Code, Rules & Reports
The Code of Judicial Conduct establishes standards for judges’ conduct. These standards are normally stated with the terms, “shall” and “shall not.” In addition, the Code includes comments. The comments provide guidance regarding Code interpretation. The comments also state goals to which judges should aspire. Because the comments normally use “should” and “should not,” they state what is advisable, rather than what is mandatory.
The Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards establish procedures for applying the Code. The Rules also restate standards for judges’ conduct that were established by the legislature. Rule 4(a), R. Bd. Jud. Stds. The Rules prescribe the duties and powers of the Board and its Executive Secretary. Rules 1, 2, R. Bd. Jud. Stds. The Rules also prescribe procedures for complaints and for discipline and disability proceedings.
2016 Amendments. The Board Rules were significantly amended effective July 1, 2016. The Code was also amended effective July 1, 2016, but there were only two amendments. A summary of the most significant 2016 amendments to the Rules and Code is posted below.
Supreme Court Committee Reports and 2009 Amendments. The Rules and Code were significantly amended effective July 1, 2009. The 2009 amendments to the Code were made after recommendations by the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to Review the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct. The Committee was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court and members included judges, lawyers, legislators, and members of the public. The Committee’s October 31, 2007 Report is posted below.
Similarly, the 2009 amendments to the Rules were made after recommendations by a second Supreme Court committee that included judges, lawyers, legislators, and members of the public. The recommendations were made in a March 14, 2008 Report and Proposed Amendments to the Minnesota Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards Advisory Committee.
Also posted below is the April 15, 2004, Report of the Advisory Committee to Review the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards. The main subject of this report was amendments to the Judicial Code that were needed because of constitutional challenges to certain provisions relating to campaigns for judicial office.
In addition, the Board issues Annual Reports of its activities.