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How to File a Complaint Against a Judge
Ethics complaints are investigated and prosecuted by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) under Court Rule 2:15. All information provided to the ACJC goes through the committee’s staff.
Complaints may be filed in one of two ways:
- Use this complaint form and include the name of the judge, the conduct about which you are complaining, and any documents you believe support your complaint.
- Write a letter of complaint to the committee. Include the name of the judge, the conduct about which you are complaining, and any documents you believe support your complaint.
Send the ACJC complaint form or letter to:
All nine members of the committee review each complaint. The committee has two options after reviewing a complaint:
- Dismissal – If, after reviewing the complaint, the committee finds no wrongdoing by the judge, it will dismiss the complaint and inform the person who filed the complaint, in writing, of the dismissal; or
- Investigate – If, after reviewing the complaint, the committee believes an investigation is necessary, they will conduct an investigation. The committee will notify the person who filed the complaint of its outcome, in writing, at the conclusion of the case.
Judicial Complaint Review Process
When the ACJC receives a complaint, it reviews the information submitted to make sure that the judge has been accused of something that actually violates the Judicial Code of Conduct. After the review, the committee will either
- Dismiss the Complaint – If, after reviewing the complaint, the committee finds no wrongdoing by the judge, it will dismiss the complaint and inform the person who filed the complaint, in writing, of the dismissal; or
- Request an Investigation – If, after reviewing the complaint, the committee believes an investigation is necessary, it will direct staff to investigate the claims of misconduct made in the complaint.
Following an investigation, the committee may:
- Dismiss the complaint;
- Privately discipline a judge; or
- File formal charges against a judge.
Formal Complaints -- If, after reviewing a complaint, the committee believes formal charges should be filed against a judge, it will file a Formal Complaint.
What information is public?
All complaints filed with the ACJC and any action taken by the committee are confidential unless and until the committee files formal charges against a judge.
Formal complaints, answers to formal complaints and all further actions taken by the committee are public.
Once a judge files an answer, a public hearing is scheduled.
Following a hearing, the committee may recommend an outcome to the New Jersey Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court is the only body that may publicly discipline a judge.
Types of Judicial Discipline
If the ACJC investigates a complaint and believes that the judge has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct, it may choose to discipline the judge privately. The private discipline would be a letter to the judge that says the ACJC has found wrongdoing and is issuing to the judge either:
- Reprimand; or
The ACJC instead might recommend that the Supreme Court issue public discipline against the judge. Only the New Jersey Supreme Court may publicly discipline a judge. The ACJC could recommend:
- A dismissal of the case with or without private discipline;
- Public admonition;
- Public reprimand;
- Public censure;
- Suspension; or
- Begin proceedings to have the judge removed from the bench.
ACJC Contact Information
All information provided to the ACJC goes through the committee's staff.
For more information, please call
The fax number for the committee is
Executive Director/Chief Counsel
Members of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct
Chair: Justice Virginia A. Long (Ret.) (Term Expiration: 2024)
Vice Chair: Hon. Stephen Skillman (Ret.) (Term Expiration: 2024)
Members of the New Jersey Bar:
- Hon. Georgia M. Curio (Term Expiration: 2025)
- Hon. Robert T. Zane (Term Expiration: 2026)
- A. Matthew Boxer (Term Expiration: 2025)
- Vincent E. Gentile (Term Expiration: 2025)
- Diana C. Manning (Term Expiration: 2024)
Lay Members, Not Holding Public Office:
- Paul J. Walker (Term Expiration: 2024)
- Karen Kessler (Term Expiration: 2025)
- Katherine Barrett Carter (Term Expiration: 2025)
All terms above expire on August 31 of year noted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will the judge need to step down from my case if I file an ACJC complaint?
No. The filing of a complaint against a judge does not necessarily require the judge to step down from the case in which the alleged conduct occurred. New Jersey Court Rule 2:15-24.
Q. Can the ACJC change a judge’s decision?
No, the committee is not a court and cannot determine whether a judge’s decision is correct or incorrect under the law or facts of a particular case, or change a judge’s decision. If a judge makes a decision with which a court user disagrees or which the court user believes violates the law, that court user may file an appeal. Questions about how to file an appeal may be directed to the county clerk’s office, the Superior Court Clerk’s office or an attorney. Judiciary employees, however, may not provide legal advice to a court user.
Q. Can the ACJC have a judge removed from my case?
No, the committee cannot have a judge removed from a court case. Questions about the process for requesting a judge’s removal may be directed to the county clerk’s office, the Superior Court Clerk or an attorney. Judiciary employees, however, may not provide legal advice to a court user.
Q. When will I receive the ACJC’s decision?
The review process may take several months depending on the facts of each case and the amount of additional information the committee needs to gather to make a decision. The committee will notify a complaint filer when it receives the complaint and again when it reaches a decision. In some cases, the committee may request additional information from the complaint filer either in writing or by telephone. While the committee does not provide updates, every complaint filer is notified of the committee’s decision in writing.
Q. What is judicial misconduct?
Judicial misconduct includes many different types of conduct. For example, misconduct may include yelling at court users/attorneys, hearing a case in which the judge has a conflict of interest or talking about a case with one party while the other party and/or that party’s lawyer is out of the room (i.e. “ex parte” conversation). For this reason, complaints filed with the committee should include not only the name of the judge, but a detailed description of the alleged misconduct, including the date(s) on which it happened and any witnesses to the alleged misconduct. In addition, complaint filers may provide any documents they believe relevant to the complaint. Complaint filers are encouraged to provide their contact information (e.g. address, telephone number) on the complaint form so the committee’s staff may communicate with the complaint filer, if necessary.
Q. Will the ACJC notify the judge of my complaint?
While complaints filed with the committee are confidential unless and until the committee files formal charges against a judge, the committee’s investigation may include an interview of or other communication with the judge at which time the judge would be notified of the complaint filer’s identity.