CJEO maintains strict confidentiality. All communications with CJEO are confidential unless specifically excepted under the rules governing the committee or waived by a judicial officer or candidate for judicial office who has requested advice. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(h).) CJEO’s published advisory opinions do not disclose names or identifying information under any circumstances. All of the committee’s deliberations, operations, proceedings, and work product are also confidential. In addition, all records of the committee, including requests, suggestions, inquiries, replies, circulated drafts, documents, writings, files, communications with staff, and the work product of the committee’s staff are maintained as strictly confidential and will not be disclosed outside of the committee. All information electronically gathered by the committee, including on this website, in all CJEO email accounts, and in the electronic files and email accounts of the committee members and CJEO staff, is maintained as confidential using available electronic security applications and other means. (CJEO rule 5(2).)
CJEO maintains internal confidentiality so that the identities of individuals requesting opinions and advice are not known to committee members during deliberations. (CJEO rule 5(d).)
Confidentiality may be waived by a judicial officer or candidate for judicial office who has requested advice by contacting the CJEO offices. All waivers must be in writing. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(h)(3).) A waiver submitted by a judicial officer or candidate allows internal disclosure of the requesting party to committee members during deliberations. Judicial officers and candidates may also waive confidentiality by asserting reliance on a CJEO opinion or advice they requested in judicial or attorney discipline proceedings. The effect of such waivers is to allow disclosure by CJEO of the CJEO opinion or advice it provided to a requesting judge or candidate in those proceedings. In no case will CJEO disclose or release the names or identifying information of individuals requesting an opinion or advice outside of those proceedings. In no case will the confidentiality of the committee’s deliberations or records be waived.
Public Comment Exception
An exception to the strict confidentiality CJEO maintains for all communications is provided for comments submitted by the public in response to an invitation to comment issued by CJEO on a draft formal CJEO opinion. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(h)(1).) Such comments from the public are deemed not to be confidential and may be posted on this website for public review at the committee’s discretion. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(h)(4).)