COURTS AND COURT OFFICIALS
1-2103A. Removal, disciplining, or retirement of magistrates. A magistrate of the 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 recommended for retirement 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 magistrate, or the council may in its discretion request the Supreme Court to appoint three (3) special masters, who shall be district judges or district magistrates, 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 magistrate.
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 or discipline, or recommend retirement for disability, or wholly reject the recommendation. Upon a recommendation for retirement for disability, the recommendation shall be presented to the public employee retirement system for action. Upon an order for removal, the magistrate 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 confidential; provided, however, that if allegations against a magistrate are made public by the complainant, the magistrate, or third person, 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 the provisions of this section including the exercise of requisite process and subpoena powers.
The provisions of this section are alternative to, and cumulative with, the removal of magistrates by impeachment, and the original supervisory control of members of the judicial system by the Supreme Court.
[1-2103A, added 1990, ch. 71, sec. 3, p. 154.]