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August 14, 2018

Model Rules for Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement

Section III. Disciplinary Proceedings
Rule 19. Formal Charges

The formal charges shall give fair and adequate notice of the nature of the alleged misconduct or incapacity. Disciplinary counsel shall file the formal charges with the commission. Disciplinary counsel shall cause a copy of the formal charges to be served upon the respondent or respondent's counsel pursuant to Rule 13 and shall file proof of service with the commission.


The formal charges should be drawn with clarity and specificity. From them the respondent should be able to ascertain the allegations and provisions of the applicable codes alleged to have been violated or the alleged incapacity. In many instances, the formal charges will not be identical to the allegations of the original complaint. Often the investigation of a complaint will lead to the elimination of some allegations and the clarification of others. New, related allegations may come to light, some of which may be much more serious than those in the complaint. Sometimes an investigative panel will choose not to pursue certain allegations.

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