COURTS AND COURT OFFICIALS
1-2103. Removal, disciplining, or retirement of judges or justices — Procedure. A justice of the Supreme Court or judge of any district court, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this section, may be disciplined or removed for wilful misconduct in office or wilful and persistent failure to perform his duties or habitual intemperance or conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings judicial office into disrepute, or he may be retired for disability seriously interfering with the performance of his duties, which is, or is likely to become of a permanent character. The judicial council may, after such investigation as the council deems necessary, order a hearing to be held before it concerning the removal, discipline or retirement of a justice or a judge, or the council may in its discretion request the Supreme Court to appoint three (3) special masters, who shall be justices or judges, to hear and take evidence in any such matters, and to report their findings to the council. If, after hearing, or after considering the record and the findings and report of the masters, the council finds good cause therefor, it shall recommend to the Supreme Court the removal, discipline or retirement, as the case may be, of the justice or judge.
The Supreme Court shall review the record of the proceedings on the law and facts and in its discretion may permit the introduction of additional evidence and shall order removal, discipline or retirement, as it finds just and proper, or wholly reject the recommendation. Upon an order for retirement, the justice or judge shall thereby be retired with the same rights and privileges as if he retired pursuant to other provisions of law. Upon an order for removal, the justice or judge shall thereby be removed from office, and his salary shall cease from the date of such order.
All papers filed with and the proceedings before the judicial council or masters appointed by the Supreme Court, pursuant to this section, shall be subject to disclosure according to chapter 1, title 74, Idaho Code, provided, however, that if allegations against a judge are made public by the complainant, judge or third persons, the judicial council may, in its discretion, comment on the existence, nature, and status of any investigation. The filing of papers with and the giving of testimony before the council or the masters shall be privileged; but no other publication of such papers or proceedings shall be privileged in any action for defamation except that (a) the record filed by the council in the Supreme Court continues privileged and upon such filing loses its confidential character and (b) a writing which was privileged prior to its filing with the council or the masters does not lose such privilege by such filing. The judicial council shall by rule provide for procedures under this section, including the exercise of requisite process and subpoena powers. A justice or judge who is a member of the council or Supreme Court shall not participate in any proceedings involving his own removal, discipline or retirement.
This section is alternative to, and cumulative with, the removal of justices and judges by impeachment, and the original supervisory control of members of the judicial system by the Supreme Court.
[1-2103, added 1967, ch. 67, sec. 3, p. 153; am. 1969, ch. 225, sec. 1, p. 732; am. 1986, ch. 89, sec. 1, p. 261; am. 1990, ch. 213, sec. 3, p. 489; am. 2015, ch. 141, sec. 1, p. 379.]