The present judicial disciplinary system in Illinois was created by Article VI, Section 15 (b) – (j) of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, adopted 1970, as amended, effective November 3, 1998 ("the Constitution"). It consists of two independent entities: The Judicial Inquiry Board and the Courts Commission.
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 15 (c) of the Constitution, the Judicial Inquiry Board is authorized to receive, initiate, and investigate complaints concerning active Illinois state court judges. Additionally, when warranted, it is the responsibility of the Judicial Inquiry Board to file a public complaint against a judge with the Courts Commission. The Constitution mandates that all proceedings of the Judicial Inquiry Board shall be confidential except the filing of a complaint with the Courts Commission.
Pursuant to Article VI, Section 15 (e) of the Constitution, the Courts Commission hears complaints filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board. After notice and public hearing, the Courts Commission is authorized to remove from office, suspend without pay, censure or reprimand a judge for willful misconduct in office, persistent failure to perform his or her duties, or other conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice or that brings the judicial office into disrepute; or to suspend, with or without pay, or retire a judge who is physically or mentally unable to perform his or her duties. The penalty assessed by the Courts Commission lies solely within its discretion and is final.
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