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Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks Rule 6: General Procedures


A. A proceeding is initiated when the Committee receives a written or oral complaint, or when the Committee by motion creates its own complaint on the basis of reasonable information. In its discretion, the Committee may require an oral complaint to be confirmed in writing before initiating a proceeding.

B. Except when required by these Rules, upon the initiation of a proceeding, or at any time thereafter as it deems appropriate, the Committee may notify the clerk concerned.

C. Upon request for good cause, or on its own motion, the Committee may extend any time limit set forth herein.

D. Members and staff of the Committee, Hearing Officers, and Special Counsel shall be absolutely immune from suit for all conduct in the course of their official duties. A complaint submitted to the Committee and communications related to the complaint shall be absolutely privileged, and no civil action predicated on the complaint or on such a communication may be instituted against any complainant or witness or his counsel; provided, however, such immunity from suit shall apply only to communications to the Committee and shall not apply to public disclosure of information contained in or relating to the complaint.

E. At any stage of the proceeding, the Committee may recommend to the Supreme Judicial Court, or to the Chief Administrative Justice and the appropriate Chief Justice, the nonassignment or special assignment of a clerk, pending the final disposition of a proceeding. The Committee shall state the reasons for its recommendation. The Committee shall send a copy of any such recommendation to the clerk.

F. At any stage of the proceeding, the Committee may consult with any appropriate judicial or administrative officer. At any time, the Committee itself may informally resolve the complaint. The Committee shall promptly notify the complainant and the clerk of any informal resolution.

G. At any stage of the proceeding, the Committee may request the Supreme Judicial Court to appoint Special Counsel.

H. At any stage of the proceeding, the Committee may conduct interviews, whether or not under oath and whether or not such statements are memorialized, without the presence of other participants.

I. The Committee may assess the clerk all or any part of the costs of its investigation if the matter under consideration is disposed of pursuant to Rule 7(E)(3) or after formal charges have been issued.

J. In the event that the clerk resigns after formal charges have been issued, the Committee may, upon a finding that the integrity of the judicial branch and the interest of the administration of justice would be served, continue its investigation in order to make a report and recommendation to the Supreme Judicial Court.

K. The Committee shall keep a record of all proceedings concerning a clerk. The Committee's findings, conclusions and recommendations shall be entered in the record.