Montana State Legislature
HJ 40: Judicial Standards Commission Study and Audit Request
Study Background: The Montana Constitution provides for the removal and discipline of judges and requires that the Legislature create a Judicial Standards Commission. In the laws governing the commission, the Legislature provides authority to the Legislative Auditor "to determine whether [the commission] is efficiently and effectively processing complaints against judicial officers in the state," and gives the auditor the right to access otherwise confidential materials related to the commission. In 2021, the Legislature considered several bills related to the removal and discipline of judges and the Judicial Standards Commission.
HJ 40, sponsored by Rep. Bill Mercer, requested an interim committee study the history, structure, and methods of the Judicial Standards Commission, including methods used in other states. It also requested that the Legislative Audit Committee (LAC) prioritize a performance audit of the commission. The resolution noted that the Legislature had not yet conducted an interim study of the Judicial Standards Commission but would benefit from the suggested two-pronged review approach of an audit and study.
Documents generated by the LJIC's 2021-2022 study of the Judicial Standards Commission are available on this page. To view committee meetings in the 2021-2022 interim, click on the Meeting Minutes tab on the home page.
Final Study Materials
- HJ 40 Study Summary, November 2022
- Fiscal Year 2023 Performance Audit Prioritization, August 2022 -- Legislative Audit Committee
August 2022 Materials
May 2022 Materials
- Relevant sections of the Montana Constitution and MCA-- LJIC staff
- Report: Recommendations for Judicial Discipline Systems
- Table: Composition of judicial conduct commissions - National Center for Judicial Ethics (NCSC)
- Table: Confidentiality in formal judicial discipline proceedings --NCSC
- Montana Code of Judicial Conduct, 2009
- Rules of the Judicial Standards Commission
- Presentation Materials -- Bart Crabtree
- Presentation slides: Judicial Discipline Systems -- Brittany K.T. Kauffman
September 2021 Materials
- Relevant sections of the Montana Constitution and MCA -- LJIC staff
- Report to the Legislature, January 2021 -- Judicial Standards Commission
- Things to Know About the Judicial Standards Commission, UPDATED May 2022 -- LJIC staff
Commission Reports to the Legislature Since 2000