The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications and the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission are two constitutionally-established commissions comprised of the same seven members. The Chief Justice of Indiana is the ex officio Chair of the Commissions. The Chief Justice serves five-year terms. The other six members are three citizens appointed by the Governor and three lawyers elected by other lawyers, all to three-year terms.
Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications
In 1970, by constitutional amendment, Indiana joined the increasing number of states to create commissions of lawyers and lay citizens to screen and investigate allegations of judicial misconduct and, when appropriate, to file judicial disciplinary charges. Today, each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia has a judicial conduct commission. The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications is a forum for complaints alleging judicial ethical misconduct. Its goal is to assist the judiciary in maintaining the appropriate balance independence and accountability.
The Commission was established by Article 7, Section 9 of the Constitution. Its statutory authority is in Indiana Code 33-38-13-1 et. seq. Supreme Court Admission and Discipline Rule 25 sets out the scope of the Commission's role in the disciplinary process and provides the rules by which judicial misconduct cases are investigated and prosecuted.
The Qualifications Commission itself does not remove, suspend, or formally discipline judges; only the Indiana Supreme Court has jurisdiction to impose formal judicial discipline. The Commission's function is to investigate complaints concerning Indiana judges and to determine whether a particular complaint has merit. Serious cases may result in charges of misconduct filed with the Supreme Court after a Commission investigation. Less serious cases may result in confidential warnings from the Commission.
- The Complaint and Disciplinary Process
- Examples of Complaint Dispositions
- Public Admonitions
- Code of Judicial Conduct
Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission
The Judicial Nominating Commission recruits and interviews applicants to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Tax Court, and the Governor appoints one of the Commission's three nominees for each vacancy. Additionally, the Nominating Commission selects the Chief Justice of Indiana from among the five Justices on the Indiana Supreme Court. Finally, the Nominating Commission certifies former Indiana judges as Senior Judges to serve in Indiana 's courts.