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Judicial misconduct occurs when a judge acts in ways that are considered unethical or otherwise violate the judge's obligations of impartial conduct. Actions that can be classified as judicial misconduct include: conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts; using the judge's office to obtain special treatment for friends or relatives; accepting bribes, gifts, or other personal favors related to the judicial office; having improper discussions with parties or counsel for one side in a case; treating litigants or attorneys in a demonstrably egregious and hostile manner; violating other specific, mandatory standards of judicial conduct, such as judicial rules of procedure or evidence, or those pertaining to restrictions on outside income and requirements for financial disclosure; and acting outside the jurisdiction of the judge or the court, or performance of official duties if the conduct might have a prejudicial effect on the administration of the business of the courts among reasonable people. Rules of official misconduct also include rules concerning disability, which is a temporary or permanent condition rendering judge unable to discharge the duties of the particular judicial office.
A judicial investigative committee is a panel of judges selected to investigate a judicial misconduct complaint against a judge accused of judicial misconduct. Judicial investigative committees are rarely appointed. According to U.S. Court statistics, only 18 of the 1,484 judicial misconduct complaints filed in the United States Courts between September 2004 and September 2007 warranted the formation of judicial investigative committees.