Filing Complaint Against Judicial Misconduct

Author's Note:

This is easy to do. I did one years ago and was successful!!!!

Federal Judicial Conduct


Below is a description of the process for filing complaints about misconduct by federal judges.

Complaints against federal judges are filed under the Judicial Improvements Act of 2002.  28 U.S.C. 351-364. (The Judicial Improvements Act replaced the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 (28 U.S.C 372(c)) effective November 2, 2002. Although certain additions were made, the substance of the former Act remains intact.)  Under the Act, any person may file a written complaint alleging that a judge has engaged in "conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts" or "is unable to discharge all duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability."

Complaints are filed with the chief judge of the court of appeals in the circuit in which the judge sits, through the clerk of the court. After reviewing the complaint, the chief judge either:

Most complaints are dismissed, and the most frequent ground for dismissing a complaint is that it is "directly related to the merits of a decision or procedural ruling." See  The complainant can petition to the circuit judicial council for review if the chief judge dismisses a complaint or concludes a proceeding.

If a complaint is not dismissed, a special committee is appointed to investigate the facts alleged in the complaint and file a written report with findings and a recommendation with the circuit judicial council. The council may conduct any additional investigation it considers necessary. The council is directed to take such action "as is appropriate to assure the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts within the circuit . . ." The judicial council may:

The complainant and the subject of a complaint can petition the United States Judicial Conference for review of any action taken by a circuit judicial council.

Federal judges cannot be removed under the Act, although the Judicial Conference can refer a complaint to the House of Representatives for consideration of impeachment.

Each circuit has adopted rules governing complaints of judicial misconduct and disability (see, e.g., For further information regarding complaints against federal judges, contact:

First Circuit (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico)
Office of the Clerk
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2500
Boston, MA 02210