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The Judicial Conduct Commission was created by Senate Bill 219 of the 2001 legislative session to provide an independent forum
Page 1
Report of the Judicial Conduct Commission for Fiscal Year 2002
Pursuant to RSA 494-A:3, II (b) the Judicial Conduct Commission respectfully submits this
report “detailing the performance of the Commission for the preceding fiscal year.”
The Judicial Conduct Commission was created by Chapter 267 (Senate Bill 197) of the 2001
legislative session to provide an independent forum for evaluation of complaints about conduct
of judges. The Commission may discipline judges by censure or reprimand, or may recommend
suspension by the Supreme Court or impeachment by the Legislature.
The Judicial Conduct Commission consists of members from a variety of backgrounds, with a
majority of lay people as well as three judges and two lawyers.
Chairman: Donna Sytek of Salem, former Speaker of the House, appointed by the Speaker;
Vice Chairman: Joseph M. McDonough of Manchester, attorney, appointed by the president of
the NH Bar Association and approved by the Governor;
Judge Arthur Bean of Bedford, retired from Superior Court, appointed by the Supreme Court;
Mary Brown of Chichester, writer, accountant and former legislator, appointed by the Senate
John Grimes of Dover, retired engineering manager, appointed by the Governor;
Judge Richard Hampe of Concord, Judge of the Merrimack County Probate Court, appointed
by the Supreme Court;
George Hurt of Gilford, insurance agency owner and former legislator, appointed by the
Judge John Korbey of Salem, Judge of Salem District Court, appointed by the Supreme Court;
Margaret Lynch of Keene, former legislator and former Registrar of Keene State College;
appointed by the Governor;
Thomas Moses of Keene, auto center general manager, appointed by the Senate President; and
Kimon Zachos of Manchester, attorney, appointed by the president of the NH Bar Association
with the approval of the Speaker and the President of the Senate.

Page 2
Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report
As prescribed by the enabling statute, the Commission developed and adopted a Code of Judicial
Conduct as well as Procedural Rules. Both were the subject of public hearings and are posted on
the state website at
The Commission hired an office administrator to handle clerical and administrative tasks. To
conserve funds, the Chairman has been performing the duties of the Executive Director during
the start-up phase. There are plans to transfer this responsibility to an appointed position in the
near future.
Administrative Support
While the Commission is required by law to be independent of any branch of state government,
it is too small to maintain its own accounting, personnel, budgeting, website maintenance and
computer support services. Commissioner Donald Hill of Administrative Services and his staff
were extremely helpful in guiding us through the maze of state government offices. Likewise,
Teresa Pare from the State Library was most accommodating in providing assistance with design
and maintenance of the JCC website. At the Commission’s request, the legislature amended the
law this year in SB 442 to expressly allow this type of support from state agencies without
compromising our independence.
With the assistance of the State Library, the Commission maintains a homepage on Webster, the
official state website. Our Internet address is This site provides links to our
rules, grievance forms, and minutes of our meetings, as well as contact information. We have no
way to determine how many “hits” we get, but without any publicity at all, we receive 2 to 3
inquiries a month through this avenue, so it appears to be worth the effort.
Our enabling legislation appropriated lump sums of $125,000 for FY 2002 and $250,000 for FY
2003. At our request, an amendment to SB 442 earlier this year made the first year’s funding
non-lapsing, and the unspent balance will be carried over to the second year of the biennium. The
Commission will submit a line item budget for the FY 2004-2005 cycle.
Duplication of Effort
The Judicial Conduct Commission was created with the expectation that the Supreme Court
Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has the same duties, would be disbanded. That has not
happened. Thus, two similarly named panels are operating in parallel, costing taxpayers money,
and causing much confusion for the public. Both bodies have adopted rules or policies that
require a grievant to choose only one forum for his or her complaint.
Additional Legislation
In the course of evaluating grievances, the Commission encountered a situation which seems to
require remedial legislation. When a complaint against a judge involves a confidential
proceeding such as a juvenile case or a guardianship of a minor, the judge is reluctant to respond

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Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report
to inquiries from the Commission because of statutory confidentiality requirements. The
Commission is working with members of the House Judiciary Committee to draft a bill to create
an exception to allow a judge to disclose confidential information as part of an investigation by
the Judicial Conduct Commission. Members and staff of the Judicial Conduct Commission
would of course be bound to keep any such information confidential.
Caseload analysis
The Commission began accepting complaints January 1, 2002 and meets regularly on the second
Friday of the month at our office in Bow. By the end of the fiscal year in June, we had
considered and dismissed complaints against 14 judges and 3 masters filed by 13 grievants.
Some cases involve multiple grievants or more than one judge, and some grievants file more than
one complaint.
The most common reason for dismissing a complaint is that the grievance is based on the
findings, rulings, or decision of a judge or master. Frequently the grievant is a party to case who
is unhappy with the outcome and complains about the judge’s decision. Accusations of bias are
common, and the Commission carefully reviews all the documentation provided before making a
determination. With rare exception, it is not a violation of the code of judicial conduct for a
judge to make a decision, even if it is in error. The remedy in such a situation is not with the
Commission, but through an appeal.
When there is a complaint about the judge’s temperament or tone of voice, the Commission may
review the transcript or audiotape recording of the proceeding giving rise to the grievance to
confirm or disprove the allegations of misconduct.
While our standard grievance cover sheet (attached as Appendix B) informs the grievant that we
will not consider complaints that have also been filed with the Supreme Court Committee on
Judicial Conduct, people still file them with the Commission and we dismiss them. Likewise,
when we receive a complaint about someone not subject to our jurisdiction, such as a lawyer, we
return the complaint to the grievant.
Data on cases for our first 6 months are in Appendix A.
Under the Commission’s Procedural Rules files of dismissed cases are available for public
inspection after redaction of identifying information about the person complained against. If,
after preliminary investigation, the Commission finds probable cause to believe a judge has
violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, the file and proceedings will be public. We have not yet
had a case meeting this criterion.
The Commission has spent most its first 9 months of existence developing a Code of Conduct,
Procedural Rules, and a personnel manual, as well as setting up and staffing its office. The
volume of complaints has been light, but that may be attributable to our status as a newly created
entity as well as some confusion about the role of the Commission vis à vis the Supreme Court

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Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report
There may be mixed reaction to the fact that all the complaints we received were eventually
dismissed for one reason or another. It could be that all our judges behave in an exemplary
manner, or that too few people are aware of our existence, or that such a small number of cases
does not constitute a sample of sufficient size to draw any conclusion.
I can assure you, however, that the Commission takes its responsibility seriously and carefully
evaluates each complaint on its merits, sometimes asking the grievant for more information and
frequently asking judges to respond to our inquiries. We have been gratified at the courtesy and
timeliness of such responses from judges.
Respectfully submitted,
Donna Sytek, Chairman

Page 5
Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report
Appendix A
Statistical Breakdown of Judicial Conduct Commission Caseload
January 1 – June 30, 2002
Number of cases
Number of grievants
Number of grievants filing
multiple complaints
Subject of the grievance
*Complaint against a person not subject to JCC jurisdiction.
Reason for dismissal
Complaint was based on findings, rulings,
or decisions of a judge or master
8 cases involving 4 judges and 3 masters
Commission found no violation of the
Code of Judicial Conduct
4 cases involving 3 judges
and 1 master
Complaint previously filed with Supreme
Court Committee on Judicial Conduct
2 cases involving 4 judges

Page 6
Judicial Conduct Commission Annual Report
Appendix B
State of New Hampshire
Judicial Conduct Commission
Grievance Cover Sheet
Your Name________________________________________________________________________________
Please note that the Commission has no authority to change a judge’s decisions or rulings. Our jurisdiction
extends only to conduct that violates the Code of Judicial Conduct, which may be found at
Additionally, our rules prohibit us from considering conduct that occurred more than three years ago or
grievances that have been filed with the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Conduct.
In order to help the Commission understand the circumstances and specific conduct that you are complaining
about please furnish the following information:
Name of Person(s) you are complaining about (Judge, Master, Clerk, Register, or other person):
Court where conduct occurred _________________________________________________________________
Name of the case____________________________________________________________________________
Docket Number____________________________________________________________________________
What is the status of this case? ________________________________________________________________
Date(s) of Conduct __________________________________________________________________________
Did you witness the conduct in question? Yes No
If not, how were you affected by the conduct?____________________________________________________
Have you filed a complaint about this conduct with the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Conduct? Yes
Describe the conduct you are complaining about and summarize the supporting evidence:
I hereby represent that I have not filed this complaint with any other disciplinary group and upon receipt of a
decision in this case, I agree not to refile the complaint with any other similar agency or Commission.
I swear or affirm under pains and penalties of perjury that the information contained in this grievance is true to
the best of my knowledge.
Commission rules require that you keep confidential the fact that you have filed a grievance until the Commission brings
formal charges against the judge or otherwise disposes of the grievance.
Mail to: Judicial Conduct Commission, 501 South Street, Bow, NH 03304