News Release

Ethics Committee Advises on Judicial Response to Attorney Misconduct

Committee issues formal opinion discussing judges’ ethical and statutory obligations when responding to attorney misconduct.
Feb 22, 2024

A California judicial ethics committee on Wednesday issued a formal opinion that provides guidance on factors judges should consider when responding to attorney misconduct.

The guidance was issued by the California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO)—a body which is appointed and authorized by, but works independently of, the California Supreme Court.

In CJEO Formal Opinion 2024-025, the committee advises that judicial officers must comply with their statutory obligations to report certain types of attorney misconduct to the State Bar and take appropriate corrective action consistent with the Code of Judicial Ethics. The opinion outlines steps judges should take when assessing the nature and seriousness of attorney misconduct, determining whether mandatory reporting obligations exist, and deciding what course of corrective action is warranted.

The committee issued a draft of the opinion for public comment on Dec. 4.

Justice Judith L. Haller (Ret.)Judicial officers’ obligations in responding to attorney misconduct are more involved than many are aware. This opinion provides a framework to help judges navigate the decision-making process, as well as a useful reference guide to relevant statutes,” said committee member Justice Judith L. Haller (Ret.).

About the Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO)
The Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions is a 12-member advisory committee that includes appellate justices, trial court judges, two retired judges, and a commissioner. The committee is appointed and authorized by the California Supreme Court, but its work is independent of the court, the Judicial Council, and all other entities. Its opinions are advisory and do not necessarily reflect the views of the California Supreme Court or any other entity. 

The committee issues formal, informal, and expedited advisory opinions on proper judicial conduct pursuant to the California Code of Judicial Ethics and other authorities. CJEO’s website includes advisory opinions, resources dedicated to specific judicial assignments and issues, and extensive judicial ethics tools and resource materials for the benefit of the bench and the public.