With legislative authorization, the Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards. The Code establishes standards for judges’ conduct. The Rules 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 and Code were most recently amended effective July 1, 2009.
The Rules as amended in 2009 provide that, upon a Board finding of reasonable cause to believe a judge committed misconduct involving a Code violation, the Board may take disciplinary action. Rule 6(f), R. Bd. Jud. Stds. Where the Code violation and misconduct are “isolated and non-serious,” the Board may issue a private admonition. Rule 6(f)(5)(ii), R. Bd. Jud. Stds. The Board and judge may also enter into a deferred disposition agreement, which upon completion may result in discipline or no discipline. Rule 6(f)(5)(i), R. Bd. Jud. Stds.
Where the Board finds there is not reasonable cause to find misconduct, it may nonetheless issue a letter of caution. Rule 6(f)(4). However, a letter of caution is not disciplinary.
Admonitions are not public. However, summaries of the admonitions are posted in order to educate the public and to assist judges in avoiding improper conduct. Also included is a summary of a deferred disposition agreement. In addition, two redacted admonitions are posted below. Names and other identifying information have been removed.