Judges must be independent, fair, and competent. The Vermont Supreme Court sets standards for the behavior of judges in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Judicial Conduct Board investigates complaints about judges and recommends any needed action to the court.

About the Board

The Supreme Court appoints the nine members of the Judicial Conduct Board. The board consists of

  • Three judges, active or retired, but not active Supreme Court Justices
  • Three lawyers admitted to practice law in Vermont
  • Three members of the public who are not judges and are not admitted to practice law in Vermont

The board generally meets every other month.

Basis for Complaints

The Judicial Conduct Board investigates complaints against judges. This includes, among other things, claims that a judge has:

  • Violated the Code of Judicial Conduct
  • Violated the Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Committed an offense of moral turpitude (fraud or breach of trust)
  • Been convicted of a felony
  • Consistently failed to perform judicial duties
  • A physical or mental disability that permanently impairs judicial duties
  • Committed sexual harassment

The term "judge" means an officer of the court. This includes Supreme Court justices, superior judges, assistant judges, and probate judges. The term also refers to anyone who acts as a judge, such as commissioners, magistrates, hearing officers, masters, referees, and acting judges.

Board Investigation

The Judicial Conduct Board will review your complaint and the judge’s actions. If warranted, the board will conduct its own investigation into the matter. The board may hire a special counsel to investigate. Generally, the board’s records and proceedings are confidential.

The board will notify you if it has further questions about your complaint. When the investigation into your complaint is over, you will receive a written explanation of the outcome.

Board Members

Andrew H. Maass, Esq.

Chair, Attorney Member

Barbara Blackman, Esq.

Vice-Chair, Attorney Member

Honorable William Cohen

Superior Judge

Honorable David Howard

Superior Judge

Honorable Mary Miles Teachout

Superior Judge

Michael N. Donofrio, Esq.

Attorney Member

Wes Ward

Public Member

Kelly Austin

Public Member

Marcy E. Jones

Public Member

 

Closure Reports

View Judicial Conduct Board closure reports by year.

Contact Information

Andrew H. Maass, Esq.
Judicial Conduct Board
PO Box 310
Rutland, VT 05702-0310

Discipline

If the board finds that a judge has committed judicial misconduct, the board can enter a deferred discipline agreement with the judge. The board may limit or condition the judge’s performance of judicial duties. The board may reprimand the judge or suspend the judge for a part or the rest of the judge’s term in office.

If the board files a formal complaint against the judge, its proceedings become public.

Documents Concerning Hearing

 

Limits of Board Action
  • The board will not overrule or overturn a judicial officer’s decision. Only an appellate court can review a court order. If you have questions about how to appeal an order of the court, contact that court or consult with a lawyer.
  • The board will not interpret, explain, or justify the meaning of a judicial officer’s decision. If you have questions about this, consult with a lawyer.
  • The board will not provide you with any guidance or legal advice regarding a pending legal proceeding or other legal matters. If you have questions of this nature, you should consult with a lawyer.
  • The board does not impeach judges. Only the General Assembly has the power to impeach.
  • The board does not investigate or discipline lawyers. To file a complaint against a lawyer, contact the Professional Responsibility Board.
Making a Complaint

If you want to file a complaint against a judge, you must submit your complaint in writing. You may use the Judicial Complaint form. 

It is helpful to include:

  • Your name and mailing address
  • A daytime telephone number
  • The name of the judge
  • A summary of your complaint, including the facts you believe show misconduct by the judge
  • The name of the court where the conduct happened and the docket number, if available
  • The dates when the possible misconduct took place
  • Any documents, letters, or other materials related to your complaint
  • The section of the code that you believe the judge has violated, if applicable

Send your complaint to:

Andrew H. Maass, Esq., Chair
Judicial Conduct Board
PO Box 310
Rutland, VT 05702-0310

Phone: 802-786-1063
Fax: 802-786-1161

Public Hearing Calendar

No public hearing currently scheduled.

Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct

The Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct is a set of principles about the proper conduct for judges. The Supreme Court adopted the code in Administrative Order 10 of the Vermont Statutes.

An unofficial copy of the Vermont Code of Judicial Conduct is below.

Annual Financial Disclosure Statement

Pursuant to Canon 4(H), judges are required to make an annual financial disclosure statement. This applies to full-time judges, which includes Supreme Court Justices, Superior Judges, Magistrates, and Hearing Officers. Beginning in February 2019, this will also apply to continuing part-time judges, which includes probate judges and assistant judges.