Review of complaint by chief judge
Expeditious Review; Limited Inquiry.—
The chief judge shall expeditiously review any complaint received under section 351(a) or identified under section 351(b). In determining what action to take, the chief judge may conduct a limited inquiry for the purpose of determining—
whether appropriate corrective action has been or can be taken without the necessity for a formal investigation; and
whether the facts stated in the complaint are either plainly untrue or are incapable of being established through investigation.
For this purpose, the chief judge may request the judge whose conduct is complained of to file a written response to the complaint. Such response shall not be made available to the complainant unless authorized by the judge filing the response. The chief judge or his or her designee may also communicate orally or in writing with the complainant, the judge whose conduct is complained of, and any other person who may have knowledge of the matter, and may review any transcripts or other relevant documents. The chief judge shall not undertake to make findings of fact about any matter that is reasonably in dispute.
Action by Chief Judge Following Review.—
After expeditiously reviewing a complaint under subsection (a), the chief judge, by written order stating his or her reasons, may—
dismiss the complaint—
if the chief judge finds the complaint to be—
not in conformity with section 351(a);
directly related to the merits of a decision or procedural ruling; or
frivolous, lacking sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred, or containing allegations which are incapable of being established through investigation; or
when a limited inquiry conducted under subsection (a) demonstrates that the allegations in the complaint lack any factual foundation or are conclusively refuted by objective evidence; or
conclude the proceeding if the chief judge finds that appropriate corrective action has been taken or that action on the complaint is no longer necessary because of intervening events.
The chief judge shall transmit copies of the written order to the complainant and to the judge whose conduct is the subject of the complaint.
A complainant or judge aggrieved by a final order of the chief judge under this section may petition the judicial council of the circuit for review thereof. The denial of a petition for review of the chief judge’s order shall be final and conclusive and shall not be judicially reviewable on appeal or otherwise.
Review of Orders of Chief Judge.—
Each judicial council may, pursuant to rules prescribed under section 358, refer a petition for review filed under subsection (c) to a panel of no fewer than 5 members of the council, at least 2 of whom shall be district judges.
Referral of Petitions for Review to Panels of the Judicial Council.—
(Added Pub. L. 107–273, div. C, title I, § 11042(a), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1849.)