Report 2016-137 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2016-137: Commission on Judicial Performance: Weaknesses in Its Oversight Have Created Opportunities for Judicial Misconduct to Persist (Release Date: April 2019)

Recommendations to Commission on Judicial Performance
Number Recommendation Status

To ensure that it adequately investigates alleged judicial misconduct, by April 2020 CJP should implement processes to ensure that for each of its investigations, CJP's management reviews and approves an investigation strategy that includes all steps necessary to substantiate whether misconduct occurred .

Fully Implemented

To ensure that it adequately investigates alleged judicial misconduct, by April 2020 CJP should create and fill a new investigations manager position and task that individual with reviewing and approving investigative strategies, as well as overseeing the execution of those strategies.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that it adequately investigates alleged judicial misconduct, by April 2020 CJP should expand the role of its legal advisor's office to include periodic reviews of the quality of closed investigations and, as warranted, to recommend changes to CJP's investigative practices.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that it leverages all available information to uncover misconduct, CJP should establish procedures by April 2020 for more regularly exercising its oversight authority to open investigations into patterns of potential misconduct. At a minimum, these procedures should require that intake attorneys assess complaints to identify when patterns of complaints merit recommending an investigation.

Fully Implemented

To allow it to detect potential judicial misconduct associated with legal errors, CJP should immediately direct its staff to use more appropriate allegation codes when closing complaints at intake. By October 2019, CJP should determine what data it will need to begin tracking so it can trend information—voluntarily provided by complainants—that could indicate complaints about legal error should be investigated because there is a risk that legal error is the result of underlying misconduct, such as bias. By October 2019, CJP should also develop procedures that indicate how often it will evaluate its data for such trends and establish guidelines for when trends warrant CJP staff recommending that the commission open an investigation. CJP should begin tracking that information and implement these procedures as soon as possible.

Fully Implemented

To prevent the risk that it will fail to detect chronic judicial misconduct, CJP should create and implement procedures by October 2019 that require an investigator to review all prior complaints when investigating a judge and determine whether the prior complaints are similar to the current allegations. Further, the procedures should require that if a pattern of complaints indicates the potential for chronic misconduct, the investigator must recommend that the commission expand the investigation.

Fully Implemented

To improve its transparency and accessibility to the general public, by April 2020 CJP should implement a plan to regularly engage in outreach activities that target the general public.

Fully Implemented

To improve its transparency and accessibility to the general public, by April 2020 CJP should update its website to include better resources for complainants, including examples of high-quality complaints that illustrate what CJP looks for when evaluating a complaint to decide if it will open an investigation.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that it expeditiously improves the public's ability to submit complaints, CJP should begin accepting complaints online upon updating its electronic case management system.

Fully Implemented

To improve public transparency and offer opportunities for the public to provide testimony on its proposed rules and operations, CJP should hold at least one public meeting during its biennial rulemaking process. It should ensure that it properly notifies the public about the meeting and provides the public the opportunity to comment at the meeting.

Fully Implemented

To maximize the resources available for its core functions, CJP should immediately begin exploring options for relocating its office to a less expensive location and relocate as soon as possible.

Will Not Implement

To ensure that it obtains the resources necessary to fulfill its mission, CJP should report to the Legislature by May of each of the next three years about the following:

- Its progress in implementing our recommendations and any associated effects on its workload.

- The steps it has taken to realize efficiencies in its operations.

- Its evaluation of whether the investigations manager is a full-time position and any funding it will need in the future to support that position.

- Its progress in purchasing and implementing a new electronic case management system.

- Its progress in relocating its office space to a more affordable location.

- Any savings or unforeseen costs arising from the changes we identify above.

Fully Implemented
Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status

The Legislature should propose and submit to voters an amendment to the California Constitution to accomplish the following:

Establish a bicameral structure for the commission that includes an investigative and a disciplinary body. The proposed amendment should also require that members of the public are the majority in both bodies and that there is an odd number of members in each body.

Require that the disciplinary body directly hear all cases that go to formal proceedings and that CJP make rules to avoid prejudicial activity when it hears these cases. The amendment should also require that a majority of the commissioners who hear cases be members of the public and should establish that the State will compensate commissioners for their time preparing for and hearing cases.

Direct CJP to make rules for the implementation of corrective actions. Establish that such actions are discipline that should be authorized by the disciplinary body and that CJP should monitor whether judges complete the corrective actions.

No Action Taken

To make certain CJP has the resources necessary to implement our recommendations and to realize budget efficiencies, the Legislature should make a one-time appropriation to CJP of $419,000 in the Budget Act of 2019. This appropriation should be specifically for CJP to hire a limited-term investigations manager and update its electronic case management system.

Legislation Enacted

To better ensure that those who observe or experience judicial misconduct realize that they can report it to CJP, the Legislature should require that all courthouses publicly display information that CJP prepares and provides that clearly and concisely presents CJP's mission, its process for submitting a complaint, and the definition of judicial misconduct.

No Action Taken

Print all recommendations and responses.