vested with the authority to adjudicate complaints filed against Illinois state judges by the Judicial Inquiry Board. The Courts Commission does not accept or investigate grievances against Illinois judges and does not file complaints against Illinois judges. Those functions are performed exclusively by the Judicial Inquiry Board, which is a separate and independent state agency from the Courts Commission.
If the Judicial Inquiry Board determines to file a complaint against an Illinois judge, that complaint is filed with the Courts Commission. The complaint will be prosecuted by the Judicial Inquiry Board, and the judge may retain representation in his or her defense. The Commission will hear the evidence and determine whether and what discipline should be imposed upon the judge. The Commission may reprimand, censure, suspend (with or without pay), retire, and remove a judge from office.
All pleadings, orders, and other documents filed in a Commission matter are public record, unless otherwise ordered by the Commission. While a case is pending before the Commission, those documents can be found on the Current Docket page of this website. Pre-hearing conferences and hearings before the Courts Commission are open to the public, unless otherwise ordered by the Commission, and will be announced on the Current Docket page.
Typical Progression of a Commission Case
When the Judicial Inquiry Board files a complaint with the Courts Commission, the Commission will assign the case a matter number and add the case to the Commission's docket. The Commission will also select a Commissioner to serve as the Case Manager, who will manage the case until the final hearing.
After the judge is properly served with a copy of the complaint, he or she will file an answer or responsive pleading. If the case is not disposed of through responsive pleadings at this stage, the parties will engage in discovery, and the Case Manager will hold pre-hearing conferences to discuss the status of the case.
The case will eventually be set for a public hearing, where the parties will present their evidence to the Commission. After the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission will determine whether the Judicial Inquiry Board proved the allegations contained in its complaint by clear and convincing evidence. If so, the Commission will determine whether and what discipline to impose upon the judge. The concurrence of at least four Commissioners is required for a decision.
The Commission will then issue a written Decision. The Decisions of the Commission are final and will be published on the Commission's website.