Accessing the California Commission on Judicial Performance
Q: I filed a complaint against a California Superior Court judge with the California Commission on Judicial performance. That agency stated that we filed a complaint that was well presented. Initially they asked for more background information and said they would review the complaint if we provided that information. After providing further proof that numerous violations of the judicial code of ethics had occurred the commission closed the case. They refuse to give us a reason as to why and have denied our repeated attempts to gain an explanation. If our complaint was well presented and therefore meritorious, we feel that we are therefore entitled to a reason as to why the CJP refuses to take any action in this matter.
A: According to its web site, if the California Commission on Judicial Performance finds that “the allegations are found to be untrue or unprovable, the Commission will close the case without action against the judge and so notify the source” (http://cjp.ca.gov/comprocess.htm).
It sounds like this is what happened in your case. It may be that when the CJP said your complaint was “well presented,” it meant that it had survived some sort of preliminary review but had not been found to be meritorious in the sense of containing true and provable allegations. In any event, there does not seem to be a requirement that the Commission explain the rationale for its decision.
Moreover, it is not clear that the CJP is subject to the Public Records Act, which does not apply to agencies provided for in Article VI of the California Constitution (judicial agencies). It looks like the CJP is provided for in Article VI, Section 18, and that it is therefore not subject to the PRA.