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Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct Rule 5: Confidentiality

[Disclaimer]

A. All proceedings prior to a determination of sufficient cause and the filing of formal charges shall be confidential.

B. Records, files, and reports of the commission shall be confidential, and no disclosure shall be made, except as follows:

(1) Upon waiver in writing by the judge at any stage of the proceedings;

(2) Upon inquiry by an appointing authority or by a state or federal agency conducting investigations on behalf of such authority in connection with the selection or appointment of judges; or upon inquiry in connection with the assignment or recall of a retired judge to judicial duties, by or on behalf of the assigning authority, in which case the Commission may:

(a) divulge whatever information is a matter of public record; and

(b) after obtaining the judge's signed waiver, divulge other relevant information; or

(c) divulge other relevant information after giving written notice to the judge affected of its intention to do so and allowing the judge seven (7) days to respond.

(3) in cases in which the subject matter has become public, the Commission may issue such statements as it deems appropriate in order to confirm the pendency of the investigation, to clarify the procedural aspects of the proceedings, to explain the right of the judge to a fair hearing, or to state that the judge denies the allegations;

(4) Upon filing of formal charges, in which case only the formal charges, the answer thereto, the evidentiary hearings thereon, and the final recommendation by the Commission as to disposition shall become public, except as provided in paragraph D below.

C. Where the circumstances necessitating the initiation of an inquiry include notoriety, or where the conduct in question is a matter of public record, information concerning the lack of cause to proceed may be released by the Commission.

D. Proceedings may remain confidential, even after a finding of sufficient cause, if the judge, the Commission, and the complainant, if any, all concur.

E. If, in the course of its proceedings, the Commission becomes aware of credible evidence that any person has committed a crime, the Commission may report such evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency.