The California Commission on Judicial Performance is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity, and for disciplining judges pursuant to Article VI, Section 18 of the California Constitution. It is the only body with such authority in the state. Its jurisdiction includes all active judges and justices of California's superior courts, Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court, and former judges for conduct prior to retirement or resignation. The Commission also shares authority with the local courts for the oversight of court commissioners and referees. In addition to its disciplinary functions, the Commission is responsible for handling judges' applications for disability retirement.
The Commission's authority is limited to investigating alleged judicial misconduct and, if warranted, imposing discipline. Judicial misconduct usually involves conduct in conflict with the standards set forth in the Code of Judicial Ethics. After investigation and, in some cases a public hearing, the Commission may impose sanctions ranging from confidential discipline to removal from office.
The Commission is composed of 11 members: 3 judges appointed by the Supreme Court, 2 attorneys appointed by the Governor, and 6 lay citizens, of which 2 are appointed by the Governor, 2 are appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and 2 are appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Members are appointed to four-year terms and may serve two terms. Commission members do not receive a salary.