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Judicial Conduct Board


Supreme Court Building
Judges must follow high ethical standards established by the Supreme Court in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Judicial Conduct Board investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or disability and recommends any necessary action to the Vermont Supreme Court. Possible disciplinary actions include public reprimand of the judge, suspension for a part or the remainder of the judge's term of office, or retirement of the judge if physically or mentally disabled. The Court does not impeach judges. Only the General Assembly has the power to impeach.

The Supreme Court appoints the nine members of the board, and designates the chair and vice-chair. Three members are lawyers, three members are lay citizens and three members are judges.


Board Members
Steven A. Adler, Esq., Chair
Andrew H. Maass, Esq., Vice-Chair
Hon. William Cohen
Hon. David Howard
Hon. M. Kathleen Manley
Barbara R. Blackman, Esq.
Wes Ward
Kelly Austin
Dr. Marcy E. Jones

Information


Chairman of the Board Address and phone:

Steven A. Adler, Esq.
Judicial Conduct Board
PO Box 189
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819-0189
802-748-8161

Public Hearing Calendar

Documents Concerning Hearing
Balivet, Ernest Tobias (Probate Judge)

Docket Number: JCB Docket No. 11.020
Status:

Supreme Court Entry Order (May 9, 2014)


Hearing Date and Time:
Hearing Location:


Rainville, A. Gregory

Docket Number: JCB Docket No. 13.001
Status:
Formal Complaint dated December 4, 2013
Disposition Report dated August 25, 2014 (Public Reprimand with Conditions for a period of 12 months)

Hearing Date and Time:
Hearing Location:


Bloom, Karl Barney (Assistant Judge)

Docket Number: JCB Docket No. 14.025
Status:
Formal Complaint Accepted by Assistant Judge Karl Barney Bloom on October 20, 2014.

Hearing Date and Time:
Hearing Location:



Decisions
To view the Closure Report Document please click on the Title of the document.
Closure Report    Docket
Number
   Judge
Name
   Canon
Involved
    Date of
Disposition
       Closure Summary
expand Year of Disposition: 2008
expand Year of Disposition: 2011
Judicial Demeanor and Real Property Ownership 08.056, 10.004, 10.006 Honorable Mark J. Keller Canon 4 Canon 4(D) Canon 3(B)(4); (E) (F) 2/6/2011 (Public Reprimand) Judge reprimanded for inappropriate demeanor and ineffective disclosure of building ownership with lawyer tenants
Judicial Demeanor and Real Property Ownership 10.006 Honorable Mark J. Keller Canon 4; Canon 4(D) Canon 3(B)(4); (E) (F) 2/6/2011 (Public Reprimand) Judge reprimanded for inappropriate demeanor and ineffective disclosure of building ownership with lawyer tenants
Allegations of Ethical Impropriety 11.021 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(4) 6/22/2011 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Judicial Bias, Timeliness in Issuing a Decision 11.024 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) Canon 3(B)(8) Canon 2 6/22/2011 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Appellate Review Issues Rather Than Judicial Issues 11.026 Anonymous None 6/21/2011 (Dismissed) Dismissed
expand Year of Disposition: 2012
Multiple Cases Over an Unknown Period of Time Complain of Generalized Bias 12.002 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Multiple Cases Over an Unknown Period of Time Complain of Generalized Bias 12.004 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Multiple Cases Over an Unknown Period of Time Complain of Generalized Bias 12.006 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Judge’s Ruling Rather than an Ethical Complaint 12.008 Anonymous N/A Appellate Issues Only 3/16/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Judicial Bias 12.010 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 6/13/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegation of Being Treated Unfairly 12.014 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 6/13/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegation of Improper Service of Notice of Hearing 12.016 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(8) 6/13/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Judge Unfair to Pro Se Litigants 12.018 Anonymous Canons 2(A) Canon 3(B)(2), (5), (6), (7) & (8) Canon 3(D)(2) Canon 3(E) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Judge’s Order 12.020 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(7) 6/13/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Substantive Error Rather than Judicial Misconduct 12.022 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(2), (4) & (5)  6/13/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Substantive Error Rather than Judicial Misconduct 12.024 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(2) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Substantive Error Rather than Judicial Misconduct 12.026 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(2) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Lack of Decipherable Information in Complaint 12.028 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(8) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Results of Small Claims Hearing 12.030 Anonymous Canon 3 in general & Canon 3(B)(8) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Substantive Error Rather than Judicial Misconduct 12.032 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 8/20/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Rulings in Various Matters in Family Court 12.034 Anonymous Canon 3(B) 9/25/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Allegations of Cruel and Unprofessional Behavior During Contested Probate Matter 12.036 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(4) 9/25/2012 (Dismissed) Dismissed
expand Year of Disposition: 2013
Dissatisfaction with Ruling 12.038 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(2) 2/25/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Results of Termination of Parental Rights/Dissatisfaction with Attorneys 12.040 Anonymous Canon 3 2/25/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Result of Small Claim Hearing 12.042 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) Canon 3(B)(8) 6/13/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with Jurisdiction 12.044 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(2) 2/25/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with the Executor of the Estate, the Executor’s Attorney and Ultimately with the Results of a Hearing 12.046 Anonymous Canon 2(B)(4) 6/13/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Dissatisfaction with the Outcome of a Small Claims Matter 12.048 Anonymous Canon 3 6/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant Parent Is Unhappy with the Outcome of a Custody Battle. The Child Is in the Custody of a Grandparent 13.003 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(8) 6/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant Is an Inmate Awaiting Trial in a Criminal Matter. Complainant Makes Various Allegations but Fails to Identify a Violation That Would Implicate Any Particular Canon 13.005 Anonymous None 6/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant Unhappy with Results of a Lengthy Contested Divorce Proceedings 13.007 Anonymous None 6/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint Alleges That a Judge Attempted to Initiate Ex-parte Contact 13.009 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(7) 5/10/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Allegations of Intemperate Conduct by the Presiding Judge in the Context of an Arraignment 13.011 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(4) 11/20/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant Alleges that a Judge Made Errors in Accepting His Change of Plea and in Sentencing Him 13.013 Anonymous None 6/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct 13.015 Anonymous None identified 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct 13.017 Anonymous None identified 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct 13.020 Anonymous None Identified 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint Alleges that a Judge was Biased and "Colluded with Complainant's Ex-Wife." 13.023 Anonymous A.O. 10 Canon 3(B)(2), (5) 11/14/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct 13.025 Anonymous None Identified 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct 13.027 Anonymous None Identified 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant Alleged that the Judge Failed to Follow the Rules of Criminal Procedure 13.029 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(2) 11/12/2013 (Dismissed) Dismissed
expand Year of Disposition: 2014
Complaint Alleges that the Judge Lied and also that the Judge Knowingly Allowed the Victim to Testify Falsely 13.019 Anonymous Canon 1 Canon 2(A) 2/17/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint Raises a Number of Legal Issues but no Colorable Allegations of Ethical Misconduct 13.031 Anonymous None Identified 2/17/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of a Traffic Violation in Which a 17 Year Old was Cited and Included Allegations of Lack of Accommodation for Disability 13.033 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(4) & (5) 2/17/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of a Small Claims Hearing in Which Complainant is Unhappy with Judge's Decision 13.035 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(3) & (5) 2/17/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the Result of Nonspecific Allegations Which Failed to Identify the Unethical Conduct. Complainant Apparently was Dissatisfied with the Conditions of Release. 13.037 Anonymous None Identified 1/10/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is a result of an eviction matter brought pro se by a limited liability company’s owner 14.001 Anonymous None identified 2/17/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaints make numerous, nonspecific allegations against multiple judges and fail to identify any unethical conduct. 14.003 and 14.004 are companion cases. 14.003 and 14.004 Anonymous None Identified 6/10/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant alleges that the judge violated his constitutional rights by not consolidating all of the criminal charges against him, failing to ensure a speedy trial and failing to recuse himself. 14.006 Anonymous Canon 3(A) 7/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct. The focus of the Complaint was on the merits of the decision. 14.008 Anonymous None Identified 5/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of the unhappiness of complainant’s mother with various offices of the State of Vermont. 14.010 Anonymous None Identified 7/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct or a specific judge. 14.012 Anonymous None Identified 7/10/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint was filed by the tenant in an eviction proceeding. 14.014 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(4) & (5) 7/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct. The focus of Complaint is on issues which occurred approximately 11 years ago. 14.016 Anonymous None Identified 7/10/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint raises concerns about multiple lawyers involved in a criminal defense, which are matters outside the purview of the Judicial Conduct Board. 14.018 Anonymous None Identified 7/21/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of non specific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct or any specific Judge, although references made were to a financial disclosure hearing in Small Claims Court at which Complainant did not appear. 14.020 Anonymous None Identified 7/21/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct but did mention numerous members of the judicial and executive branches of government as well as other unrelated entities and individuals. 14.022 Anonymous None Identified 7/10/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
This Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct. Complainant requested the Board replace the judge as Complainant did not agree with the Judge’s rulings in a criminal matter. 14.024 Anonymous None Identified 9/3/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint was filed by plaintiff in a civil case. Complainant alleged the Judge lacked professional competence and bias and that some of the rulings went against established law. 14.027 Anonymous Canons 1, 2, 3, 3(B)(8) & 3(B)(2) 10/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant sent a CD only to the Board. There is no Complaint included, therefore there are no allegations of misconduct nor is there a named Judge. 14.029 Anonymous None Identified 10/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint, one of three filed by Complainant, all concerning the same underlying allegations in the context of a Writ of Habeas Corpus, is focused on the ministerial activities of a Court Docketing Clerk. 14.032 Anonymous None Identified 9/3/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct beyond a generalized claim of bias against incarcerated parties. 14.034 Anonymous None 12/16/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify any particular Judge or court and did not provide a docket number or a date of hearing. 14.037 Anonymous None Identified 10/2/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of a status conference held in a civil matter. Three allegations were made concerning the Judge. 14.039 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(3) & 3(B)(8) 12/16/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of an allegation that the presiding judge decided a legal issue - the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement - incorrectly and contrary to public policy. 14.041 Anonymous None Identified 12/16/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint involves alleged actions by a lawyer sitting as Acting Judge in a long and complicated divorce case. Complainant is a party in that civil case. Most of complaint deals with actions of Respondent as a lawyer--matters beyond jurisdiction of JCB. 14.043 Anonymous None Identified 12/16/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint alleges bias and makes a number of nonspecific allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct beyond the generalized claim. 14.045 Anonymous None Identified 12/18/2014 (Dismissed) Dismissed
expand Year of Disposition: 2015
The Judicial Conduct Board investigated this Complaint as a result of the Vermont Supreme Court’s decision in the matter In re K.M.M., (2011 VT 30), an appeal from the Caledonia Probate Court involving the custody of a child who has been under guardianshi 11.020  Probate Judge Ernest Tobias Balivet Canons 3(B)(2) and 3(B)(8) 6/19/2015 (Public Reprimand) Public Reprimand
This complaint alleges that Washington County Assistant Judge K. Barney Bloom had been engaged in shoplifting from Montpelier area merchants 14.025 Assistant Judge Barney Bloom Canons 1, 2 & 4 6/19/2015 (Public Reprimand) Public Reprimand
Complaint is the result of Judge declining to accept a favorable Plea Agreement after reviewing a Pre-sentence Investigation Report. Complainant given 30 days to supplement the filing with additional allegations of ethical misconduct but failed to do so.  14.047 Anonymous None 1/14/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant is a pro se litigant in multiple cases; the instant Complaint references 4 different pieces of litigation, but seems to have its genesis in a civil case pending against Town of Newfane on various theories involving property owned in Newfane. 14.049 Anonymous Canon 3(B) 2/26/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of a child custody dispute between Complainant’s son and an ex-girlfriend. Complainant alleges that the Judge “favors mothers” although he gives no specifics about this. 14.051 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 2/26/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of allegations which failed to identify the unethical conduct of the Judge. The focus of the Complaint was on the merits of the decision. 15.002 Anonymous None 2/26/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint alleges that two judges discussed a case in which they both had involvement and that such conduct would constitute a prohibited ex parte communication. 15.004 Anonymous None 2/26/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is the result of a long running docket in Family Court pending since 2005. 15.006 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(5) & 3(B)(7) 4/30/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint is a Family Court matter involving child support issues. Complainant alleges the Judge did not process a request for a new attorney in a timely fashion. 15.008 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(8) 4/30/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complaint alleges that the Judge “unlawfully” helped the State to obtain two unlawful convictions and continues to help the State “maintain” these convictions. 15.010 Anonymous None 3/25/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
This Complaint is a probate court matter involving the appointment of a financial guardian. Complainant alleges the Judge was biased and improperly appointed a financial guardian in an involuntary guardianship proceeding. 15.012 Anonymous Canons 3(B)(4) & (5) and 4(D)(b) 10/02/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
Complainant alleges the Judge has demonstrated bias toward one of the parties. 15.014 Anonymous Canon 3(B)(5) 4/24/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed
The allegations raised in this Complaint are appealable issues. Complainant is unhappy with a plea agreement and with the Judicial Assignment rotation system There are no allegations of ethical misconduct. 15.016 Anonymous None 6/18/2015 (Dismissed) Dismissed