CJEO has collected the following sources of support and practical guidance for presiding and supervising judges in the performance of their duties.

CJEO Advisory Opinions of Interest to Presiding and Supervising Trial Court Judges

CJEO has issued several advisory opinions based on requests from presiding and supervising judges and has also provided more general advice that may assist presiding and supervising judges in responding to ethical questions raised by the judges on their courts. The following index provides quick access to CJEO advisory opinions that may be of interest to presiding and supervising judges.

CJP Disciplinary Decisions Involving Misconduct by Presiding and Supervising Judges

CJP publishes a compendium of case summaries of private and public discipline involving the breach of judicial duties by presiding or supervising judges. Notable decisions include:

  • Public Admonishment of Judge John L. Fielder (2015) [Supervising judge exceeded his authority by summoning an attorney into his chambers and suggesting that a declaration filed by the attorney as part of an ex parte application to disqualify another judge should be toned down before filing]

  • Public Admonishment of Judge Dale A. Reinholtsen (2015) [Presiding judge failed to decide numerous matters within 90 days of submission even though, as the presiding judge, he had the ability to assign and reassign cases and to arrange assistance to ensure that matters were timely decided]

  • Public Admonishment of Judge John D. Kirihara (2012) [Presiding judge failed to decide matters with 90 days of submission, failed to circulate a list of submitted matters to other judges pursuant to Rule of Court 10.603(c)(3), and allowed false salary affidavits to be filed on his behalf]

  • Public Admonishment of Former Judge Robert A. Schnider (2009) [Family law supervising judge failed to adequately supervise a subordinate judicial officer who had numerous cases under submission for more than 90 days and failed to promptly respond to complaints against that subordinate judicial officer]

CJP has issued a disciplinary decision involving misconduct by an administrative presiding justice that is instructive for trial court judges:

  • Public Admonishment of Justice Vance W. Raye (2022) [Appellate justice delayed in deciding a significant number of appellate matters over a lengthy period and failed to exercise his administrative and supervisory authority to provide court-wide procedures for the timely resolution of appellate matters]

CJP Disciplinary Decisions Involving Misconduct by Judges Requiring Action by Presiding or Supervising Judges

Several CJP disciplinary decisions include instances in which presiding or supervising judges have been involved in addressing or witnessing a subordinate judicial officer’s misconduct. Noteworthy cases include:

Other Resources for Presiding and Supervising Judges

  • California Rules of Court

    • Rule 10.603 (Authority and duties of presiding judge)

    • Rule 10.610 (Duties of court executive officer)

    • Rule 10.703 (Subordinate judicial officers: complaints and notice requirements)

  • California Code of Judicial Ethics

Presiding and supervising judges must be familiar with the entire Code of Judicial Ethics and the following canons are particularly relevant to them:

    • Canon 3C(4): “ A judge with supervisory authority for the judicial performance of other judges shall take reasonable measures to ensure the prompt disposition of matters before them and the proper performance of their other judicial responsibilities.”

    • Canon 3D(1): “Whenever a judge has reliable information that another judge has violated any provision of the Code of Judicial Ethics, that judge shall take appropriate corrective action, which may include reporting the violation to the appropriate authority.”

    • Canon 3D(2): “Whenever a judge has personal knowledge, or concludes in a judicial decision, that a lawyer has committed misconduct or has violated any provision of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the judge shall take appropriate corrective action, which may include reporting the violation to the appropriate authority.”

      • Advisory Committee commentary: Canons 3D(1) and 3D(2): “Appropriate corrective action could include direct communication with the judge or lawyer who has committed the violation, writing about the misconduct in a judicial decision, or other direct action, such as a confidential referral to a judicial or lawyer assistance program, or a report of the violation to the presiding judge, appropriate authority, or other agency or body. Judges should note that in addition to the action required by Canon 3D(2), California law imposes additional mandatory reporting requirements to the State Bar on judges regarding lawyer misconduct. See Business and Professions Code sections 6086.7 and 6086.8, subdivision (a), and California Rules of Court, rules 10.609 and 10.1017.

‘Appropriate authority’ means the authority with responsibility for initiation of the disciplinary process with respect to a violation to be reported.”

    • Canon 3D(4): “A judge shall cooperate with judicial and lawyer disciplinary agencies.”

    • Canon 3D(5): “A judge shall not retaliate, directly or indirectly, against a person known or suspected to have assisted or cooperated with an investigation of a judge or a lawyer.”

    • Canon 4C(1): “A judge shall not appear at a public hearing or officially consult with an executive or legislative body or public official except on matters concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, or in matters involving the judge’s private economic or personal interests.”

      • Advisory Committee commentary: Canon 4C(1): “When deciding whether to appear at a public hearing or to consult with an executive or legislative body or public official on matters concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, a judge should consider if that conduct would violate any other provisions of this code.”

      • Terminology: “Law, Legal System, or the Administration of Justice:” “When a judge engages in an activity that relates to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, the judge should also consider factors such as whether the activity upholds the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary (Canons 1 and 2A), whether the activity impairs public confidence in the judiciary (Canon 2), whether the judge is allowing the activity to take precedence over judicial duties (Canon 3A), and whether engaging in the activity would cause the judge to be disqualified (Canon 4A(4)).”

    • Canon 5D: “A judge . . . may engage in activity in relation to measures concerning the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, only if that conduct is consistent with this code.”

  • California Statute
    • California Government Code section 68725: “State and local public bodies and departments, officers and employees thereof, and officials and attaches of the courts of this State shall co-operate with and give reasonable assistance and information to the [Commission on Judicial Performance] and any authorized representative thereof, in connection with any investigations or proceedings within the jurisdiction of the commission.”
  • Educational Resources
    • Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Ethical Requirements re Judicial Administration (Dec. 2, 2021) [Published with permission of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. This document is being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or an approval by CJEO of the content.]