Committee Issues Disclosure Advice for State Bar Court Review Department Judges
The Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO) issued an advisory stating that a State Bar Court Review Department judge is not required to disclose information reasonably relevant to the question of disqualification if the judge has determined he or she is not disqualified from hearing the matter.
The State Bar Court makes recommendations to the Supreme Court about attorney discipline and regulatory proceedings related to the practice of law. It includes a Hearing Department and a Review Department. The Hearing Department is the trial level of the State Bar Court and conducts evidentiary hearings. The Review Department is the appellate level of the State Bar Court and reviews Hearing Department decisions.
In CJEO Oral Advice posted Tuesday, the committee advised that State Bar Court Review Department proceedings are not trial court proceedings for the purpose of canon 3E(2)(a) of the California Code of Judicial Ethics, which requires judges in trial court proceedings to disclose information reasonably relevant to disqualification, even if they believe there is not actual basis for disqualification. The committee also advised that even though the Review Department judge is not required to disclose information that may be relevant to disqualification, the judge may do so.
CJEO summarizes its oral advice and posts the summaries on the CJEO website for the benefit of the bench and the public.