Article IV, Washington State Constitution

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Article IV of the Washington State Constitution is labeled The Judiciary. It establishes the powers, rights and obligations of the state's courts and judges.

Article IV has been amended 14 times. The first amendment to the Article was enacted in 1952. The most recent amendment was enacted in 2005.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Judicial Power, Where Vested.

The judicial power of the state shall be vested in a supreme court, superior courts, justices of the peace, and such inferior courts as the legislature may provide.[1]

Court of appeals: Art. 4 Section 30.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Supreme Court.

The supreme court shall consist of five judges, a majority of whom shall be necessary to form a quorum, and pronounce a decision. The said court shall always be open for the transaction of business except on nonjudicial days. In the determination of causes all decisions of the court shall be given in writing and the grounds of the decision shall be stated. The legislature may increase the number of judges of the supreme court from time to time and may provide for separate departments of said court.[1]

Section 2(a)

Text of Section 2(a):

Temporary Performance of Judicial Duties.

When necessary for the prompt and orderly administration of justice a majority of the Supreme Court is empowered to authorize judges or retired judges of courts of record of this state, to perform, temporarily, judicial duties in the Supreme Court, and to authorize any superior court judge to perform judicial duties in any superior court of this state.[1]

Amendments

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Election and Terms of Supreme Court Judges.

The judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at large at the general state election at the times and places at which state officers are elected, unless some other time be provided by the legislature. The first election of judges of the supreme court shall be at the election which shall be held upon the adoption of this Constitution and the judges elected thereat shall be classified by lot, so that two shall hold their office for the term of three years, two for the term of five years, and one for the term of seven years. The lot shall be drawn by the judges who shall for that purpose assemble at the seat of government, and they shall cause the result thereof to be certified to the secretary of state, and filed in his office. The supreme court shall select a chief justice from its own membership to serve for a four-year term at the pleasure of a majority of the court as prescribed by supreme court rule. The chief justice shall preside at all sessions of the supreme court. In case of the absence of the chief justice, the majority of the remaining court shall select one of their members to serve as acting chief justice. After the first election the terms of judges elected shall be six years from and after the second Monday in January next succeeding their election. If a vacancy occur in the office of a judge of the supreme court the governor shall only appoint a person to ensure the number of judges as specified by the legislature, to hold the office until the election and qualification of a judge to fill the vacancy, which election shall take place at the next succeeding general election, and the judge so elected shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. The term of office of the judges of the supreme court, first elected, shall commence as soon as the state shall have been admitted into the Union, and continue for the term herein provided, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The sessions of the supreme court shall be held at the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.[1]

Amendments

Original text

Original text of Section 3 of Article 4:

ELECTION AND TERMS OF SUPREME COURT JUDGES - The judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at large at the general state election at the times and places at which state officers are elected, unless some other time be provided by the legislature. The first election of judges of the supreme court shall be at the election which shall be held upon the adoption of this Constitution and the judges elected thereat shall be classified by lot, so that two shall hold their office for the term of three years, two for the term of five years, and one for the term of seven years. The lot shall be drawn by the judges who shall for that purpose assemble at the seat of government, and they shall cause the result thereof to be certified to the secretary of state, and filed in his office. The judge having the shortest term to serve not holding his office by appointment or election to fill a vacancy, shall be the chief justice, and shall preside at all sessions of the supreme court, and in case there shall be two judges having in like manner the same short term, the other judges of the supreme court shall determine which of them shall be chief justice. In case of the absence of the chief justice, the judge having in like manner the shortest or next shortest term to serve shall preside. After the first election the terms of judges elected shall be six years from and after the second Monday in January next succeeding their election. If a vacancy occur in the office of a judge of the supreme court the governor shall appoint a person to hold the office until the election and qualification of a judge to fill the vacancy, which election shall take place at the next succeeding general election, and the judge so elected shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. The term of office of the judges of the supreme court, first elected, shall commence as soon as the state shall have been admitted into the Union, and continue for the term herein provided, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The sessions of the supreme court shall be held at the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.[1]

Section 3(a)

Text of Section 3(a):

Retirement of Supreme Court and Superior Court Judges.

A judge of the supreme court or the superior court shall retire from judicial office at the end of the calendar year in which he attains the age of seventy-five years. The legislature may, from time to time, fix a lesser age for mandatory retirement, not earlier than the end of the calendar year in which any such judge attains the age of seventy years, as the legislature deems proper. This provision shall not affect the term to which any such judge shall have been elected or appointed prior to, or at the time of, approval and ratification of this provision. Notwithstanding the limitations of this section, the legislature may by general law authorize or require the retirement of judges for physical or mental disability, or any cause rendering judges incapable of performing their judicial duties.[1]

Amendments

Section 3a was added to the constitution in 1952:

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Jurisdiction.

The supreme court shall have original jurisdiction in habeas corpus, and quo warranto and mandamus as to all state officers, and appellate jurisdiction in all actions and proceedings, excepting that its appellate jurisdiction shall not extend to civil actions at law for the recovery of money or personal property when the original amount in controversy, or the value of the property does not exceed the sum of two hundred dollars ($200) unless the action involves the legality of a tax, impost, assessment, toll, municipal fine, or the validity of a statute. The supreme court shall also have power to issue writs of mandamus, review, prohibition, habeas corpus, certiorari and all other writs necessary and proper to the complete exercise of its appellate and revisory jurisdiction. Each of the judges shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus to any part of the state upon petition by or on behalf of any person held in actual custody, and may make such writs returnable before himself, or before the supreme court, or before any superior court of the state or any judge thereof.[1]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Superior Court - Election of Judges, Terms of, Etc.

There shall be in each of the organized counties of this state a superior court for which at least one judge shall be elected by the qualified electors of the county at the general state election: Provided, That until otherwise directed by the legislature one judge only shall be elected for the counties of Spokane and Stevens; one judge for the county of Whitman; one judge for the counties of Lincoln, Okanogan, Douglas and Adams; one judge for the counties of Walla Walla and Franklin; one judge for the counties of Columbia, Garfield and Asotin; one judge for the counties of Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat; one judge for the counties of Clarke, Skamania, Pacific, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum; one judge for the counties of Thurston, Chehalis, Mason and Lewis; one judge for the county of Pierce; one judge for the county of King; one judge for the counties of Jefferson, Island, Kitsap, San Juan and Clallam; and one judge for the counties of Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish. In any county where there shall be more than one superior judge, there may be as many sessions of the superior court at the same time as there are judges thereof, and whenever the governor shall direct a superior judge to hold court in any county other than that for which he has been elected, there may be as many sessions of the superior court in said county at the same time as there are judges therein or assigned to duty therein by the governor, and the business of the court shall be so distributed and assigned by law or in the absence of legislation therefore, by such rules and orders of court as shall best promote and secure the convenient and expeditious transaction thereof. The judgments, decrees, orders and proceedings of any session of the superior court held by any one or more of the judges of such court shall be equally effectual as if all the judges of said court presided at such session. The first superior judges elected under this Constitution shall hold their offices for the period of three years, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified, and thereafter the term of office of all superior judges in this state shall be for four years from the second Monday in January next succeeding their election and until their successors are elected and qualified. The first election of judges of the superior court shall be at the election held for the adoption of this Constitution. If a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of the superior court, the governor shall appoint a person to hold the office until the election and qualification of a judge to fill the vacancy, which election shall be at the next succeeding general election, and the judge so elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.[1]

Supreme court may authorize superior court judge to perform judicial duties in any superior court: Art. 4 Section 2(a).

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Jurisdiction of Superior Courts.

Superior courts and district courts have concurrent jurisdiction in cases in equity. The superior court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases at law which involve the title or possession of real property, or the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine, and in all other cases in which the demand or the value of the property in controversy amounts to three thousand dollars or as otherwise determined by law, or a lesser sum in excess of the jurisdiction granted to justices of the peace and other inferior courts, and in all criminal cases amounting to felony, and in all cases of misdemeanor not otherwise provided for by law; of actions of forcible entry and detainer; of proceedings in insolvency; of actions to prevent or abate a nuisance; of all matters of probate, of divorce, and for annulment of marriage; and for such special cases and proceedings as are not otherwise provided for. The superior court shall also have original jurisdiction in all cases and of all proceedings in which jurisdiction shall not have been by law vested exclusively in some other court; and said court shall have the power of naturalization and to issue papers therefore. They shall have such appellate jurisdiction in cases arising in justices' and other inferior courts in their respective counties as may be prescribed by law. They shall always be open, except on nonjudicial days, and their process shall extend to all parts of the state. Said courts and their judges shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, review, certiorari, prohibition, and writs of habeas corpus, on petition by or on behalf of any person in actual custody in their respective counties. Injunctions and writs of prohibition and of habeas corpus may be issued and served on legal holidays and nonjudicial days.[1]

Amendments

Jurisdiction of Superior Courts - The superior court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases in equity and in all cases at law which involve the title or possession of real property, or the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine, and in all other cases in which the demand or the value of the property in controversy amounts to three thousand dollars or as otherwise determined by law, or a lesser sum in excess of the jurisdiction granted to justices of the peace and other inferior courts, and in all criminal cases amounting to felony, and in all cases of misdemeanor not otherwise provided for by law; of actions of forcible entry and detainer; of proceedings in insolvency; of actions to prevent or abate a nuisance; of all matters of probate, of divorce, and for annulment of marriage; and for such special cases and proceedings as are not otherwise provided for. The superior court shall also have original jurisdiction in all cases and of all proceedings in which jurisdiction shall not have been by law vested exclusively in some other court; and said court shall have the power of naturalization and to issue papers therefore. They shall have such appellate jurisdiction in cases arising in justices' and other inferior courts in their respective counties as may be prescribed by law. They shall always be open, except on nonjudicial days, and their process shall extend to all parts of the state. Said courts and their judges shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, review, certiorari, prohibition, and writs of habeas corpus, on petition by or on behalf of any person in actual custody in their respective counties. Injunctions and writs of prohibition and of habeas corpus may be issued and served on legal holidays and nonjudicial days. (Amendment 65, part, 1977 Senate Joint Resolution No. 113, p 1714. Approved November 8, 1977.][1]

Note: Amendment 65 also amended Art. 4 Section 10.

  • Amendment 28, part (1952) - Art. 4 Section 6
JURISDICTION OF SUPERIOR COURTS - The superior court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases in equity and in all cases at law which involve the title or possession of real property, or the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine, and in all other cases in which the demand or the value of the property in controversy amounts to one thousand dollars, or a lesser sum in excess of the jurisdiction granted to justices of the peace and other inferior courts, and in all criminal cases amounting to felony, and in all cases of misdemeanor not otherwise provided for by law; of actions of forcible entry and detainer; of proceedings in insolvency; of actions to prevent or abate a nuisance; of all matters of probate, of divorce, and for annulment of marriage; and for such special cases and proceedings as are not otherwise provided for. The superior court shall also have original jurisdiction in all cases and of all proceedings in which jurisdiction shall not have been by law vested exclusively in some other court; and said court shall have the power of naturalization and to issue papers therefore. They shall have such appellate jurisdiction in cases arising in justices' and other inferior courts in their respective counties as may be prescribed by law. They shall always be open, except on nonjudicial days, and their process shall extend to all parts of the state. Said courts and their judges shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, review, certiorari, prohibition, and writs of habeas corpus, on petition by or on behalf of any person in actual custody in their respective counties. Injunctions and writs of prohibition and of habeas corpus may be issued and served on legal holidays and nonjudicial days.[1]
Amendment 28, part, 1951 Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 13, p 962. Approved November 4, 1952.

Note: Amendment 28 also amended Art. 4 Section 10.

Original text

Original text of Article IV Section 6:

JURISDICTION OF SUPERIOR COURTS - The superior court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases in equity, and in all cases at law which involve the title or possession of real property, or the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll or municipal fine, and in all other cases in which the demand, or the value of the property in controversy amounts to one hundred dollars, and in all criminal cases amounting to felony, and in all cases of misdemeanor not otherwise provided for by law; of actions of forcible entry and detainer; of proceedings in insolvency; of actions to prevent or abate a nuisance; of all matters of probate, of divorce, and for annulment of marriage; and for such special cases and proceedings as are not otherwise provided for. The superior court shall also have original jurisdiction in all cases and of all proceedings in which jurisdiction shall not have been by law vested exclusively in some other court; and said court shall have the power of naturalization, and to issue papers therefore. They shall have such appellate jurisdiction in cases arising in justice's and other inferior courts in their respective counties as may be prescribed by law. They shall be always open except on non-judicial days, and their process shall extend to all parts of the state. Said courts and their judges shall have power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, review, certiorari, prohibition, and writs of habeas corpus on petition by or on behalf of any person in actual custody in their respective counties. Injunctions and writs of prohibition and of habeas corpus may be issued and served on legal holidays and non-judicial days.[1]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Exchange of Judges - Judge Pro Tempore.

The judge of any superior court may hold a superior court in any county at the request of the judge of the superior court thereof, and upon the request of the governor it shall be his or her duty to do so. A case in the superior court may be tried by a judge pro tempore either with the agreement of the parties if the judge pro tempore is a member of the bar, is agreed upon in writing by the parties litigant or their attorneys of record, and is approved by the court and sworn to try the case; or without the agreement of the parties if the judge pro tempore is a sitting elected judge and is acting as a judge pro tempore pursuant to supreme court rule. The supreme court rule must require assignments of judges pro tempore based on the judges' experience and must provide for the right, exercisable once during a case, to a change of judge pro tempore. Such right shall be in addition to any other right provided by law. However, if a previously elected judge of the superior court retires leaving a pending case in which the judge has made discretionary rulings, the judge is entitled to hear the pending case as a judge pro tempore without any written agreement.[1]

Amendments

  • Amendment 80 - Art. 4 Section 7 Exchange of Judges - Judge Pro Tempore
The judge of any superior court may hold a superior court in any county at the request of the judge of the superior court thereof, and upon the request of the governor it shall be his duty to do so. A case in the superior court may be tried by a judge, pro tempore, who must be a member of the bar, agreed upon in writing by the parties litigant, or their attorneys of record, approved by the court and sworn to try the case. However, if a previously elected judge of the superior court retires leaving a pending case in which the judge has made discretionary rulings, the judge is entitled to hear the pending case as a judge pro tempore without any written agreement. Amendment 80, 1987 Senate Joint Resolution No. 8207, p 2815. Approved November 3, 1987.[1]

Original text

Original Text of Article IV, Section 7

EXCHANGE OF JUDGES - JUDGE PRO TEMPORE - The judge of any superior court may hold a superior court in any county at the request of the judge of the superior court thereof, and upon the request of the governor it shall be his duty to do so. A case in the superior court may be tried by a judge, pro tempore, who must be a member of the bar, agreed upon in writing by the parties litigant, or their attorneys of record, approved by the court and sworn to try the case.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Absence of Judicial Officer.

Any judicial officer who shall absent himself from the state for more than sixty consecutive days shall be deemed to have forfeited his office: Provided, That in cases of extreme necessity the governor may extend the leave of absence such time as the necessity therefore shall exist.[1]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Removal of Judges, Attorney General, Etc.

Any judge of any court of record, the attorney general, or any prosecuting attorney may be removed from office by joint resolution of the legislature, in which three-fourths of the members elected to each house shall concur, for incompetency, corruption, malfeasance, or delinquency in office, or other sufficient cause stated in such resolution. But no removal shall be made unless the officer complained of shall have been served with a copy of the charges against him as the ground of removal, and shall have an opportunity of being heard in his defense. Such resolution shall be entered at length on the journal of both houses and on the question of removal the ayes and nays shall also be entered on the journal.[1]

Removal, censure, suspension, or retirement of judges or justices: Art. 4 Section 31.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Justices of the Peace.

The legislature shall determine the number of justices of the peace to be elected and shall prescribe by law the powers, duties and jurisdiction of justices of the peace: Provided, That such jurisdiction granted by the legislature shall not trench upon the jurisdiction of superior or other courts of record, except that justices of the peace may be made police justices of incorporated cities and towns. Justices of the peace shall have original jurisdiction in cases where the demand or value of the property in controversy is less than three hundred dollars or such greater sum, not to exceed three thousand dollars or as otherwise determined by law, as shall be prescribed by the legislature. In incorporated cities or towns having more than five thousand inhabitants, the justices of the peace shall receive such salary as may be provided by law, and shall receive no fees for their own use.[1]

Amendments

  • Amendment 28, part (1952) - Art. 4 Section 10
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE - The legislature shall determine the number of justices of the peace to be elected and shall prescribe by law the powers, duties and jurisdiction of justices of the peace: Provided, That such jurisdiction granted by the legislature shall not trench upon the jurisdiction of superior or other courts of record, except that justices of the peace may be made police justices of incorporated cities and towns. Justices of the peace shall have original jurisdiction in cases where the demand or value of the property in controversy is less than three hundred dollars or such greater sum, not to exceed one thousand dollars, as shall be prescribed by the legislature. In incorporated cities or towns having more than five thousand inhabitants, the justices of the peace shall receive such salary as may be provided by law, and shall receive no fees for their own use. Amendment 28, part, 1951 Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 13, p 962. Approved November 4, 1952.[1]

Note: Amendment 28 also amended Art. 4 Section 6.

Original text

Original text of Article IV, Section 10:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE - The legislature shall determine the number of justices of the peace to be elected in incorporated cities or towns and in precincts, and shall prescribe by law the powers, duties and jurisdiction of justices of the peace; Provided, That such jurisdiction granted by the legislature shall not trench upon the jurisdiction of superior or other courts of record, except that justices of the peace may be made police justices of incorporated cities and towns. In incorporated cities or towns having more than five thousand inhabitants the justices of the peace shall receive such salary as may be provided by law, and shall receive no fees for their own use.[1]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Courts of Record.

The supreme court and the superior courts shall be courts of record, and the legislature shall have power to provide that any of the courts of this state, excepting justices of the peace, shall be courts of record.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Inferior Courts.

The legislature shall prescribe by law the jurisdiction and powers of any of the inferior courts which may be established in pursuance of this Constitution.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Salaries of Judicial Officers - How Paid, Etc.

No judicial officer, except court commissioners and unsalaried justices of the peace, shall receive to his own use any fees or perquisites of office. The judges of the supreme court and judges of the superior courts shall severally at stated times, during their continuance in office, receive for their services the salaries prescribed by law therefore, which shall not be increased after their election, nor during the term for which they shall have been elected. The salaries of the judges of the supreme court shall be paid by the state. One-half of the salary of each of the superior court judges shall be paid by the state, and the other one-half by the county or counties for which he is elected. In cases where a judge is provided for more than one county, that portion of his salary which is to be paid by the counties shall be apportioned between or among them according to the assessed value of their taxable property, to be determined by the assessment next preceding the time for which such salary is to be paid.[1]

Authorizing compensation increase during term: Art. 30 Section 1.

Increase or diminution of compensation during term of office prohibited.

County, city or municipal officers: Art. 11 Section 8.

Public officers: Art. 2 Section 25.

State officers: Art. 3 Section 25.

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Salaries of Supreme and Superior Court Judges.

Each of the judges of the supreme court shall receive an annual salary of four thousand dollars ($4,000); each of the superior court judges shall receive an annual salary of three thousand dollars ($3,000), which said salaries shall be payable quarterly. The legislature may increase the salaries of judges herein provided.[1]

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1.

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Ineligibility of Judges.

The judges of the supreme court and the judges of the superior court shall be ineligible to any other office or public employment than a judicial office, or employment, during the term for which they shall have been elected.[1]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Charging Juries.

Judges shall not charge juries with respect to matters of fact, nor comment thereon, but shall declare the law.[1]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Eligibility of Judges.

No person shall be eligible to the office of judge of the supreme court, or judge of a superior court, unless he shall have been admitted to practice in the courts of record of this state, or of the Territory of Washington.[1]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Supreme Court Reporter.

The judges of the supreme court shall appoint a reporter for the decisions of that court, who shall be removable at their pleasure. He shall receive such annual salary as shall be prescribed by law.[1]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Judges May Not Practice Law.

No judge of a court of record shall practice law in any court of this state during his continuance in office.[1]

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Decisions, When to be Made.

Every cause submitted to a judge of a superior court for his decision shall be decided by him within ninety days from the submission thereof; Provided, That if within said period of ninety days a rehearing shall have been ordered, then the period within which he is to decide shall commence at the time the cause is submitted upon such a hearing.[1]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Publication of Opinions.

The legislature shall provide for the speedy publication of opinions of the supreme court, and all opinions shall be free for publication by any person.[1]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Clerk of the Supreme Court.

The judges of the supreme court shall appoint a clerk of that court who shall be removable at their pleasure, but the legislature may provide for the election of the clerk of the supreme court, and prescribe the term of his office. The clerk of the supreme court shall receive such compensation by salary only as shall be provided by law.[1]

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Court Commissioners.

There may be appointed in each county, by the judge of the superior court having jurisdiction therein, one or more court commissioners, not exceeding three in number, who shall have authority to perform like duties as a judge of the superior court at chambers, subject to revision by such judge, to take depositions and to perform such other business connected with the administration of justice as may be prescribed by law.[1]

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Rules for Superior Courts.

The judges of the superior courts, shall from time to time, establish uniform rules for the government of the superior courts.[1]

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Reports of Superior Court Judges.

Superior judges, shall on or before the first day of November in each year, report in writing to the judges of the supreme court such defects and omissions in the laws as their experience may suggest, and the judges of the supreme court shall on or before the first day of January in each year report in writing to the governor such defects and omissions in the laws as they may believe to exist.[1]

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

Clerk of the Superior Court.

The county clerk shall be by virtue of his office, clerk of the superior court.[1]

Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Style of Process.

The style of all process shall be, "The State of Washington," and all prosecutions shall be conducted in its name and by its authority.[1]

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Oath of Judges.

Every judge of the supreme court, and every judge of a superior court shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe an oath that he will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington, and will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of judge to the best of his ability, which oath shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state.[1]

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Election of Superior Court Judges.

Notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution to the contrary, if, after the last day as provided by law for the withdrawal of declarations of candidacy has expired, only one candidate has filed for any single position of superior court judge in any county containing a population of one hundred thousand or more, no primary or election shall be held as to such position, and a certificate of election shall be issued to such candidate. If, after any contested primary for superior court judge in any county, only one candidate is entitled to have his name printed on the general election ballot for any single position, no election shall be held as to such position, and a certificate of election shall be issued to such candidate: Provided, That in the event that there is filed with the county auditor within ten days after the date of the primary, a petition indicating that a write in campaign will be conducted for such single position and signed by one hundred registered voters qualified to vote with respect of the office, then such single position shall be subject to the general election. Provisions for the contingency of the death or disqualification of a sole candidate between the last date for withdrawal and the time when the election would be held but for the provisions of this section, and such other provisions as may be deemed necessary to implement the provisions of this section, may be enacted by the legislature.[1]

Amendments

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Court of Appeals.

(1) Authorization. In addition to the courts authorized in section 1 of this article, judicial power is vested in a court of appeals, which shall be established by statute.

(2) Jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the court of appeals shall be as provided by statute or by rules authorized by statute.

(3) Review of Superior Court. Superior court actions may be reviewed by the court of appeals or by the supreme court as provided by statute or by rule authorized by statute.

(4) Judges. The number, manner of election, compensation, terms of office, removal and retirement of judges of the court of appeals shall be as provided by statute.

(5) Administration and Procedure. The administration and procedures of the court of appeals shall be as provided by rules issued by the supreme court.

(6) Conflicts. The provisions of this section shall supersede any conflicting provisions in prior sections of this article.[1]

Amendments

Reviser's note: This section which was adopted as Sec. 29 is herein renumbered Sec. 30 to avoid confusion with Sec. 29, supra.

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Commission on Judicial Conduct.

(1) There shall be a commission on judicial conduct, existing as an independent agency of the judicial branch, and consisting of a judge selected by and from the court of appeals judges, a judge selected by and from the superior court judges, a judge selected by and from the limited jurisdiction court judges, two persons admitted to the practice of law in this state selected by the state bar association, and six persons who are not attorneys appointed by the governor.

(2) Whenever the commission receives a complaint against a judge or justice, or otherwise has reason to believe that a judge or justice should be admonished, reprimanded, censured, suspended, removed, or retired, the commission shall first investigate the complaint or belief and then conduct initial proceedings for the purpose of determining whether probable cause exists for conducting a public hearing or hearings to deal with the complaint or belief. The investigation and initial proceedings shall be confidential. Upon beginning an initial proceeding, the commission shall notify the judge or justice of the existence of and basis for the initial proceeding.

(3) Whenever the commission concludes, based on an initial proceeding, that there is probable cause to believe that a judge or justice has violated a rule of judicial conduct or that the judge or justice suffers from a disability which is permanent or likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties, the commission shall conduct a public hearing or hearings and shall make public all those records of the initial proceeding that provide the basis for its conclusion. If the commission concludes that there is not probable cause, it shall notify the judge or justice of its conclusion.

(4) Upon the completion of the hearing or hearings, the commission in open session shall either dismiss the case, or shall admonish, reprimand, or censure the judge or justice, or shall censure the judge or justice and recommend to the supreme court the suspension or removal of the judge or justice, or shall recommend to the supreme court the retirement of the judge or justice. The commission may not recommend suspension or removal unless it censures the judge or justice for the violation serving as the basis for the recommendation. The commission may recommend retirement of a judge or justice for a disability which is permanent or likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties.

(5) Upon the recommendation of the commission, the supreme court may suspend, remove, or retire a judge or justice. The office of a judge or justice retired or removed by the supreme court becomes vacant, and that person is ineligible for judicial office until eligibility is reinstated by the supreme court. The salary of a removed judge or justice shall cease. The supreme court shall specify the effect upon salary when it suspends a judge or justice. The supreme court may not suspend, remove, or retire a judge or justice until the commission, after notice and hearing, recommends that action be taken, and the supreme court conducts a hearing, after notice, to review commission proceedings and findings against the judge or justice.

(6) Within thirty days after the commission admonishes, reprimands, or censures a judge or justice, the judge or justice shall have a right of appeal de novo to the supreme court.

(7) Any matter before the commission or supreme court may be disposed of by a stipulation entered into in a public proceeding. The stipulation shall be signed by the judge or justice and the commission or court. The stipulation may impose any terms and conditions deemed appropriate by the commission or court. A stipulation shall set forth all material facts relating to the proceeding and the conduct of the judge or justice.

(8) Whenever the commission adopts a recommendation that a judge or justice be removed, the judge or justice shall be suspended immediately, with salary, from his or her judicial position until a final determination is made by the supreme court.

(9) The legislature shall provide for commissioners' terms of office and compensation. The commission shall employ one or more investigative officers with appropriate professional training and experience. The investigative officers of the commission shall report directly to the commission. The commission shall also employ such administrative or other staff as are necessary to manage the affairs of the commission.

(10) The commission shall, to the extent that compliance does not conflict with this section, comply with laws of general applicability to state agencies with respect to rule-making procedures, and with respect to public notice of and attendance at commission proceedings other than initial proceedings. The commission shall establish rules of procedure for commission proceedings including due process and confidentiality of proceedings.[1]

Amendments

Removal by legislature: Art. 4 Section 9.

  • Amendment 85 (1989) - Art. 4 Section 31 COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT -
    • (1) There shall be a commission on judicial conduct, existing as an independent agency of the judicial branch, and consisting of a judge selected by and from the court of appeals judges, a judge selected by and from the superior court judges, a judge selected by and from the district court judges, two persons admitted to the practice of law in this state selected by the state bar association, and six persons who are not attorneys appointed by the governor.
    • (2) Whenever the commission receives a complaint against a judge or justice, or otherwise has reason to believe that a judge or justice should be admonished, reprimanded, censured, suspended, removed, or retired, the commission shall first investigate the complaint or belief and then conduct initial proceedings for the purpose of determining whether probable cause exists for conducting a public hearing or hearings to deal with the complaint or belief. The investigation and initial proceedings shall be confidential. Upon beginning an initial proceeding, the commission shall notify the judge or justice of the existence of and basis for the initial proceeding.
    • (3) Whenever the commission concludes, based on an initial proceeding, that there is probable cause to believe that a judge or justice has violated a rule of judicial conduct or that the judge or justice suffers from a disability which is permanent or likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties, the commission shall conduct a public hearing or hearings and shall make public all those records of the initial proceeding that provide the basis for its conclusion. If the commission concludes that there is not probable cause, it shall notify the judge or justice of its conclusion.
    • (4) Upon the completion of the hearing or hearings, the commission in open session shall either dismiss the case, or shall admonish, reprimand, or censure the judge or justice, or shall censure the judge or justice and recommend to the supreme court the suspension or removal of the judge or justice, or shall recommend to the supreme court the retirement of the judge or justice. The commission may not recommend suspension or removal unless it censures the judge or justice for the violation serving as the basis for the recommendation. The commission may recommend retirement of a judge or justice for a disability which is permanent or likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties.
    • (5) Upon the recommendation of the commission, the supreme court may suspend, remove, or retire a judge or justice. The office of a judge or justice retired or removed by the supreme court becomes vacant, and that person is ineligible for judicial office until eligibility is reinstated by the supreme court. The salary of a removed judge or justice shall cease. The supreme court shall specify the effect upon salary when it suspends a judge or justice. The supreme court may not suspend, remove, or retire a judge or justice until the commission, after notice and hearing, recommends that action be taken, and the supreme court conducts a hearing, after notice, to review commission proceedings and findings against the judge or justice.
    • (6) Within thirty days after the commission admonishes, reprimands, or censures a judge or justice, the judge or justice shall have a right of appeal de novo to the supreme court.
    • (7) Any matter before the commission or supreme court may be disposed of by a stipulation entered into in a public proceeding. The stipulation shall be signed by the judge or justice and the commission or court. The stipulation may impose any terms and conditions deemed appropriate by the commission or court. A stipulation shall set forth all material facts relating to the proceeding and the conduct of the judge or justice.
    • (8) Whenever the commission adopts a recommendation that a judge or justice be removed, the judge or justice shall be suspended immediately, with salary, from his or her judicial position until a final determination is made by the supreme court.
    • (9) The legislature shall provide for commissioners' terms of office and compensation. The commission shall employ one or more investigative officers with appropriate professional training and experience. The investigative officers of the commission shall report directly to the commission. The commission shall also employ such administrative or other staff as are necessary to manage the affairs of the commission.
    • (10) The commission shall, to the extent that compliance does not conflict with this section, comply with laws of general applicability to state agencies with respect to rule-making procedures, and with respect to public notice of and attendance at commission proceedings other than initial proceedings. The commission shall establish rules of procedure for commission proceedings including due process and confidentiality of proceedings.[1]
  • Amendment 77 (1986) - Art. 4 Section 31 COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT - REMOVAL, CENSURE, SUSPENSION, OR RETIREMENT OF JUDGES OR JUSTICES - PROCEEDINGS -
    • There shall be a commission on judicial conduct consisting of a judge selected by and from the court of appeals judges, a judge selected by and from the superior court judges, a judge selected by and from the district court judges, two persons admitted to the practice of law in this state selected by the state bar association, and four persons who are not attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
    • The supreme court may censure, suspend, or remove a judge or justice for violating a rule of judicial conduct and may retire a judge or justice for disability which is permanent or is likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. The office of a judge or justice retired or removed by the supreme court becomes vacant, and that person is ineligible for judicial office until eligibility is reinstated by the supreme court. The salary of a removed judge or justice shall cease.
    • The supreme court shall specify the effect upon salary when disciplinary action other than removal is taken. The supreme court may not discipline or retire a judge or justice until the commission on judicial conduct recommends after notice and hearing that action be taken and the supreme court conducts a hearing, after notice, to review commission proceedings and findings against a judge or justice.
    • Whenever the commission receives a complaint against a judge or justice, it shall first conduct proceedings for the purpose of determining whether sufficient reason exists for conducting a hearing or hearings to deal with the accusations. These initial proceedings shall be confidential, unless confidentiality is waived by the judge or justice, but all subsequent hearings conducted by the commission shall be open to members of the public.
    • Whenever the commission adopts a recommendation that a judge or justice be removed, the judge or justice shall be suspended immediately, with salary, from his or her judicial position until a final determination is made by the supreme court.
    • The legislature shall provide for commissioners' terms of office and compensation. The commission shall establish rules of procedure for commission proceedings including due process and confidentiality of proceedings.[1]
  • Amendment 71 (1980) - Art. 4 Section 31 JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION - REMOVAL, CENSURE, SUSPENSION, OR RETIREMENT OF JUDGES OR JUSTICES -
    • There shall be a judicial qualifications commission consisting of a judge selected by and from the court of appeals judges, a judge selected by and from the superior court judges, a judge selected by and from the district court judges, two persons admitted to the practice of law in this state selected by the state bar association, and two persons who are not attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
    • The supreme court may censure, suspend, or remove a judge or justice for violating a rule of judicial conduct and may retire a judge or justice for disability which is permanent or is likely to become permanent and which seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. The office of a judge or justice retired or removed by the supreme court becomes vacant, and that person is ineligible for judicial office until eligibility is reinstated by the supreme court. The salary of a removed judge or justice shall cease.
    • The supreme court shall specify the effect upon salary when disciplinary action other than removal is taken. The supreme court may not discipline or retire a judge or justice until the judicial qualifications commission recommends after notice and hearing that action be taken and the supreme court conducts a hearing, after notice, to review commission proceedings and findings against a judge or justice.
    • The legislature shall provide for commissioners' terms of office and compensation. The commission shall establish rules of procedure for commission proceedings including due process and confidentiality of proceedings.[1]
Amendment 71, 1980 Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 37, p 652. Approved November 4, 1980.

See also

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